The Bulls Daisies moved to the top of the SA Rugby Women’s Premier Division standings for the first time after five rounds and are now the only undefeated side in the competition courtesy of a 36-8 win over Boland Dames in Pretoria on Saturday, after DHL Western Province lost in the Eastern Cape.
The team from Cape Town, who were top of the standings, dropped to third on the log following a 23-17 defeat to the Border Ladies in Mdantsane, returning from the Eastern Cape with a solitary losing bonus point.
The defending champions from East London, who started in third place on the log, moved into second place with the unexpected victory, while the Cell C Sharks Women also moved into the top four with a solid win over the EP Queens, winning their encounter by 29-15 in Nelson Mandela Bay’s Wolfson Stadium.
After five rounds, the Daisies top the standings with 20 points, although they have only played four matches. Border (18 from five matches), WP (16 from four matches) and the Sharks (nine from five matches) complete the top-four, with the Queens and Lions (both on five from four matches) and Dames (two from four matches) bringing up the rear.
Border 23 (13), DHL Western Province 17 (5)
The Border Ladies side outplayed an out of sorts DHL Western Province in Mdantsane and showed that they will remain a force in the tournament, despite losing some senior personnel to other provinces.
The Capetonians hardly ever used tactical kicking to force territorial dominance, and were often called back for not taking a quick-tap penalty from the allocated mark.
Border struck early with a fantastic try from a heel against the head, sending the ball wide to Hope Gosling (wing) who had too much pace for the WP cover defence. Siphenathi Yeko (fullback) added the conversion and a kicked penalty goal shortly after – which came when the visitors tried to run from their own red zone – to extend the lead to 10-0.
Prop Vernique Afrika pulled one back for DHL WP after a good pick-and-drive play, but the conversion struck the upright. Yeko kicked another penalty goal for a 13-5 lead to Border at the break.
Two players from the Ladies were yellow carded in the last 10 minutes of the half, but the visitors failed to capitalise, instead giving away the advantage with a yellow card of their own just before the break.
The second half started well for DHL WP when Asiphe Mayaba finished off brilliantly for her seventh try in the tournament. The Springbok wing has a wonderful ability to swerve inside defenders at full pace and that trademark step saw her glide past Border defenders to score. Elme Kruger converted to reduce the deficit to one point.
A penalty try to Border 10 minutes later not only bounced them to an eight point lead again, it also cost the visitors another player for ten minutes. The host team extended their lead to 23-12 with another Yeko penalty goal before WP struck back with a well-worked try to bring them back into the game.
DHL WP captain Sinazo Mcatshulwa scored from a lineout drive after the visitors went back to some structured play, leaving them a converted try in arrears. Border, despite having another player in the sin bin for the last 10 minutes of the match, managed to keep the Cape side out for the remainder of the time for a well-deserved win.
Border Ladies – Tries: Hope Gosling, Penalty Try. Conversion: Siphenathi Yeko. Penalty goals: Yeko (3).
DHL WP – Tries: Vernique Afrika, Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Asiphe Mayaba. Conversion: Elme Kruger.
EP Queens 15 (3), Cell C Sharks Women 29 (13)
It was the Tayla Kinsey show at Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the Cell C Sharks Women outplayed EP Queens 29-15 with the Springbok scrumhalf, who played at flyhalf in this match, showed all her experience as she guided her team with a tactical display of territorial kicking and decision-making, scoring 14 points in the process.
The visitors showed much more composure in the opening half and the 13-3 lead was well-deserved. EP had little to show apart from a Zaza Nojoko penalty goal, while the Durban team – with their pack rampant – scored two tries.
Kinsey got them on the board with a penalty goal before Lindelwa Gwala scored a try out wide, with the Springbok hooker finding herself on the wing with space to spare.
A few minutes later, wing Silindile Dladla scored in the same corner, again from a good set-up by the KZN pack before the ball was moved wide with width on attack. Nojoko then added the penalty goal to break EP’s duck just before the break.
The Queens improved in the second half, but the gap proved too big to overhaul. Kinsey scored the easiest try of her career when EP tried to run the ball from behind their own line and a pass went astray, with the KZN pivot quick to capitalise and fall on the ball for the five points.
The Queens finally gave their home crowd something to smile about when scrumhalf Sibabalwe Klaas scored after a strong break, with Nojoko’s conversion cutting the Sharks’ lead to 18-10, but Kinsey kicked a penalty goal to extend the lead to 11 points again.
EP got over the line for a second try, before the Sharks wrapped it up with a bonus point try 10 minutes from time.
EP Queens – Tries: Phelisa Mrwebi, Sibabalwe Klaas. Conversion: Zaza Nojoko. Penalty goal: Nojoko.
Cell C Sharks Women – Tries: Amanda Ndhlovu, Tayla Kinsey, Silindile Dladla, Anesipho Malgas. Penalty goals: Kinsey (3).
Bulls Daisies 36 (17) – 8 (8) Boland Dames
Boland Dames held their own and even enjoyed an 8-0 lead after the first half hour before the Bulls Daisies managed to break the shackles for a 36-8 victory at Harlequins Rugby Club in Pretoria.
At this the stage, the visiting pack were in control and Springbok No 8 Aseza Hele scored off the back of a dominant scrum, but her national team-mate Simamkele Namba scored her first Daisies try after a well-planned move from a tap penalty near the Dames’ tryline.
The Springbok wing crossed the whitewash five minutes later, again after some quick recycling to the left which allowed the speedster some space.
Her third try also came before the half-time break, this time when she came off the left-wing to join the attack on the right. Zintle Nonkasana converted as the home side scored 17 unanswered points in just over 12 minutes to take a 17-8 lead into the break.
The Daisies added another three tries to their tally in the second half, two by loosehead prop Asithandile Ntoyanto. She powered over from close range early, then had to sit out for 10 minutes after being sin-binned for a late charge, before finishing off in style with a strong run towards to the Boland line.
Tries: Asithandile Ntoyanto (2), Simamkele Namba (3), Sizophila Solontsi
Conversions: Zintle Nonkasana (3)
Try: Asiza Hele
Penalty goal: Debra Fredericks