The Currie Cup Premier Division delivered some exciting results in the fourth round, with the Airlink Pumas, Fidelity ADT Lions and Windhoek Draught Griquas all on the winning side, while the NovaVit Griffons recorded a historic victory.
The Airlink Pumas defeated Toyota Cheetahs 61-21 in Bloemfontein to remain the only unbeaten team in the competition this season, while in another Friday encounter the NovaVit Griffons gained their first win since their promotion back to the Premier Division when they defeated the Vodacom Bulls by 32-28 in a lightning-interrupted game in Welkom.
Saturday’s action saw the Fidelity ADT Lions get the better of the Cell C Sharks by 34-22 in Johannesburg, while Windhoek Draught Griquas rounded off the weekend’s action with a 32-13 come-from-behind win over DHL Western Province in Cape Town.
Their victory in Bloemfontein propelled the Airlink Pumas to the top of the Currie Cup standings with four wins from four, while the defeat was the Free Staters’ first in 2023.
The Lowvelders are first on 19 points. They are followed by the Toyota Cheetahs on 15 points, and the Fidelity ADT Lions are third on 13. The Cell C Sharks, DHL WP and Windhoek Draught Griquas all have 10 points, followed by the NovaVit Griffons (five points) and Vodacom Bulls (three).
Two matches were played in the Currie Cup First Division and Mzansi Challenge. The SWD Eagles beat the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias by 31-22 in Windhoek, and the Valke had too much fire-power for the Border Bulldogs, scoring 10 tries in their 64-17 victory in Kempton Park.
NovaVit Griffons claim historic Vodacom Bulls win
The NovaVit Griffons registered a historic 32-28 win over the Vodacom Bulls in a game interrupted by lightning on Friday in Welkom.
In doing to, the purple jerseys not only scored their first win of the competition since they won promotion from the First Division, but they also condemned the men from Pretoria to their fourth successive defeat of the campaign.
The home side raced into a 10-0 advantage but the blue jerseys fought back to lead 21-20 by the halftime break.
Each team eventually scored four tries, with the Vodacom Bulls’ Johan Goosen converting all four, while Jaywinn Juries continued his good scoring form with the boot by succeeding with three conversions plus two vital penalty goals.
Lightning stopped action towards the end, and when they returned a short while later, the Welkom outfit made sure they held on for a famous victory over their illustrious opponents.
NovaVit Griffons 32 (20)
Tries: Soso Xakalashe, JJ Pretorius, Jaco Willemse, Jamba Ulengo.
Conversions: Jaywinn Juries (3).
Penalty goals: Juries (2).
Vodacom Bulls 28 (21)
Tries: Wandisile Simelane, Muller Uys, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Robert Hunt.
Conversions: Johan Goosen (4).
Airlink Pumas outmuscle Toyota Cheetahs to claim top spot
Airlink Pumas fullback Devon William scored a hat-trick of tries as the defending Currie Cup Premier Division champions romped home to a 61-21 win over a depleted Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The holders raced into a 26-7 halftime lead by scoring four times through Diego Appollis, Wian van Niekerk, Eduan Swart and Llewellyn Classen, while pivot Tinus de Beer added three conversions. The hosts’ solo try during that period come from Janus Venter, with Andell Loubser adding the extras.
Williams continued the Lowvelders try-scoring exploits in the second half with an electric hat-trick, with De Beer and Stefan Coetzee also going over.
De Beer kicked more conversions while his replacement, Brandon Thompson, also slotted three. The Bloemfontein team added two converted tries to their score through Roelof Smit and Marcell Muller.
Toyota Cheetahs 21 (7)
Tries: Janus Venter, Roelof Smit, Marcell Muller.
Conversions: Andell Loubser (3).
Airlink Pumas 61 (26)
Tries: Diego Appollis, Wian van Niekerk, Eduan Swart, Llewellyn Classen, Devon Williams (3), Tinus de Beer, Stefan Coetzee.
Conversions: De Beer (5), Brandon Thompson (3).
Fidelity ADT Lions snatch comeback win over Cell C Sharks
The Fidelity ADT Lions overturned a 12-5 halftime deficit to defeat the Cell C Sharks 34-22 in Johannesburg on Saturday for their second win of the season.
Tiaan Swanepoel opened the scoring for the home side just after the quarter-hour mark to give them a 5-0 lead, but that was short-lived as two tries by the Durbanites handed them the lead.
Hooker Fez Mbatha crossed to level the scores at 5-5 when he burrowed his way over and the second was scored by strong running No 8 Thembelani Bholi, with pivot Fred Zeilinga converting to make it 12-5 at halftime.
However, the Highvelders were off to the perfect start in the second half when they were awarded a penalty try, which levelled matters once more at 12-12.
Nippy former Junior Springbok scrumhalf Nico Steyn then dotted down for the first of his two tries, which pivot Vaughen Isaacs converted to edge the hosts 19-12 in front.
Steyn got his second a few minutes later, and although that was not converted it gave them breathing space with the score at 24-12 in their favour. But the KwaZulu-Natal side pulled themselves back to within five points through lanky lock Hyron Andrews’ converted score to make it 24-19.
Four minutes from time Isaacs slotted a penalty goal and with Lionel Cronje doing the same for the visitors, it made for a nervous finish at 27-22. Fortunately for home fans, the Fidelity ADT had the last say as replacement loose forward Ruhan Straeuli crashed over after the siren to seal a vital 34-22 win.
Fidelity ADT Lions 34 (5)
Tries: Tiaan Swanepoel, Penalty try, Nico Steyn (2), Ruhan Straeuli.
Conversions: Vaughen Isaacs (2)
Penalty goal: Isaacs.
Cell C Sharks 22 (12)
Tries: Fez Mbatha, Thembelani Bholi, Hyron Andrews.
Conversions: Fred Zeilinga, Lionel Cronje.
Penalty goal: Cronje.
Windhoek Draught Griquas continue dominance over DHL WP
Windhoek Draught Griquas scored all their points in the second half to defeat DHL Western Province 32-13 at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday evening, with this exciting bonus-point victory handing the men from Kimberley their fifth straight win over their Cape rivals.
Left wing Fazeel Robertson scored for the Capetonians, with flyhalf Kade Wolhuter adding the conversion and slotting two penalty goals to hand the hosts a 13-0 halftime lead.
Two quick scores after the break brought the Northern Cape side right back into the game, and as they grew in confidence, they forced the home team to concede a string of penalties, two of which were sent through the poles by replacement flyhalf George Whitehead as he maintained the scoreboard pressure.
Windhoek Draught Griquas scored through Eddie Fouche (inside centre), Raegen Oranje (right wing), Jay-Cee Nel (outside centre) and Derik Pretorius (lock).
The away win gave the Peacock Blues their second win of the competition after last weekend’s loss to the Airlink Pumas in Nelspruit.
DHL Western Province 13 (13)
Try: Fazeel Robertson.
Conversion: Kade Wolhuter.
Penalty goals: Wolhuter (2).
Windhoek Draught Griquas 32 (0)
Tries: Eddie Fouche, Raegan Oranje, Jay-Cee Nel, Derik Pretorius.
Conversions: George Whitehead (3).
Penalty goals: Whitehead (2).