Three hat-tricks highlighted Round Six of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge this weekend, while a thriller Rugby Festival in Mdantsane added more drama to a weekend filled with action-packed rugby.
Veteran former Springbok winger, Odwa Ndungane, scored three tries for the Cell C Sharks XV in their impressive 60-10 win over the Down Touch Griffons, while Vodacom Blue Bulls midfielder, Franco Naude, thrilled the crowd at his alma mater, Garsfontein High School, with three tries against the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias as the home side raced to a 92-7 win. The third hat-trick, scored by Leopards flanker Gideon van der Merwe in Bloemfontein, could not prevent his team going down 35-32 against the Toyota Free State XV, though.
Meanwhile, the well-attended fourth Rugby Festival of the tournament played at Sisa Dukashe Stadium, saw DHL Western Province beat Border 45-7 to remain undefeated and the EP Kings edged the SWD Eagles 24-21. In a Gold Cup qualifier, local clubs Swallows and Winter Rose showed true grit and commitment, with Swallows winning 43-11 after a strong second half and despite having a player red carded.
There were a number of cards in the EP/SWD game as well and the George team at once stage had 13 players on the field, which did not help their cause in searching that first win.
WP had a very strong second half to thank for their solid win over the home side. Border were in contention at the break, but the better fitness levels and bigger depth on the bench helped the WP to pull away.
The Eastern Cape matches pretty much maintained the status quo on the South Section log, with DHL WP winning five out of five, and SWD remaining the only side yet to register a win.
In a fairly significant match in the North Section, the Xerox Golden Lions dispelled the challenge of the Steval Pumas and beat them 35-26 in Johannesburg on Friday. This result drops the Nelspruit team to third, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls moved past the Golden Lions into first place on the log. The Xerox Golden Lions do have a game in hand though.
In Bloemfontein, the Toyota Free State XV edged the Leopards 35-32, resulting in the home side moving into second spot on the log, while the Leopards, who opened their campaign with three wins, now has lost three in a row and are in danger of missing out on the play-offs, especially as the Cell C Sharks are raking up bonus points and points’ differential.
A summary of matches and scorers from the weekend matches are:
DHL Western Province 45 (21), Border 7 (7)
WP – Tries: Craig Barry, Dean Muir, Brendan Esterhuizen, Johan du Toit, Jaco Coetzee, Grant Hermanus. Conversions: Brandon Thompson (6). Penalty: Thompson
Border Bulldogs – Try: Oliver Zono. Conversion: Oliver Zono
EP Kings 24 (10), SWD Eagles 21 (7)
EP Kings – Tries: Tango Balekile, Keanu Vers (2), Chris Heiberg. Conversions: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (2)
SWD Eagles – Tries: Johnny Welthagen, Thor Halvorsen, Marlo Weich. Conversions: Leighton Eksteen (3)
Toyota Free State XV 35 (22), Leopards 32 (17)
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Joseph Dweba, Stephan Janse van Rensburg, Jacobus Jonker, Marco Mason. Conversions: Mason (3). Penalties: Mason (3).
Leopards – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe (3), Henko Marais. Conversions: Gerhard Nortier (2), Schalk Hugo. Penalties: Nortier (2).
Cell C Sharks XV 60 (20, Down Touch Griffons 10 (10)
Cell C Sharks XV – Tries: S’bura Sithole (2), Odwa Ndungane (3), Khaya Majola, Marius Louw, Courtney Winnaar, Tristan Blewett. Conversions: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (3), Danrich Visagie (3). Penalty: Benhard Janse van Rensburg
Down Touch Griffons – Try: Jasper Wiese. Conversion: Duan Pretorius. Penalty: Duan Pretorius
Vodacom Blue Bulls 92 (52) Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 7 (0).
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Boom Prinsloo (2), Franco Naude (3), Kefentse Mahlo (2), Clyde Davids, Shaun Adendorff (2), Brian Leitch, Andre Warner (2), Earll Douwrie; Cons: Tinus de Beer (6), Joshua Stander (5).
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias – Try: Nikin Cloete; Con: Dirk van Weidts.
Xerox Golden Lions XV 35 (21), Steval Pumas 25 (21)
Xerox Golden Lions XV – Tries: Aphiwe Dyantyi (2), Shaun Reynolds, Jano Venter, Fabian Booysen. Conversions: Reynolds (5).
Steval Pumas – Tries: Marko Janse van Rensburg, Jean-Paul Lewis, Ryan Nell, Frank Herne. Conversion: Sias Ebersohn. Penalty: Ebersohn.