The Toyota Cheetahs showed promise early in the match, played on a soaked pitch, scoring a converted try and penalty goal in the first quarter for a 10-0 lead, and with neither team able to add points going into the break, that proved to be the halftime score.
The Dragons, however, fought back strongly in the second half with a converted try and two penalty goals by Sam Davies (flyhalf) – the last of which was to win the match after Toyota Cheetahs replacement back Chris Smit received a yellow card for a deliberate knock-down.
Toyota Cheetahs flanker Junior Pokomela opened up the scoring in the ninth minute after gathering a sharp pass close to the tryline and running a good angle to dot down, and the successful conversion by Tian Schoeman (flyhalf) pushed them 7-0 ahead.
Schoeman nudged the visitors’ score into double digits in the 18th minute thanks to a challenging penalty goal in the strong wind, and with their confidence high, the Free Staters continued to make their presence felt throughout the half.
They came within striking distance of the tryline twice within two minutes in the second quarter, but were denied as they conceded penalties on both occasions. Their defence, however, stood strong as they managed to shut out the hosts, keeping them scoreless, despite determined attempts to touch down close to the tryline.
The Dragons had the first say in the second half as Davies kicked a penalty goal two minutes after play resumed, and they levelled the scores in the 56th minute as winger Jared Rosser collected a perfectly-timed grubber to add his name to the scorers’ list. The successful conversion saw the sides with 10 points a piece.
In contrast, the Toyota Cheetahs had two opportunities to score – one each in the third and fourth quarter – but a penalty conceded and knock-on denied them from converting this into points.
The dying minutes were dramatic as both teams had opportunities to attack, with the Dragons having two shots at goal – the second of which followed Smit’s marching orders – and that paved the way for Davies to secure the 13-10 victory.
Dragons 13 (0) – Try: Jared Rosser. Conversion: Sam Davies. Penalty Goals: Sam Davies (2).Toyota Cheetahs 10 (10) - Try: Junior Pokomela. Conversion: Tian Schoeman. Penalty Goal: Tian Schoeman.