A wayward performance by Zak Burger’s men in the second half sees Cheetahs sink Griquas at a wet Toyota Stadium.
THE TAFEL Lager Griquas came up short in their final Super Rugby Unlocked fixture against their central region neighbours, the Toyota Cheetahs, in Bloemfontein on Saturday, losing 28-9 after leading 9-8 at the break.
The match was played in wet, slippery and unpleasant conditions.
In a hard-fought encounter, the hosts came back from a half-time deficit and capitalised on their visitors’ errors to keep them scoreless in the second half.
The Cheetahs ran in four tries, three of these coming in the second half, while Griquas scored all their points in the first half via the boot of fly-half Tinus de Beer.
Speaking after the match, Griqua captain Zak Burger bemoaned his team’s poor game management and costly mistakes in the second half – not for the first time.
“In the last four games, going into the second half we have been leading but not finishing due to poor game management, which is just not good enough. We played in our areas territorially, but the opposition played off our mistakes and capitalised on them,” said Burger.
The Cheetahs opened the scoring with a well-taken Andisa Ntsila try, with Tian Schoeman missing the conversion, but Griquas replied through a penalty by De Beer.
De Beer succeeded in kicking two more penalties, while Schoeman slotted one for the hosts, taking the half-time score to 9-8 to the visitors in an evenly matched first half.
The Cheetahs came out firing in the second stanza and while Griquas did well to absorb the pressure applied by the Cheetahs’ impressive mauling drives in the third quarter, they never looked likely winners once the hosts retook the lead.
Centre Howard Mnisi scored the Cheetahs’ second try, which was followed by a penalty, before Ruben de Haas crashed over for their third five-pointer.
No 8 Jeandre Rudolph scored the hosts’ fourth try near the death as the Cheetahs claimed a bonus-point win.
“Although we put in a great performance in the first 40 minutes, unfortunately a match consists of 80 minutes,” said a disappointed Burger.
“The Cheetahs put us under extreme pressure (in the second half), with their grubbers behind us causing our backs and defence to have to backtrack, putting us under even more pressure”.
The defeat drew the curtain on the Super Rugby Unlocked competition and Griquas will now turn their focus to the Currie Cup.
“We must now focus and regroup ahead of the Carling Currie Cup, which kicks off next weekend when we entertain the Lions here in Kimberley on Saturday,” said Burger. “We need to improve on our game management and pick up on our handling skills.
“It was a massive honour for Griquas to compete in the Super Rugby Unlocked competition and we are looking forward to the Currie Cup,” he concluded.
CHEETAHS 28 – Tries: Andisa Ntsila, Howard Mnisi, Ruben de Haas and Jeandre Rudolph; Conversion: Reinhardt Fortuin; Penalties: Tian Schoeman (2).
GRIQUAS 9 – Penalties: Tinus de Beer (3).