The Free State Cheetahs will host the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup final at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein after they defeated the Sharks and Griquas respectively in exciting semi-finals on Saturday.
The Lions booked their place in the top two in the first semi-final as they held on in a hard-fought clash against a spirited Griquas outfit in Johannesburg for a 34-19 victory, while a late charge by log-leaders, the Free State Cheetahs, saw them overturn a 20-11 halftime deficit against the Sharks for a 51-30 victory.
At Emirates Airline Park, a strong first half by the Golden Lions, in which they outscored the visitors from Kimberley by three tries to one in the first half, earned them a handy 21-13 halftime lead, and they built on this after the break with two penalty goals and a late try.
It was a tight tussle, and proper semi-finals rugby as the men from Kimberley took advantage of the Xerox Golden Lions’ ill-discipline at times to keep the scoreboard ticking, with their captain and flyhalf, George Whitehead, kicking four penalty goals.
In the second semi-final in Bloemfontein, meanwhile, a powerful second-half charge by the Toyota Free State Cheetahs earned them a valuable Currie Cup home final in a gripping encounter against the Cell C Sharks.
It was an entertaining clash, in which a total of 11 tries were scored – four by the Cell C Sharks and seven by the hosts, with five of those being in a commanding second-half display.
Next Saturday’s final will mark the Free State Cheetahs’ first appearance in the grand finale since 2016, while the Golden Lions will have a shot at the title for the first time since 2015.