The SuperSport Rugby Challenge delivered another great Rugby Festival at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday, with the Xerox Golden Lions XV using the home crowd support to push them to victory.
A 28-27 saw the Lions secure top spot of the North Section and remain one of only two teams that are undefeated after four rounds of action.
The home side beat Gauteng neighbours, Hino Valke in the final game of the Rugby Festival, which despite being played in cold conditions, warmed the hearts of the good crowd that turned out on Mother’s Day. The home side needed a penalty in the 79 minute of the match, though, to edge the Valke.
In the earlier match, Steval Pumas also scored a good 64-8 win over the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias, who are yet to register a win the competition. The Mpumalanga side showed good enterprise on attack and former Blitzboks winger Ruwellyn Isbell showed some spark with ball in hand, dotting down twice and having a hand in a number of the other eight tries.
In the club game to complete the triple-header, Raiders maintained their unbeaten start to the season, putting away Wanderers 55-19.
The high-riding Leopards came unstuck in Margate on Saturday, when a rampant Cell C Sharks XV trampled them with their attacking prowess. Flanker Jacques Vermeulen scored a hat-trick of tries as the home side outplayed the Central section, by 32-5.
This was the first defeat by Leopards and opened up the tournament nicely for the other teams in the section.
One of them, Tafel Lager Griquas on Friday sneaked an important away win in Bloemfontein, winning 32-30. The visitors have Ederies Arendse to thank, who scored a late try to seal the win.
The South section also saw some great action over the weekend. On Friday, Boland Cavaliers held firm in George, beating the home side 15-8 in a match that only delivered one try, scored by John Welthagen of SWD Eagles. Divan Nel kicked five penalties to hand Boland their first win of the season.
The Border Bulldogs also moved up the log with a gutsy win in Port Elizabeth, beating the EP Kings 20-17. The visitors had to dig deep defensively as the home team attacked from all angles in the final minutes of play.
A summary of the weekend results and scorers follow below:
Xerox Golden Lions 28 (15), Hino Valke 27 (21)
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Pieter Jansen (2), James Venter. Conversions: Siyabonga Masuku (2). Penalties: Masuku, Shaun Reynolds (2)
Hino Valke – Tries: Friedle Olivier, Penalty Try, Jan-Frederick Enslin. Conversions: Christiaan Rust (2); Penalties: Rust (2).
Steval Pumas 64 (31), Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 8 (3)
Steval Pumas – Tries: Ruan Nel, Frank Herne, Ruwellyn Isbell (2), Kobus Marais, Carel Greeff, Emile Temperman, Devon Williams, Brian Shabangu, Sias Ebersohn. Conversions: Kobus Marais (3), Sias Ebersohn (4).
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias – Try: Lesley Klim. Penalty: Theuns Kotze.
Cell C Sharks XV 32 (15) Leopards (5) 5
Cell C Sharks XV – Tries: Jacques Vermeulen (3), John-Hubert Meyer, Kerron van Vuuren. Conversions: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (2). Penalties: Benhard Janse van Rensburg.
Leopards – Try: Tapiwa Mafura
EP Kings 17 (5), Border Bulldogs 20 (15)
EP – Tries: Gregory Jackson, Stefan Ungerer, Brandon Brown. Conversions: Garrick Mattheus.
Border – Tries: Ntabeni Dukisa, Michael Makase, Yanga Xakalashe. Conversions: Oliver Zono. Penalty: Oliver Zono.
SWD Eagles 8 (5), Boland Cavaliers 15 (9)
SWD Eagles – Try: John Welthagen. Penalty: Leighton Eksteen.
Boland Kavaliers – Penalties: Divan Nel (5).
Toyota Free State XV 30 (16), Tafel Lager Griquas 32 (15)
Free State XV – Tries: JW Jonker, Joseph Dweba, Junior Pokomela, Gerhardus Olivier; Conversions: Marco Mason, Marnus van der Merwe. Penalties: Mason (2).
Griquas – Tries: Tertius Kruger, Renier Botha, Enver Brandt, Ederies Arendse; Conversions: George Whitehead (3). Penalties: Whitehead (2).