The ORC Griquas secured their place in the 2015 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division with a hard-fought 41-21 victory over the SWD Eagles in Kimberley.
Griquas were made to work extremely hard for their win and the much-sought after five bonus points as the Eagles went into the break with a 14-12 lead. The win secured them the top spot on the Qualifier log, one point ahead of the Leopards who won their final qualifying tie 33-8 against Border Bulldogs in East London.
Griquas will now play defending champions, the DHL Western Province, in Kimberley in the opening round of the Premier Division on Friday 7 August. They recovered well from their first round shock loss to the Bulldogs (20-13), winning their five remaining matches with a full house of points.
The Hino Valke turned in a strong first-half performance as they came out on top of the Down Touch Griffons in a high-scoring 57-41 (half-time 33-15) victory in their fixture at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Friday. The win allowed the Valke to jump into third place. Boland (fourth) finished their fixtures last weekend.
The ORC Griquas did not have it easy, but got the better of the SWD Eagles winning by 41-21 in the final round of the qualifying round in Kimberley on Saturday. The home team took 41 minutes to kick into action as they trailed 12-14 at half time and with 18 minutes remaining had a slender lead of 26-21. Much to the relief of the home supporters, two tries in the final six minutes wrapped up affairs and ensured Kimberley will once again host the top teams in this year’s Premier Division.
With the Leopards having won their encounter against the Border Bulldogs by 33-8 with a bonus point earlier, Griquas knew they had to win and score four tries to finished top of the log. Luckily for the home side the weather played along and the threatening rain stayed away. When the winning team scored the crucial fourth try in the 48th minute, a second one by loose forward Carel Greeff, they led by 26-14. However, the Eagles edged their way back to a five point deficit (21-26) which turned out to be a wake-up call for the Griquas.
ORC Griquas – Tries: Carel Greeff (2), Michael van der Spuy, Ntabeni Dukisa, AJ Coertzen, Martin Bezuidenhout; Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo (4); Penalty: Prinsloo.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Gerrit Smith, Luzuko Vulindlu; Conversion: Smith; Penalties: Smith (3).
The Valke ran in nine tries to the six from the Griffons as both teams looked to end their disappointing qualifying campaigns on a successful note. Left wing Coert Cronje and outside centre Grant Janke both scored a brace of tries for the hosts while fullback Jaun Kotze ended with 17 points after scoring a try and slotting six conversions. Griffons more than played their part in the entertaining contest with lock Johan van der Hoogt and right wing Alvin Brandt both crossing for two tries apiece.
The Valke raced into a 21-0 lead after 15 minutes after tries from Cronje, scrumhalf Anrich Richter and Janke. The Griffons fought back to narrow the gap to 21-15 after 34 minutes thanks to tries from Alvin Brandt and left wing Enver Brandt plus a Louis Strydom penalty. Griffons ended the half on a high though, thanks to Cronje’s second try and a score from flank Ernst Ladendorf. The second half saw both teams continue with their free-scoring ways with the Valke adding tries from Kotze, Janke, right wing Kyle Hendricks and Friedle Olivier while the Griffons responded with tries from Van der Hoogt (2), Nicky Steyn and Alvin Brandt.
Hino Valke – Tries: Jaun Kotze, Grant Janke (2), Friedle Olivier, Anrich Richter, Ernst Ladendorf, Coert Cronje (2); Conversions: Kotze (6).
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Enver Brandt, Johan van der Hoogt (2), Alvin Brandt (2), Nicky Steyn; Conversions: Louis Strydom (4); Penalty: Strydom.
Hosts Border were no match for a rampant Leopards team at an icy cold and wet Buffalo City Stadium in East London on Saturday. The visitors, who were well in the running for advancement to the Premier Division before kick-off, arrived with the aim of taking five points from the match. They won 33-8, achieving their goal with five tries to the Bulldogs’ one.
The heavy, cold wind made conditions very difficult for both sides, and when the teams changed ends with the Leopards 14-5 up and the Bulldogs playing with the strong wind at the backs, home fans were confident that their team could force a win, but it was not to be.
With the visitors’ forwards attacking well, Leopards prop Johan Smith went over twice and halfway through the second half it was all over for the Bulldogs. There was a glimpse of hope when utility back Logan Basson kicked a penalty for Border in the 28th minute to make the score to 26-8, but then some weak defensive work by Border saw Leopards hooker Wium Fourie barge over to put the game completely out of Border’s reach.
Border 8 – Try: Michael Makase; Penalty: Logan Basson.
Leopards 33 – Tries: Hanco Venter, Loftus Morrison, Johan Smith (2) and Wium Fourie. Conversions: Adriaan Engelbrecht (4).