The Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Cheetahs, Windhoek Draught Griquas and Airlink Pumas claimed big wins on the road in the Currie Cup Premier Division this past weekend, with the defending champions from Mpumalanga maintaining their position at the top of the log.
The Vodacom Bulls made a statement when they travelled to Durban on Friday and secured a narrow win over the Cell C Sharks. The Toyota Cheetahs showed similar resolve when they claimed a bonus-point win against DHL Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Airlink Pumas rebounded after last week’s defeat to the Cell C Sharks when they put 64 points and 10 tries past the NovaVit Griffons in Welkom on Sunday. Windhoek Draught Griquas completed the set of away wins when they edged the Fidelity ADT Lions in Johannesburg.
The upshot is that both the Airlink Pumas and the Toyota Cheetahs have accumulated 25 log points after six rounds. The defending champions will remain at the top of log by virtue of their superior points’ difference (161 to the Free Staters’ 94).
Windhoek Draught Griquas, last year’s runners up, have moved up to fifth position on the log, and are one log point behind the fourth-placed DHL WP. The Vodacom Bulls currently lie in seventh place – but a mere two log points separate Jake White’s charges and the third-placed Cell C Sharks.
Four matches were played in the Currie Cup First Division and Mzansi Challenge. The high-flying SWD Eagles recorded an important 33-24 win against the Valke in George on Friday, while Eastern Province edged the Leopards 24-20 in Despatch on Saturday.
In the other two games staged on Saturday, the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias beat the Goshawks from Zimbabwe 31-26 in Harare, and the San Clemente Rhinos romped to a 33-22 victory over the Kenyan Simbas in Strand.
Novuka hat-trick boosts Vodacom Bulls in Durban
Sibongile Novuka scored three tries as the Vodacom Bulls claimed a 24-20 bonus-point win against the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Friday.
The visitors dominated much of the first half, with Novuka scoring two tries and hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels also crossing the line. The Cell C Sharks went to the break trailing by 16 points, and with No 8 James Venter in the sin bin.
But playing with a stiff wind in their backs, the hosts hit back five minutes after half-time, with wing Phiko Sobahle scoring and Fred Zeilinga adding a conversion before he landed a further penalty goal in the 53rd minute to reduce the deficit to six points.
The Vodacom Bulls regained control in the 58th minute after Novuka completed his hat-trick. The Cell C Sharks managed to score another try through Mthokozisi Mkhabela in the 67th minute, with Zeilinga adding the extras.
In the end, the Vodacom Bulls hung on for a well-deserved win, and the Cell C Sharks had to be content with a losing bonus point.
Cell C Sharks 20 (3) – Tries: Phiko Sobahle, Mthokozisi Mkhabela. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga, Lionel Cronje. Penalty goals: Zeilinga (2).
Vodacom Bulls 24 (19) – Tries: Sibongile Novuka (3), Jan-Hendrik Wessels. Conversions: Morné Steyn (2).
Toyota Cheetahs fight back to down DHL WP
The Toyota Cheetahs recovered from an early setback to secure a 26-17 bonus-point win against DHL Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday.
DHL WP squandered a number of opportunities in this fixture, and failed to take control of the contest. By contrast, the Toyota Cheetahs displayed remarkable tenacity and composure, and completed a fine comeback victory.
The hosts scored the first try of the game through hooker Andre-Hugo Venter. In the 25th minute, the visitors hit back with a five-pointer of their own, as flanker Gideon van der Merwe crossed the line.
DHL WP added a second try in the 31st minute, but then conceded a score at the other end of the park two minutes later. As a result, they went to the break with a slender 14-12 lead.
Flyhalf Kade Wolhuter slotted a penalty goal in the 57th minute. The visitors responded six minutes later, with Louis van der Westhuizen crashing over for a try, and Ruan Pienaar adding a conversion to steer his team into the lead.
Reserve tighthead prop Corne Weilbach was shown a yellow card in the 74th minute, and DHL WP conceded a penalty try three minutes later. The latter decision ensured that the Toyota Cheetahs claimed the bonus point as well as a hard-earned win.
DHL Western Province 17 (14) – Tries: Andre-Hugo Venter, Angelo Davids. Conversions: Kade Wolhuter, Davids. Penalty goal: Wolhuter.
Toyota Cheetahs 26 (12) – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Reinhardt Fortuin, Louis van der Westhuizen, Penalty try. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (2).
Airlink Pumas run NovaVit Griffons ragged
Reserve hooker PJ Jacobs scored three tries as the Airlink Pumas romped to a 64-6 win over the NovaVit Griffons in Welkom on Sunday.
Jimmy Stonehouse’s charges came into this clash with a point to prove, after losing last week’s game to the Cell C Sharks. In the end, they crossed the line 10 times and kept the opposition tryless.
The game was in the balance for much of the first half. While the Airlink Pumas scored three tries in this period, they lost momentum in the dying stages when No 8 Kwanda Dimza was shown a yellow card.
After the break, however, the visitors proceeded to score 43 unanswered points. Jacobs was introduced to the front row midway through the second stanza, and dotted down three times in the space of 15 minutes.
The result sees the Airlink Pumas finishing the round at the top of the Currie Cup Premier Division standings.
NovaVit Griffons 6 (6) – Penalty goals: Robbie Petzer (2).
Airlink Pumas 64 (19) – Tries: Deon Slabbert, Giovan Snyman, Malembe Mpofu, Diego Appolis, PJ Jacobs (3), Ruwald van der Merwe, Chriswill September, Brandon Thomson. Conversions: Tinus de Beer (5), Thomson (2).
Windhoek Draught Griquas strike late to claim crucial win
Windhoek Draught Griquas scored a converted try after the final hooter to beat the Fidelity ADT Lions 25-18 in Johannesburg on Sunday.
The visitors were dealt an early blow when tighthead prop Janu Botha was shown a yellow card. The Lions used the one-man advantage to good effect, scoring seven points in Botha’s absence.
Windhoek Draught Griquas scored through Janco Uys before the break, though, to reduce the deficit to two points. Tiaan Swanepoel slotted a penalty goal in the 63rd minute to restore the five-point buffer.
There was to be more drama late in the game, when the visitors added 10 points in the final six minutes. JC Pretorius scored for the Fidelity ADT Lions in the 80th minute, and look to have secured a win for the hosts.
But in the sixth minute of injury time, replacement loosehead prop Cebo Dlamini crossed the line, and Eddie Fouche added the extras to give Windhoek Draught Griquas an unlikely win.
Fidelity ADT Lions 18 (10) – Tries: Zeilinga Strydom, JC Pretorius. Conversion: Tiaan Swanepoel. Penalty goals: Swanepoel (2).
Windhoek Draught Griquas 25 (8) – Tries: Janco Uys, Johan Mulder, Cebo Dlamini. Conversions: Eddie Fouche (2). Penalty goal: George Whitehead.