The Cheetahs claimed their second win over the Kings in as many weeks with a 45-24 victory at Free State Stadium on Saturday.
Tries from Uzair Cassiem, Ox Nche, Makazole Mapimpi, Shaun Venter and a Nico Lee brace proved too much for the Kings who scored through Luzuko Vulindlu, Schalk Ferreira and Marthinus Burger.
With two minutes gone, the Kings conceded a penalty for an infringement at scrum time just outside their own 22 and Fred Zeilinga made no mistake with the kick as the hosts opted for poles early on.
The visitors hit back as Vulindlu scored the game’s first try but it was all thanks to number eight Andila Ntsila who made the break off the back of the scrum before finding the centre with a brilliant offload as he was falling to ground. Ntabeni Dukisa’s conversion gave the visitors a 7-3 lead.
Hat-trick hero from last week Lee then made it four in one and a quarter games against the Kings when he reached over to put the Cheetahs back in front with twenty minutes gone.
Five minutes later, the hosts extended their lead as they began to assert their dominance on the opposition. From a five-metre attacking lineout, the maul was halted and the ball recycled out to the left. Cassiem’s pick and go from close range was a successful one and Zeilinga’s conversion made the score 17-7.
The Kings responded to cut the deficit to three at 14-17 with a well-worked try for their second. Martin Du Toit ran a great angle and saw a mismatch among the Cheetahs forwards before he ran into the Cheetahs 22 and got the offload away in the tackle to Ferreira. The loosehead prop bumped off a tackler and dotted down for the try.
But Lee hit back with his second of the game once again from close range off the back of an attacking scrum move as the Kings were immediately pegged back.
A Dukisa penalty for an infringement at the breakdown brought it back to a seven-point game as the sides went into the interval with the visitors needing just a converted try to restore parity.
The Free State faithful were brought to their feet when Clayton Blommetjies showed wonderful vision with his kick ahead for loosehead Nche of all players who showed tremendous pace to collect and run through under the posts.
Soon after, Craig Barry was shown a yellow card as the Cheetahs went down to 14 men for ten minutes for tackling Kings wing Yaw Penxe in the air.
The lead was stretched further to 38-17 as another Blommetjies kick through was pounced upon by Mapimpi this time who showed the composure and pace to direct it further ahead with his boot over the try-line and then dive on the ball. Zeilinga added the extras once again.
Soon after, scrum-half Venter put five more past the Kings as he showed scintillating with his sniping run to dot down. Zeilinga made it a perfect six from six with the conversion.
The Kings scored a consolation try after Michael Makase was halted five metres. The ball was recycled to Burger who was not going to be stopped from that range.
Tries: Lee 2, Cassiem, Nche, Mapimpi, Venter
Cons: Zeilinga 6
Tries: Vulindlu, Ferreira, Burger
Cons: Dukisa 2, Janse van Rensburg
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Niel Marais, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Oupa Mohoje (c), 6 Henco Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 AJ Coertzen
Kings: 15 Ntabeni Dukisa, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Martin Du Toit, 9 Rowan Gouws, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Bobby De Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Dayan Van der Westhuizen, 19 Lindokuhle Welemu, 20 Eital Bredenkamp, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Berton Klaasen
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Venter (South Africa), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)