The Cell C Sharks and Toyota Free State Cheetahs maintained their top two positions on the Currie Cup Premier Division log with solid wins, while DHL Western Province also stayed in the hunt for a top two spot in yet another thrilling weekend of Currie Cup.
In celebration of Heritage Day, Crown National Foods gave away free boerewors rolls to the first 250 children at their stands at all three matches, while 2500 fans received spice sachets and boerewors tastings, but on the field, nothing was given away for free. Instead, it was another typical Currie Cup weekend of hard-fought contests.
The Cell C Sharks had to weather torrential rain and a determined Vodacom Blue Bulls side to score an 18-5 win in Durban to stay top of the log, while the DHL Western Province side overcame a slow start to beat Tafel Lager Griquas 55-27 at DHL Newlands on Saturday. On Friday, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs showed they still have some bite left in them by beating Steval Pumas 33-32 to stay second on the log.
The Cell C Sharks have already secured a semi-final berth after their ninth victory out of ten, but few of those came in conditions as tough as they endured at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday. Heavy rain hampered both sides and handling was a big issue. This helped the home side, who scrummed stronger and had flyhalf Curwin Bosch taking advantage of the dominance that came his side’s way. He landed a perfectly judged kick in the opening minutes to allow Sibusiso Nkosi to score and early try and kicked a penalty and dropped goal on route to an impressive win to the home side.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls, trailing 12-0 at the break, refused to let up and were still competitive till the final whistle, but with their set-pieces not functioning well, were always up against it, especially in the conditions the match were played in.
In Cape Town, the Tafel Lager Griquas started like a house on fire and scored 13 points in now time, which Ederies Arendse racing 60 meters after picking a stay pass. It was not long though, before the home side was back in control, following two forward-dominated tries. Winger Werner Kok then scored one of two tries in a busy afternoon for the Blitzbok, with his second just after the restart edging the match away from the visitors.
Credit to the Kimberley side, who never stopped trying and came back with two tries in the second half, but DHL WP was out of sight and two late tries by replacement prop, Caylib Oosthuizen, added to the misery and blown-out score line.
On Friday, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs rallied back from a couple of losses to beat Steval Pumas, themselves full of confidence after beating DHL WP the previous week. The home side showed massive determination and defended with real commitment, refusing to lie down even when the Steval Pumas were playing some of their best rugby in the match. Both sides scored twice before the break, with the visitors leading 15-12 when they swopped side.
The second half was as tight. The Steval Pumas scored first to extend their lead, but two tries from the home side, both well-constructed, saw them overhauling the Steval Pumas again.
A fourth try by the Nelspruit side saw them opening a six point gap again, but a late try by flyhalf, Robbie Petzer, who also scored earlier in the game, and a successful conversion gave the home side an one point-edge. They held on to win and stay in second spot on the log.
Top Point scorers after round 11
George Whitehead (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 72
Tony Jantjies (Vodacom Blue Bulls) – 58
Kobus Marais (Steval Pumas) – 55
Jaco van der Walt (Xerox Golden Lions) – 48
Justin van Staden (Steval Pumas) – 44
Top Try scorers after round 11
Sbusiso Nkosi (Cell C Sharks ) – 8
Seabelo Senatla (DHL Western Province) – 7
Ederies Arendse (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 6
Currie Cup Premier Division round 11 results and scorers:
Cell C Sharks 18 (12), Vodacom Blue Bulls 5 (0)
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Sibusiso Nkosi, Keegan Daniel. Conversion: Curwin Bosch. Penalty: Bosch. Drop Goal: Bosch.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Try: Aston Fortuin.
DHL Western Province 57 (24), Tafel Lager Griquas 27 (13)
DHL Western Province – Tries: Werner Kok (2), Caylib Oosthuizen (2), Cobus Wiese, Chad Solomon, Dean Muir, Johan du Toit; Conversions: Damian Willemse (4), Robert du Preez (2); Penalty: Willemse.
Tafel Lager Griquas – Tries: Ederies Arendse, Renier Botha, Tertius Kruger; Conversions: George Whitehead (2), Eric Zana; Penalties: Whitehead (2).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 33 (12), Steval Pumas 32 (15)
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Zee Mkhabela, Cecil Afrika, Reinach Venter, Robbie Petzer (2). Conversions: Robbie Petzer (4).
Steval Pumas – Tries: Frankie Hearne, Jerome Pretorius, Willie Engelbrecht, Justin van Staden. Conversions: Kobus Marais (3). Penalties: Marais (2).