Well, that’s it then for the Cheetahs. With two home fixtures remaining the Free State side cannot move up or down on the Conference A table of the PRO14 competition after their 14-31 loss to the Ospreys in Bloemfontein on Saturday and remain in sixth place.
The Ospreys took their chances and were the better team in the error-ridden game despite the Cheetahs near-share of the territory and possession stakes. The home side ran much and often but made more errors than the visitors who were also not too clinical.
The Ospreys kept their slim chances to qualify for the play-offs alive with this win but remain fifth, although Connacht Rugby and Cardiff Blues are still above them in the race for the final play-off place.
However, they will have to step up tremendously in their last two fixtures against the Kings and the Cardiff Blues, both away matches.
The Cheetahs were never ahead in this match. In fact, they didn’t score any points in the first half and their two tries came just after the restart and nine minutes before the final whistle.
The first one went to Dries Swanepoel, former Italian international who was playing in his 100th PRO14 match to keep his side in the picture at 7-14 after Tian Schoeman’s conversion.
The second-half scoring was also ended by the Free State side when Reinach Venter scored in the 71st minute with Schoeman again converting.
But by then the visitors from Wales had taken the score to 31 with centre Cory Allen’s bonus point try in the 54th minute their last.
♦ The Cheetahs, sixth of the seven teams on the log, cannot improve their standing in their remaining two matches against the bottom two sides in Conference B, the Dragons and the Southern Kings, over the next two weekends.
The Cheetahs, with six wins and a draw from their 19 matches to date, have 36 log points – 17 above Zebre in seventh place and 13 behind the Ospreys who are fifth.
Cheetahs (0) 14: Tries: Dries Swanepoel, Reinach Venter. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2).
Ospreys (14) 31: Tries: Dan Evans, Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric, Cory Allen. Conversions: Luke Price (3), Sam Davies. Penalty: Davies.