The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Vodacom Blue Bulls scored significant wins in the Absa Under-21 Provincial Championship this weekend, as log leaders DHL Western Province played to a 32-32 draw against the Cell C Sharks in Durban.
The Blue Bulls 16-6 win over the Xerox Golden Lions eased them into fourth position on the log, whilst the Cheetahs moved past the Lions in third spot by beating EP Kings 33-15 in Port Elizabeth on Friday night.
In the B-Division, the Pumas beat Griquas 30-19, Limpopo scored a huge 71-17 win over bottom of the log Down Touch Griffons in Welkom. while Boland also moved into play-off contention with a solid 50-38 win over the Hino Valke in Kempton Park, and SWD also had the better of Border, beating the hosts 20-13 in East London.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 16 (9), Xerox Golden Lions 6 (3)
The home side had a lot to play for after a slow start in the beginning of the competition, including a heavy defeat against their Gauteng neighbours. It was a tight affair in the first half, with the kicking boots of flyhalves Joshua Stander and Shaun Reynolds the most influential. A great try by Dan Kriel late in the match sealed the result.
Blue Bulls 16 (9). Try: Dan Kriel. Conversion: Kobus Marais. Penalties: Joshua Stander (3)
Golden Lions (3). Penalties: Shaun Reynolds (2).
Cell C Sharks 32 (25), DHL Western Province 32 (18)
It was a dramatic match at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday as both teams had control of the match only to surrender it again to the other side. The Sharks scored three tries in the first half and had the better of the opening stanza, leading WP 25-18 at the break. Two WP tries then edged the visitors ahead and it was only a late try on the buzzer by Sharks captain Marius Louw that saved the day. Flyhalf Innocent Radebe converted to level scores.
Sharks 32 (25). Tries: Alrin Eksteen, Graham Geldenhuys, Khulu Marwana, Marius Louw. Conversions: Innocent Radebe (3). Penalties: Innocent Radebe (2).
Western Province 32 (18). Tries: Khanyo Ngcukana, Luke Stringer (2), Ryno Eksteen. Conversions: Grant Hermanus (3). Penalties: Christopher Smith, Grant Hermanus.
EP Kings 15 (15), Toyota Free State 33 (14)
Three unanswered tries in the second help helped the Toyota Free State past the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday. The home side is finally getting to grips with the demands of the A-Division and even held the lead against the Bloemfontein side at the break, but could not sustain their effort. The visitors upped the tempo in the second half and the Kings could not respond.
EP Kings 15 (15). Tries: Ace Jho (2). Conversion: Mathys Venter. Penalty: Leighton-Ray van Wyk.
Free State 33 (14). Tries: Jean-Claude Fourie, Stephan Janse van Rensburg (2), Steven Meiring (2). Conversions: Barend Bornman (2), Jacobus Vosloo (2).
Steval Pumas 30 (13), ORC Griquas 19 (6)
Pumas 30 (13). Tries: Elandre Botha, Estian Meiring, Johan Gericke. Conversions: Dylan Du Buisson (3). Penalty: Dylan Du Buisson (3).
Griquas 19 (6). Try: Shaun Clarke. Conversion: Deon Taljaard. Penalties: Deon Taljaard (4)
Down Touch Griffons 17 (3), Limpopo Blue Bulls 71 (38)
Griffons 17 (3). Tries: Carlton Coeries, Sherwin Slater. Conversion: Juandre Kleynhans, Shaquille Adams. Penalty: Shaquille Adams.
Limpopo Blue Bulls 71 (38). Tries: Aya Mavuso, Calvin Maduna, Christoff Craill, David Pieterse, Done Davids, Dylan van der Merwe, Jean Grobler, Jurgen Steinbach, Mauritz Joubert, Morne Botha, Sarel Snyman. Conversions: Jean Grobler (8)
Hino Valke 38 (24), Boland 50 (31)
Valke 38 (24).Tries: Penalty Try, Andre Potgieter, Brandan Rieck, Cornelius Jacobs, Johan Swart (2). Conversions: Arno Kotze (4).
Boland 50 (31). Tries: El-Shaun Davids, Phill George, Tumile Adams, Warren Williams (3), Zinzan Williams. Conversions: Phill George (4), Valentino Wellman (2)
Border 13 (10), SWD 20 (13)
Border 13 (10). Try: Sithembiso Ngwenya. Conversion: Cameron Lentoor. Penalties: Cameron Lentoor (2)
SWD 20 (13). Tries: Brandon Haas, Ethan Williams. Conversions: Erwin Harris (2). Penalty: Erwin Harris (2)