The Cheetahs kicked and bludgeoned their way past the Griquas in the Currie Cup in Bloemfontein on Friday, winning 33-26.
In a game that frequently lacked shape and was marked by a lot of shrug-of-the-shoulders kicking, the Cheetahs' superior finishing skills - including a hat-trick for prop Coenie Oosthuizen - told, as the home side made the most of the scant opportunities on offer to create a 14-6 half-time lead.
Then two minutes after the break Oosthuizen crashed over for his second and the game was up; it was just a matter of when the bonus point would be attained. That came with 23 minutes remaining as the Cheetahs proved much more fluent after the break.
The game spent much of the opening ten minutes meandering back and forth, but was broken by an absent-minded inside ball from Rocco Jansen, picked off by Phillip Snyman and finished in the corner by Robert Ebersohn.
Louis Strydom converted from the touchline superbly.
The Griquas enjoyed some territory but without threatening the Cheetahs' line. However Naas Olivier slotted a couple of penalties to bring the visitors back to near parity.
A busting break by the busy Ashley Johnson set up the Cheetahs' second try though, he found Snyman on the offload and although the winger was brought down short prop Coenie Oosthuizen picked and drove for his side's second.
Oosthuizen repeated that feat early in the second half after a heavy few phases of possession on the Griquas line and some poor fringe defence, with Strydom again converting to make it 21-6.
Bjorn Basson's angled run through the Cheetahs' line and under the posts brought the visitors a little hope, with Olivier making it 21-13.
But that hope was snuffed out as the Cheetahs once again built with purpose after kicking a penalty to the corner and Jongi Nokwe was on hand to finish off a couple of phases later, with Strydom blotting his conversion copybook for the first time.
The Griquas continued to fight, as is their wont, with Olivier reducing the arrears to ten with his third penalty, but there was little incision from their attack.
Instead, Oosthuizen once again picked and drove to finish off his hat-trick after another clean break with Strydom converting to make the game safe.
Sarel Pretorius' sniping try seven minutes from time did keep the visitors within striking distance, but it would have been a heck of a strike to win it.
As it was, Olivier knocked over a last-kick penalty to earn the visitors a bonus point.
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Ebersohn, Oosthuizen 3, Nokwe
Cons: Strydom 4
For the Griquas:
Tries: Basson, Pretorius
Cons: Olivier 2
Pens: Olivier 4
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Skipper Badenhorst, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Pieter-Willem van Vuuren, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Barend Pieterse, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tertius Carse, 21 Corné Uys, 22 Sias Ebersohn.
Griquas : 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Rocco Jansen, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Barry Geel, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Naas Olivier (c), 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Wesley Wilkins, 5 Cecil-John Kemp, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Albertus Buckle, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements:16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Zane Killian/Jacobus Adriaanse, 18 AN Other, 19 Gerhard Human, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Matthew Rosslee, 22 Richard Lawson.
Referee: Mark Lawrence