There is a lot of talk about this past weekend’s clash in Bloemfontein between the Cheetahs and the Stormers, a fixture which years gone by would simply have been chalked up to the visiting side as a definite 4 points bordering on a 5 point guaranteed, things have changed.
One thing is for certain, the Cheetahs always seemed to save their best rugby for local derby matches and that would generally cost them on tour and against foreign teams visiting Bloemfontein. That seems to have changed for the central franchise as they got their first win this year against a struggling Highlanders, who without Adam Thompson have not fired this year, the Cheetahs went on to beat the Waratahs and Force and returning to Bloemfontein beating the Rebels with a bonus point victory.
As mentioned before, people around the office were telling me that the Cheetahs had 4 “easy” games and any team would have gotten the 4 victories in a row, things were not going to be so fortunate for the Cheetahs against the stronger unions, Stormers being one of those. Many will argue that after Saturday that the Cheetahs were lucky again to play against a demoralised and struggling Western Cape outfit making it 5 wins in a row, I, really don’t see it that way. Because with that logic, the Bulls are also struggling and this should then be another easy game for the Cheetahs, which I can assure you, it definitely will not be.
I hope that Deon Fourie played the Lotto on Saturday, he was probably the luckiest player on the pitch and here is why, the first try by the Stormers the ball rotated a full 180◦ out of his hand but was adjudged to be under control, the next try he was offside by a mile (Sarel Pretorius was not offside with his try, so that does not cancel this out. J) and the Brussow penalty where Fourie “placed” the ball and Brussow should have let go was actually not correct, Fourie never released the ball, simply placed his arm on the ground and got up again. Funny then that Alistair Coetzee had the following to say “I guess you also need a bit of luck in top-level sport… the ball doesn’t seem to be bouncing our way at the moment.”
Then Jantjies seemed to have forgotten he was on a rugby field, almost beheaded Strauss with that “dangerous tackle”. Anyway. The Cheetahs for once stepped up and won a tight game they should have and I will not allow anybody to take anything away from them on this victory.
The atmosphere on Free State Stadium was electrifying and I am glad that I was a part of it, if the Cheetahs continue playing like this, people will continue flocking to watch the game in life action rather than on DSTV 201.
Keep running Cheetahs!!