The Vodacom Blue Bulls lost 22-7 to the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday to end a disappointing Absa Currie Cup season.
The defeat means that the Blue Bulls finished fifth on the log and will miss the play-offs next weekend.
The home side had a 10-7 lead at the break and scored two more tries in the second half.
Here is the match report, courtesy of rugby365.co.za
Outscoring them by three tries to one in a bruising encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday, the Cheetahs won 22-7 - resulting in them finishing fourth on the standings, ahead of the Vodacom Blue Bulls.
The Blue Bulls displayed plenty of intent, but they were simply too predictable - allowing the Cheetahs defenders to easily shut their big runners down - while their high error count also made life decidedly unpleasant for the coaching staff.
Their turnovers were well into double figures by the end of the game.
As for the Cheetahs, they must be applauded for their brave defence in the face after numerous raids by those big Blue Bulls forwards. However, they again display the bad habit of dropping off their intensity and allowing the opposition back into the game after taking early control.
The scrums were the epitome of this, with the Cheetahs dominating the early set pieces and the Bulls coming back strongly.However, it was their ability to react to situations, while the Blue Bulls relied solely on structure, that saw the Cheetahs get the edge.
Elgar Watts missed two early penalties, before the flyhalf stepped through a huge hole in defence and put Robert Ebersohn over for the first try. Watts kicked the conversion and a penalty to make it 10-0 after 14 minutes.
The Blue Bulls continued to bash away for another 15 minutes, without any success. Then just after the half-hour mark scrumhalf Rudy Paige was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul - cynically preventing a quick tap being taken after a penalty. However, Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen can regard himself as very fortunate to not have joined the Blue Bulls No.9 in the bin, after his blatant openhanded push in the face of an opponent.
Despite being a man down the Blue Bulls eventual got reward for their bashing game - prop Marcel van der Merwe going over and flyhalf Handré Pollard adding the conversion to make it 7-10 at the half-time break.
Twelve minutes into the second half Elgar Watts collected a misguided chip-kick and sprinted 50 metres for a crucial score. Watts added the extras, making it 17-7.
With six minutes left on the clock the Cheetahs were reduced to 14 men, after replacement Schalk van der Merwe was yellow-carded for a spear tackle.
The Cheetahs got their third try two minutes from full-time, when they made the Blue Bulls pay for yet another sloppy handling error. Hooker Adriaan Strauss got the five-pointer.
It stayed 22-7 to the end, the game finishing with yet another Blue Bulls handling error. The scorers:
For the Free State Cheetahs: Tries: Ebersohn, Watts, Strauss. Cons: Watts 2. Pen: Watts
For the Blue Bulls: Try: Van der Merwe. Con: Pollard