BY JAN PIELEWIET
It was the biggest game of the season – the Cheetahs vs the Bulls – and our boys came through with flying orange colours.
1. Tier, Uzair and Oupa
The Bulls back row look like they were raised on raw meat instead of hugs, but the Bloemfontein troops took up the physical challenge with heroic aplomb. Tier Schoeman took on a man twice his height and weight, and came out on top. Uzair Cassiem played with passion and flair. And in addition to scoring two tries, Oupa Mohoje saved at least as many being scored against us with fingertip tackles that show the young man’s courage and commitment.
2. ‘Pale toe’
Fred Zelinga did not miss a single kick at posts, adding 14 points to the total and launching him to the top of the Super Rugby points scoring table. Reminds us of those halcyon days of Willem de Waal.
3. Os the Second
With all due respect to tighthead Retshegofaditswe Nche out-scrummed Trevor Nyakane for massive portions of the game, and showed the ability to handle an huge workload. He’s also inherited that Cheetah prop’s ability to steal balls that Coenie Oosthuizen has lost since leaving the franchise. One of a long line of great black players being forged in the mighty crucible of Toyota Stadium.
4. Neill Jordaan
I am a huge fan of Neill Jordaan – without a shadow of a doubt the most underrated 8th man in the world at the moment. Given the chance on Saturday, he was everywhere, and did the job of three men.
5. Rayno Benjamin
Is there any position Rayno can not play? It was Rayno who collected the ball from the lineout in the 29th minute of the game when Justin Basson scored from the movement. The move was so unexpected that even the commentators did not mention it at first. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pack down instead of Os II (who is injured) next week.
6. Tougher stuff
A few years ago, those two quick tries by Piel van Huil and Jumble Olengle may have instigated a full-on meltdown and delivered the familiar one-point loss in the dying minutes of the game. But not this time. The boys kept their composure and brought the game safely to the hooter. This speaks of a Cheetahs side that is maturing, and can handle late pressure.