The Cheetahs raced away from the Lions and then held on for an ultimately nervy 31-28 Currie Cup triumph in Bloemfontein, earning their sixth title.

The two sides had finished level on points in the round-robin section of the competition but there was far more between them in Saturday’s final.

A lively first 15 minutes saw Joseph Dweba’s opening try for the Cheetahs cancelled out quickly by Wandisile Simelane after a smart Lions move.

But the Cheetahs accelerated as the first half wore on and led 31-7 by the break, scoring again through William Small-Smith, Clayton Blommetjies and Walt Steenkamp.

The Lions had completed a stunning comeback in the sides’ previous meeting at the start of last month, but they left themselves just too much to do this time.

A flurry of late activity was kickstarted as Sintu Manjezi went into the sin bin after collapsing the maul, before James Venter and Dylan Smith each got through.

There was still time for Venter to score again, yet the deficit was too great and the Cheetahs held on while a scuffle saw Abongile Nonkontwana and Dillon Smit shown yellow cards.