Free State pip Valke in thriller
Peter Martin
July 02, 2016

In a Currie Cup Qualification match played on a sunny but extremely cold afternoon, the Toyota Free State XV just pipped the Hino Valke 33-27 in an entertaining game at the Free Stadium in Bloemfontein.

It was an eight-try romp, with the home team winning the try-scoring by five to three.

The Valke virtually camped in the Free State half for the first 10 minutes of the match but some superb defensive work kept the visitors out. But a penalty to the Valke some 20 metres out was easily kicked over by their flyhalf Warren Potgieter after ten minutes to open the scoring.

Thereafter the ball travelled to both sides of the field, with the Valke perhaps showing more flair in attack. Wing Etienne Taljaard in particular put in some strong runs and looked most impressive.

About halfway through the first stanza the Valke were hanging on grimly in an attempt to keep the Free State out when, four metres from their line, the ball moved to left wing Grant Janke, who pinned his ears back and showing a clean pair of heels, he evaded three or four inept tackles, sold a dummy and dived under the posts for an excellent try which was converted by Potgieter.

Free State were given a penalty for offside five metres out and dead in front of the posts and instead of taking the three points, they opted for a scrum. From the scrum outside centre Tertius Kruger ran strongly to score a try just to the right of the posts. Free State flyhalf Sias Ebersohn, however, missed the conversion, leaving the halftime score at 10-5 to the Valke.

Free State took the lead immediately after the break when after a full lineout movement, fullback Jean-Pierre Coetzee joined the line and barged over in the left-hand corner. Ebersohn converted with a beautiful kick.

But within minutes the Valke retaliated twice. Potgieter put over a penalty from about 30 metres out and then, attacking strongly through a great run by Taljaard, a melee on the Free State line saw the heavily-built flanker, Adr-Dwight Pansegrouw, barge over. Potgieter converted.

But Free State fought back. Replacement back Reinhardt Erwee skipped through for a converted try, and the lead changed hands a number of times.

Flank Ntokozo Vidima then followed up a kick to dot down, Ebersohn converted and the Free State XV were ahead 26-20.

The Valke then followed up with some strong running by Taljaard, who scored after a fine run along the left touchline. Potgieter converted and with time running out, the visitors were one point ahead.

However, the Free State XV did not give up and they scored their fifth try when, from a lineout, centre Ali Mgijima bustled his way through to dive over under the posts for Ebersohn to convert to give the home side a well-deserved but close victory.


Free State 33: Tries: Tertius Kruger, Jean-Pierre Coetzee, Reinhardt Erwee, Ntokozo Vidima, Ali Mgijima, Conversions: Sias Ebersohn.(4)

Valke 27: Tries: Grant Janke, Adri-Dwight Pansegrouw, Etienne Taljaard, Conversion: Warren Potgieter (3), Penalty: Potgieter (2).

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