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Cheetahs race into semis
MWP
April 25, 2008
The Vodacom Free State Cheetahs raced into the semifinals of the Vodacom Cup with a 35-20 (halftime 24-10) victory over the Boland Cavaliers in Bloemfontein on Friday.

They will play the winners of Saturday's quarter-final between the Wildeklawer Griquas and Platinum Leopards in Kimberley.

The Cheetahs sped into a 19-0 lead in as many minutes and from there were able to control the game against a Boland side who tried desperately to claw their way back into the game.

Cheetahs fullback Wilton Pietersen scored in the right-hand corner from a set move from a scrum as early as the ninth minute and Boland were stung again when left wing Howard Noble followed him over at the poles from Cheetahs lineout possession on the Boland 22.

The Cheetahs scored their third try in the space of eight minutes when hooker Jaco du Toit surged down the unguarded five-metre zone at the front of a lineout after receiving a return pass from lock Flippie van der Merwe. All three tries came from set phase possession to raise questions about Boland's defence.

Flyhalf Jannie Myburgh converted two of the tries to leave Boland 19-0 adrift but they finally got on the scoresheet in the 24th minute when quick hands down the backline put centre Piet van Zyl over for a converted try.

But the Cheetahs appeared to have the game in the bag when right wing Giscard Pieters finished off their fourth and best try of the half.

Eighthman Ashley Johnson grubbed through and re-gathered his own kick before feeding rotund prop Ronnie Uys who was brought down just short of the line. The ball was quickly recycled to give Pieters the room to scoot over.

A long-range penalty from Peach closed the gap to 14 points just before the interval and he added a second shortly after the restart to threaten a Boland fight-back.

Although Jandré Blom cancelled that out, Boland edged closer again when hooker Conrad Burke scored his team's second try – converted by Peach – to close the gap to seven points (27-20) with more than a quarter of the match remaining.

But that was as close as they got as a second Blom penalty with 14 minutes remaining stretched out the lead beyond a converted try before Pietersen's second try on the final whistle completed a deserved victory.

Scorers:

Cheetahs - Tries: Howard Noble, Jaco du Toit, Wilton Pietersen (2), Giscard Pieters. Conversions: Jannie Myburgh (2). Penalties: Jandré Blom (2).

Cavaliers - Tries: Piet van Zyl, Conrad Burke. Conversions: Justin Peach (2). Penalties: Peach (2).

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