The ace kicker slotted his long distance effort just a few minutes before the final whistle to put an end to the visitors’ fine comeback effort in their 2021 Kick-off Pools clash in the Free State capital.

The match proved to be a try festival, with the home side scoring five times, while the KwaZulu-Natalians went one better to bag six tries.

It was, however, the booming boot of two-time Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok Steyn who ultimately proved the difference between the two sides as he slotted four conversions and two second half penalty goals for a telling contribution of 14 points.

The defences on both sides were shred to pieces most of the time, but those lapses were offset by some thrilling scoring opportunities.

The Toyota Cheetahs went into the break with a well-deserved 28-12 lead having outscored the visitors by four tries to two in a lively opening stanza.

The visiting side opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute when Grant Williams (scrumhalf) caught the home defence napping from a scrum to run through untouched under the posts for a 7-0 lead.

The Durbanites had to wait until three minutes before halftime for their second try, which was scored by burly lock JJ van der Mescht.

The conversion attempt by Jordan Chait (flyhalf) from under the poles unfortunately hit the upright, which meant the team in black were able to reduce the deficit to only 28-12 after the home side had managed to score four converted tries.

Ruan Pienaar dots down.

Ruan Pienaar dots down.

Regular Toyota Cheetahs skipper Ruan Pienaar (scrumhalf) - who was back in the starting line-up after playing off the bench two weeks ago - was the first to dot down, and this was followed up by Khutha Mchunu (prop), Chris Smit (centre) and Malcolm Jaer (wing).

Steyn easily converted all four tries to continue his remarkable kicking performance in the Toyota Cheetahs jersey.

The Cell C Sharks started the second half as they finished the first when Thembelani Bholi (loose forward) was on hand to take a pass from Williams for their third try.

However, the Free Staters were not to be outdone, and barely four minutes later they hit back with try number five by Rynier Bernardo (lock), but the conversion attempt steered wide.

The Cell C Sharks then made a number of replacements, with Manie Libbok and Werner Kok introduced into the backline, and the changes delivered immediate results when Kok was on hand to take a pass for an easy run-in over the whitewash.

Libbok kicked the conversion and was also on target with other similar attempts following the tries by loose forwards Phepsi Buthelezi and Mpilo Gumede.

That burst of three converted tries allowed the Cell C Sharks to grab the lead at 38-36 for the first time in the match with only 15 minutes remaining.

The visitors, however, made a few crucial mistakes, and Steyn was on target with his second penalty goal of the evening, which landed the winning blow for an entertaining win.


Toyota Cheetahs 39 (28) -  Tries: Ruan Pienaar, Khutha Mchunu, Chris Smit, Malcolm Jaer, Rynier Bernardo. Conversions: Frans Steyn (4). Penalty Goals: Steyn (2).

Cell C Sharks 38 (12) - Tries: Grant Williams, JJ van der Mescht, Thembelani Bholi, Werner Kok, Phepsi Buthelezi, Mpilo Gumede. Conversions: Jordan Chait, Manie Libbok (3).