The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Cell C Sharks registered their third back-to-back victories of the season to maintain their unbeaten Currie Cup status.
Defending champions, the Xerox Golden Lions, meanwhile suffered their first defeat, while DHL Western Province have yet to win a match after two outings.
The Leopards and Down Touch Griffons, meanwhile, secured their second round of victories in the Currie Cup First Division to jump to the top of the log table temporarily.
Currie Cup Premier Division
Six penalty goals and two conversions by Toyota Free State Cheetahs flyhalf Fred Zeilinga for a personal total of 22 points set up the Free Stater’s for a valuable 32-25 away-win against DHL Western Province in Cape Town on Friday. The hosts opened up the scoring with a try in the ninth minute and added another later in the half to add to a penalty goal by Brandon Thompson before the break, while the visitors scored only one try to add to Zeilinga’s two first-half penalty goals, which left them trailing 18-13. But the tables turned in the second half as the Toyota Free State Cheetahs capitalised on DHL Western Province’s ill-discipline to slot over four penalty goals, while each team added a try, which secured the 32-25 victory for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.
A strong first half by the Cell C Sharks against Boland in Wellington, meanwhile, set them up for a 41-20 bonus-point victory. The Durbanites dominated possession and attacked at will in the first half and this paid off as they secured their tries bonus point before the break. In stark contrast, Boland battled to get close to the tryline, and had to settle for a single penalty goal in the first half. The hosts, however, bounced back in the second half and ran hard at the Cell C Sharks on attack, and this earned them three tries, but two more tries by the visitors, whose forwards and backs combined well throughout the match, allowed them to secure the comfortable victory.
In Kimberley, Griquas produced one of their best performances of the season to defeat the Xerox Golden Lions 30-24. The visitors scored a try in the first minute, but Griquas dominated proceedings soon after as their forwards applied immense pressure, which allowed them to score two converted tries and two penalties. This cancelled out the Johannesburg side’s second try shortly before halftime. The Xerox Golden Lions reduced the gap on the scoreboard shortly after play resumed with their third try, while they added their bonus point try shortly before the final whistle, but Griquas’ third try and another penalty in the second half was enough to seal the victory for them.
In Pretoria the clash between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and EP Kings was a try festival with the sides scoring a combined total of 12 tries and 84 points. Seven tries by the hosts, however, to five by the determined EP Kings earned them a 49-35 victory. The EP Kings came out firing and scored two of their three first-half tries in the opening five minutes for a 14-0 lead, but the home team fought back and secured their tries bonus point in the first half for a 28-25 lead. The second half was equally exciting as both teams gave everything on attack, while their defence continued to falter. This allowed the Vodacom Blue Bulls to add three more tries to their tally, while the EP Kings added two to secure their bonus point despite going down 49-35.
Currie Cup First Division
The clash between the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias and Leopards was fast and furious as the teams scored tries at will from the outset, which saw 14 tries and 96 points being scored in the match. Leopards flyhalf Gene Willemse earned a hat-trick, while his team-mate Johan Deysel and Windhoek Draught Welwitschias replacement back Lesley Klim each scored a brace. The Leopards came out firing and scored three tries in the first 12 minutes, and the hosts replied with three back-to-back tries of their own. The Leopards, however, added two more before the break to take a 33-21 lead. The teams built on this in the second half and each added three tries, which handed the Leopards a 54-42 victory.
Goal kicking proved to be the difference in the clash between SWD and the Down Touch Griffons in George as the Welkom side staged a dramatic comeback from 21-12 down at halftime to win the match 33-27. SWD had the upper hand in the first half as they used their chances well to run in three tries, while the Down Touch Griffons relied on three penalty goals and a drop goal for their points. The Welkom side, however, fought back with intent and tightened up their defence, which earned them three second-half tries, while the hosts were only able to add two penalty goals, leaving them short on the scoreboard.
Currie Cup Premier Division
Griquas 30 (20) Xerox Golden Lions 24 (12)
Griquas – Tries: AJ Coertzen, Rudi van Rooyen, Stephan Kotze. Conversions: Clinton Swart (3). Penalty Goals: Andre Swarts, Clinton Swart (2).
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Akker van der Merwe, Corne Fourie, Cyle Brink, Howard Mnisi. Conversions: Jako van der Walt, Marnitz Boshoff.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 49 (28) EP Kings 35 (25)
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Bjorn Basson, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo (2), Jannes Kirsten, Joshua Stander, Tian Schoeman. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (7).
EP Kings- Tries: Berton Klaasen, Johann Tromp, Martin Bezuidenhout, Michael Willemse, Siviwe Soyizwapi. Conversions: Kobus Marais. Penalty Goals: Kobus Marais (2).
DHL Western Province 25 (18) Toyota Free State Cheetahs 32 (13)
DHL Western Province – Tries: Huw Jones, Kobus van Wyk, Leolin Zas. Conversions: Brandon Thomson, Robert du Preez. Penalty Goals: Brandon Thomson (2).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Nicolaas Lee, Tian Meyer. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2). Penalty Goals: Fred Zeilinga (6).
Boland 20 (3) Cell C Sharks 41 (29)
Boland – Tries: Danwel Demas, Ryan Nell, Sergio Torrens. Conversion: Theuns Kotze. Penalty Goal: Nico Scheepers.
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Andre Esterhuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Franco Marais, Hanco Venter, Inny Radebe, Odwa Ndungane. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3), Garth April. Penalty Goal: Curwin Bosch.
Currie Cup First Division Scorers:
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 42 (21) Leopards 54 (33)
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias – Tries: Chrysander Botha, Gino Wilson, Leneve Damens, Lesley Klim (2), Phillip Nashikaku. Conversions: Eugene Jantjies (6).
Leopards – Tries: Gene Willemse (3), Henro-Pierre Swart, Johan Deysel (2), Loftus Morrison, Rowayne Beukman. Conversions: Johan Deysel (7).
SWD 27 (21) Down Touch Griffons 33 (12)
SWD – Tries: Christo Du Plessis, Johan Steyn, Mark Pretorius. Conversions: Hansie Graaff (3). Penalty Goals: Hansie Graaff (2).
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Boela Abrahams, Daniel van der Merwe, Reinhardt Erwee. Conversions: George Whitehead (3). Penalty Goals: George Whitehead (3). Drop Goal: Boela Abrahams.