Cheetahs over the moon with performance at World Club 10s

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs finished the as the runners-up at the Beachcomber World Club 10's on Sunday after losing the Cup final 26-7 to the Bulls. The side regards their campaign as a great success despite falling in the championship match. PHOTO: NICOLETTE TALJAARD

The Toyota Cheetahs are over the moon with their performance during the 2017 Beachcomber World Club 10s in Mauritius as a major success, despite stumbling in the final of the tournament.

The side from Bloemfontein loss 26-7 in the final to the Bulls after trailing 12-0 at the half time break.

The Bulls who were led by the former Cheetahs stalwart, Boom Prinsloo, crossed the whitewash on four occasions in the championship match with the exciting Duncan Matthews dotting down for a brace while Shaun Adendorff and Nick de Jager also scored.

Niell Jordan scored the only try for the Cheetahs and it was converted by Niel Marais.

The Cheetahs won all three their matches on day one in Mapou, with comprehensive wins over the Brumbies (Australia), Tsunami Pyrenees (France) and Bulls. On day two the team looked a little worn and had to dig deep for a win over the Kubota Spears (Japan) and Africa Pacific Dragons in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

The exciting Blitzbok, Rosko Specman, was unavailable for the final after sustaining an injury against APD, and his magic was definitely missed in the rematch against the side from the Capital City. Having said that, the Bulls also entered the final with a key injury after the live-wire hooker, Edgar Marutlulle, sustained an injury in the playoffs.

Although the Cheetahs failed in the final, they still regard the outing to the paradise island in the Indian Ocean as a huge success.

The Cheetahs just have two matches remaining in the Super Rugby (Stormers and Southern Kings), while the Free State XV have just a handful of games remaining in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.

The coach, Rory Duncan, successfully took these two squads to play together for the first time this season, with their sights set on their Currie Cup title defence.

Speaking to Courant from Mauritius, Duncan said the whole exercise was two-fold and they feel that the objective was achieved.

“The whole purpose of the tournament was two-fold.

“The first was that we wanted to use it as a team building opportunity, particularly for the Currie Cup.

“All the players that came with us will be available for our Currie Cup campaign.

“We wanted to use it as a team builder and obviously we also wanted to compete in the campaign.

“It’s a pity the way the final panned out, it didn’t go quite according to plan, but I still believe with five wins at the tournament we were competitive.

“It also has been a great team building opportunity.”

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs open their 2017 Currie Cup campaign 21 July when they host the Sharks at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein. – MORGAN PIEK