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Rugby | Currie Cup

Free State dispatch SWD to remain in Currie Cup



The Toyota Free State Cheetahs retained their place in the Currie Cup Premier Division after beating the SWD Eagles 36-5 (half time 19-0) in their Promotion/Relegation match at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Tuesday evening.

The home side may have named a team of regular Pro 14 representatives but the Eagles did well to meet their opponents and made their lives difficult in the opening 12 minutes of the first half.

Continued scrum infringements on the Eagles' five-metre line eventually gave way to a yellow card to prop Vuks Sofisa with Free State opting for a scrum as the penalty option and another scrum infringement resulted in a penalty try to the men from Bloemfontein in the 13th minute.

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Free State struggled to assert themselves in the first quarter, but quick passing by the backs allowed wing Sibahle Maxwane to exploit a gap to run in an unconverted try before fullback Tian Schoeman received a basketball pass to score the home team's third try in the 20th minute.

The match dropped off in terms of intensity as both teams were plagued by unforced errors with time in the first half fast running out as neither team were able to capitalise on their possession which saw Free State head into the break on the back of a 19-0 lead.

It was much of the same in the opening exchanges of the second half as the players just could not string together any notable phases of play as unforced errors continued to dominate proceedings.

The stalemate was broken in the 55th minute when Springbok scrumhalf Rudy Paige sniped through the defence to put flyhalf Louis Fouche in for a try that he converted.

The visitors had an opportunity to get onto the scoreboard in the 58th minute as they set up a lineout drive but Free State did well to not only stop their advance in its tracks but turn over the ball.

Fouche made a hash of the pressure relieving kick which saw possession being returned to the Eagles before the ball was turned over yet again.

A wayward pass by Free State landed in the hands of the Eagles' replacement utility back Vuyo Mbotho who simply had to cross the chalk for their first points of the match.

Unfortunately, their elation was short lived as Free State hit back immediately after the restart with outside centre William Small-Smith blitzing his way over the whitewash after he bamboozled his opponents with a fine display of foot work.

Paige showed his brilliance once again with two minutes left of the match as he drew in the defence and then released Small-Smith who dove over the tryline to wrap things up for the Free State as they registered a 36-5 win to cement their spot in next year's Currie Cup Premier Division.

SCORERS

Toyota Free State Cheetahs - Tries: Penalty try, Sibahle Maxwane, Tian Schoeman, Louis Fouche, William Small-Smith (2); Conversions: Fouche (2).

SWD Eagles - Try: Vuyo Mbotho.



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