Kimberley – Free State Cheetahs captain Robert Ebersohn lauded his side for their second-half comeback to beat Griquas 29-16 in their Currie Cup encounter in Kimberley on Saturday.
The two sides where level at 10-10 at half-time and Ebersohn believed his side showed character in the second stanza, dominating physically to beat a Griquas side that posed a strong challenge at home.
“I'm really glad that we came back in the second half,” Ebersohn said.
“We didn't have the best start and our first half was very average, but the boys showed character to produce a good second half.
“The wind blew from all sides, but we adapted and came out on top.”
The Cheetahs head to Durban next week to take on the Sharks and the skipper was confident they would perform well again after back-to-back victories against the Blue Bulls and Griquas.
“It's never easy to play the Sharks in Durban,” Ebersohn said.
“They are a quality side but we now have some good momentum.
“We managed to physically dominate against Griquas in the second half.
“Hopefully we can do it for 80 minutes in Durban.”
Griquas, who face defending champions the Golden Lions in the fourth round, struggled to hold their form in the second period of the match.
“I am very disappointed. We played pretty well in the first half and we were still in the game at half-time,” said Griquas captain Ryno Barnes.
“Then we again fell into a slump. It seems like we are playing first-half rugby at this stage and it is something that needs our immediate attention.
“We must now beat the Lions – not a good situation to be in.”
Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen made his return from injury and coach Naka Drotske was pleased to have him back.
Goosen did not have a spectacular game, but he showed he still had the ability to kick the ball a long way, with one of his penalty attempts from 67 metres out falling just short of the uprights.
“It is very good to have Johan Goosen back,” Drotske said.
“The game in Kimberley is always a tough one and it would have been a good test of his abilities after recovering from that shoulder injury.
“He did pretty well. I am happy with the 40-odd minutes he was on the field. He looked good.”
Griquas coach Pote Human admitted that the pressure was mounting on the Kimberley-based side to secure their first Currie Cup victory of the season.
“It was another home game we desperately wanted to win, but we couldn't. Now there is real pressure,” Human said. – Sapa