The Cheetahs taught a woeful Pumas side a serious rugby lesson in a runaway 80-16 hiding in Bloemfontien in the Currie Cup on Saturday.
It was one way traffic right from the get go, as the Cheetahs played the same expansive rugby that has served them so well all year and weren't satisfied with anything less than a point a minute.
The Pumas looked all at sea with a number of key players out injured and fell off far too many tackles in the kind of open game that the Cheetahs thrive on.
The result was a testament to the Cheetahs rugby factory that has churned out yet another batch of young stars of a very high calibre, most notably prop Marcel van der Merwe, flyhalf Johan Goosen and loose forwards Boom Prinsloo and Pieter Labuschagne.
The Cheetahs opened their account in the ninth minute when they stretched the Pumas defence left and then right, with quick ball retention until there was enough pace out wide for wing Philip Snyman to burst through the cover defence and over the line.
From a short arm penalty the Cheetahs attacked quickly, with the loose forwards working brilliantly at first receiver - first Pieter Labuschagne broke through a tackle and made some valuable yards and then Springbok Sevens star Boon Prinsloo crashed over the line.
The Pumas lost centre Tiaan Marx after he was penalised at the breakdown and shown a yellow card after the team had been warned for repeated infringements inside their own 22. Cheetahs scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn reacted quickly, tapped and passed the ball out to prop WP Nel, who couldn't believe his luck with no body big enough in front of him to prevent the big man from barging over the line for a try.
On the stroke of half time the Cheetahs used their numerical advantage to their advantage as the Pumas scrum disintegrated allowing the Cheetahs to walk across the line and offer No.8 Boom Prinsloo his second try.
From the kick-off in the second half the Cheetahs attacked and some slick hands from WP Nel and Philip Snyman in a sevens-style run with a basket ball pass over the top to De Bruyn for an easy try.
A needless intercept pass was thrown by Pumas prop Ashley Buys and Snyman charged down field before being hunted down just before the line, but Corné Uys was on hand to pick up and dive over the line.
Cheetahs opened up the game once again with the match fast turning into a farce, as two tries in three minutes from Riaan Smit and Pieter Labuschagne had the Pumas wishing they'd not come back out after half time.
The Pumas did find a consolation try in the 57th minute following a well organised rolling maul from a line-out, with flank Jaco Bouwer tumbling over the line.
Waves of Cheetahs attack continued to pound the Pumas, who ran out of tacklers time and agains allowing first Marcel van der Merwe to charge over for a try and then Prinsloo secured his hat-trick.
There was a magical moment late in the game from young Cheetahs pivot Johan Goosen landed a drop-goal from about 50 metres out with a Frans Steyn-esque strike.
There was still time for one final try from Van der Merwe, who charged towards the line to throw himself on a loose ball and finish off the match for the Cheetahs in style.
Man of the Match: Boom Prinsloo, was the star of the show with his high energy levels and skillful running that has marked his sevens career and is now on show in the Currie Cup. He did have some stiff competition from prop WP Nel and flank Pieter Labuschagne who were outstanding.
Tries: Snyman, Prinsloo 3, Nel, De Bruyn, Uys, Smit, Labuschagne, Van der Merwe 2
Cons: S Ebersohn 6, Goosen 5
Tries: Bouwer, Scholtz
Pens: Croy 2
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Riaan Smit, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corné Uys, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Ockert van Zyl, 19 Pieter Myburgh, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Johan Goosen, 22 Philip Burger.
Pumas: 15 Carl Bezuidenhout, 14 Johan Jackson, 13 JW Jonker (captain), 12 Tiaan Marx, 11 MJ Mentz, 10 Ricardo Croy, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Doppies le Roux, 7 Reginald Kember, 6 Jaco Bouwer, 5 Eduan van der Walt, 4 Rudi Matthee, 3 Ashley Buys, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Dee-Jay Terblanche.
Replacements: 16 Marthinus van der Westhuizen, 17 Dawie Steyn, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 JP Mostert, 20 Hendrik van der Nest, 21 Siviwe Magaba, 22 Deon Scholtz.
Referee: Pro Legoete
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, De Goede Haasbroek
TMO: JC Fortuin
By Timmy Hancox
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