U.S. Markets open in 6 hrs 53 mins

Cheetahs to host Bulls in Currie Cup final

The Free State Cheetahs will meet the Blue Bulls in next weekend's Currie Cup final.

Sergeal Petersen scored a hat-trick as the rampant Free State Cheetahs thrashed defending Currie Cup champions Golden Lions in Saturday's semi-final.

The Cheetahs finished top of the table by nine points in the regular season after winning all eight matches and they continued to impress with six tries in a comprehensive 55-17 triumph – exacting revenge for last season's defeat at this stage.

Petersen and fly-half Niel Marais racked up the only points of the first half as the Cheetahs raced out of the blocks to go into the break 26-0 ahead.

Niell Jordaan, Rayno Benjamin and Clayton Blommetjies all crossed for the Cheetahs either side of a Sylvian Mahuza double for the Lions, before Petersen completed his hat-trick with five minutes to play.

Victory for the Cheetahs will see them contest a final for the first time since 2009, and they will have home advantage when they meet the Blue Bulls next weekend.

The Bulls had to work much harder for their place in the decider, as they edged past Western Province 36-30 at Loftus Versfeld.

A tight first half saw Tian Schoeman kick the Bulls into a 16-10 advantage, before a thrilling second half that saw the lead swing one way and then the next.

Tries from Werner Kok and Jan de Klerk seemed to give Province momentum but from a 27-22 lead with 20 minutes to play their night unravelled.

The Province defence was put under huge pressure by the resurgent Bulls and eventually they caved as Jason Jenkins bundled his way over from close range.

Even then a Rob du Preez penalty had the visitors ahead, but a late converted try from Ivan van Zyl ensured a first final appearance for the Bulls since 2009, when they defeated the Cheetahs 36-24.