DHL Western Province, the Airlink Pumas and Toyota Cheetahs all maintained their winning form in the second round of the Currie Cup Premier Division, while there was a first win of the campaign for the Windhoek Draught Griquas in Kimberley.
Meanwhile, the Fidelity ADT Lions, Vodacom Bulls and NovaVit Griffons remain winless.
Holders Airlink Pumas needed a last-gasp try from centre Diego Appollis to clinch a thrilling 34-27 win over the Fidelity ADT Lions in Nelspruit on Friday afternoon. In the evening fixture on Friday staged in Pretoria, DHL Western Province prevailed 41-33 over arch-rivals Vodacom Bulls in their North-South derby at Loftus Versfeld.
On Sunday, the Toyota Cheetahs came out tops in the battle of the Free State when they toppled provincial neighbours NovaVit Griffons 52-12 in Welkom. In the weekend’s last match, Windhoek Draught Griquas produced an outstanding second half display to outplay Cell C Sharks 48-40 in Kimberley for their first win of the campaign.
After two rounds, three teams are tied on 10 log points apiece, with the Toyota Cheetahs leading due to their superior points’ difference, followed by the Airlink Pumas and DHL WP. The leading trio are followed by Cell C Sharks on six points, Windhoek Draught Griquas (five points), Fidelity ADT Lions (three points), Vodacom Bulls (one point) and the NovaVit Griffons, who are yet to register a log point.
In this coming weekends’ third-round action three of the four games will be staged on Friday and the remaining one on Saturday.
The Fidelity ADT Lions and NovaVit Griffons will get the third-round action underway at 15h00 in Johannesburg and that game is followed by a clash in Bloemfontein between the Toyota Cheetahs and Vodacom Bulls (17h00). Friday evening’s last match takes place in the Mbombela Stadium, where the Airlink Pumas entertain Windhoek Draught Griquas (19h00).
On Saturday, the Cell C Sharks and DHL WP will round off the weekend’s action with a coastal derby that is scheduled to start at 14h00 in Durban.
Airlink Pumas clinch Mbombela thriller
Airlink Pumas gained their second win in their defence of their Currie Cup title when they defeated Fidelity ADT Lions 34-27 in a thrilling second-round encounter in Nelspruit on Friday afternoon.
Strong-running outside centre Diego Appollis scored two of their five tries, the second one right at the end to clinch a crucial home win against an opponent that refused to go away and who had tied the scores 27-27 with just minutes left on the clock.
Pivot Brandon Thomson added the extras with three conversions and a penalty goal.
The Johannesburgers’ left wing Boldwin Hansen repeated his try-scoring feat of the previous round when he again crossed for two tries. Flyhalf Vaughen Isaacs delivered a polished performance for the Joburg outfit by scoring a try, two conversions and a penalty goal.
Jimmy Stonehouse’s men dominated the first half with their high-octane running and passing game. Unlike last weekend in Pretoria, where everything they touched turned into gold, this time they failed to make the last pass stick on several occasions.
The hosts did enough though to lead 17-3 at the break, but the visitors came out fighting in the second stanza, which made for a very entertaining encounter. They tied the scores at 27-27 going into the final few minutes but it was the burly Appollis who clinched the victory when he went over.
Airlink Pumas 34 (17) – Tries: Diego Appollis (2), Devon Williams, Andre Fouche, Corne Fourie. Conversions: Brandon Thomson (3). Penalty goal: Thomson.
Fidelity ADT Lions 27 (3) – Tries: Boldwin Hansen (2), Jarod Cairns, Vaughen Isaacs. Conversions: Isaacs (2). Penalty goal: Isaacs.
Wolhuter shines as DHL WP triumph in Pretoria
Young DHL Western Province flyhalf Kade Wolhuter continued his fine form by contributing 26 points in their North-South derby win at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening as the Capetonians made it two from two for the season with a strong 44-31 victory over the Vodacom Bulls.
The Vodacom Bulls actually outscored the visitors by five tries to four, but Wolhuter ensured DHL WP took the spoils in a great game, contributing a try, three conversions and five penalty goals.
Despite coming up against a more experienced line-up, John Dobson’s side raced into a 15-5 lead in the first half, an although the Vodacom Bulls fought back on several occasions to take the lead, notably by 19-18 at the break, but Province eventually had too much firepower for another convincing win.
However, their win was far from a one-man show as DHL WP fullback Clayton Blommetjies proved to be a menace with ball in hand, with the visitors’ all-out attacking game causing the home defence all sorts of problems.
Vodacom Bulls 33 (19) — Tries: Sbu Nkosi, Cornal Hendricks, Zak Burger, Johan Grobbelaar, Francois Klopper. Conversions: Chris Smith (4).
DHL Western Province 41 (18) — Tries: Paul de Wet, Kade Wolhuter, Ruhan Nel, Clayton Blommetjies. Conversions: Wolhuter (3). Penalties: Wolhuter (5).
Free-scoring Hartzenberg stars for Toyota Cheetahs in Welkom
The Toyota Cheetahs beat the NovaVit Griffons 52-12, with the men from Bloemfontein scoring eight times and preventing their opponents from crossing the try-line, while they also registered four penalty goals.
Left wing Munier Hartzenberg scored four tries, three of those coming in an impressive first-half display. Hawies Fourie’s outfit led 40-6 at halftime after crossing the whitewash six times.
The purple jerseys gave a far better defensive display in the second half and restricted the more experienced Bloemfontein side to just two tries in that period.
Skipper and lock Victor Sekekete marshalled his troops well and also got onto the try-scoring charts, while experienced scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar was once more an influential figure by slotting five conversions.
Scrumhalf Jawinn Juries kicked four penalty goals for the Welkom hosts. The purple jerseys struggled to handle the powerful pack of their neighbours and they have now lost both of their opening games by big margins.
Toyota Cheetahs 52 (40) – Tries: Marko Janse van Rensburg, Friedle Olivier, Munier Hartzenberg (4), Victor Sekekete, Cohen Jasper. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (5), Reinhardt Fortuin.
NovaVit Griffons (6) 12 – Penalty goals: Jaywinn Juries (4).
Second half Windhoek Draught Griquas comeback sinks Cell C Sharks in Kimberley
Windhoek Draught Griquas wiped out an 18-point halftime deficit to defeat the visiting Cell C Sharks 48-40 in their Currie Cup encounter in Kimberley on Sunday afternoon, with Pieter Bergh charges recording their first win of the season after losing to the Toyota Cheetahs in the opening round.
Both sides managed to score six tries, with the hosts awarded a penalty try in addition to the five times they crossed the whitewash.
Four first-half tries gave the Durban outfit a comfortable 28-10 advantage at the break, however, a profitable spell of nine minutes shortly after the restart – which saw the home side scoring three times – turned the tide in favour of the team from the Northern Cape.
They kept the visitors scoreless for almost the entire second half, with two late tries by Dylan Richardson bringing some respectability to the final score. Playing with 14 men for 20 minutes and conceding a host of penalties did not helpe the Cell C Sharks’ cause either.
Flyhalf Lubabalo Dobela had a good game for the home side and impressed with his ball distribution and clever kicking game. He was also impressive off the kicking tee by succeeding with five conversions and two penalty goals.
Windhoek Draught Griquas 48 (14) – Tries: Penalty try, Stephan Smit, Luther Obi, Hanru Sirgel, Johan Mulder, Janco Uys. Conversions: Lubabalo Dobela (5). Penalty goals: Dobela (2).
Cell C Sharks 40 (28) – Tries: Francois Venter, Fez Mbatha, Cameron Wright, Yaw Penxe, Dylan Richardson (2). Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (4), Lionel Cronje.