The Free State Cheetahs scored a last-gasp 20-18 win over the Golden Lions to win their third-straight Currie Cup title in Bloemfontein, South Africa, on Saturday.
The men from central South Africa added the country's domestic rugby title to the one they secured in 2005 and then shared with the Blue Bulls last year. But they were made to fight extremely hard for their victory after trailing 6-18 midway through the second period.
The hero was again flyhalf Willem de Waal, who slotted a touchline conversion to put his side 20-18 ahead after replacement fullback Tewis de Bruyn had gone over in the left corner to level the scores.
It was a see-saw affair from the off with neither side really getting the better of the other. Numerous handling and kicking errors made it a disruptive first half with few try-scoring chances.
De Waal and the Lions' Louis Strydom swapped early penalties before the home side's flyhalf put his side ahead four minutes out from the half-time break with his second three-pointer.
But it was the men from Johannesburg, who were playing in their first final since 2002, who came out more fired-up after the change-over and they deserved their 18-6 lead after 65 minutes.
Visiting hooker Willie Wepener crashed over in the left corner after a sweeping backline move by the Lions and then it was the turn of scrumhalf Jano Vermaak to dot down behind the white wash. He collected a loose ball inside the Cheetahs' 22m area after replacement No. 10 Earl Rose had kicked an up-and-under which the home side had failed to control.
Just minutes later, Rose stepped up to slot over a 55m penalty to put his side 12 points clear.
But as has been the case all year, the Cheetahs hit back at the end with two tries to seal the win and give their 34,000 fans reason to celebrate.
First veteran center Marius Joubert was mauled over the tryline by his forwards and then, 11 minutes later, it was the turn of De Bruyn to crash over in the corner. The TV official confirmed that the fullback had beaten the tackle of the Lions' Louis Ludik to go in, but it was the conversion by De Waal which had the fans screaming.
There were only two points in it at the end, a true reflection of a thrilling finale to the South African domestic season.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very