The Toyota Free State Cheetahs sent out a strong warning that even though they are lingering in fourth position on the Absa Currie Cup log, they have what it takes to run with the front runners.
And the Vodacom Blue Bulls showed that they are not to be written off, yet.
The Free Staters were sublime as they dismantled The Sharks by 53-32 in Bloemfontein, after which the Blue Bulls got back to winning ways when the beat DHL Western Province by 28-20 in a hard-fought match in Pretoria.
The Ford Pumas scored their first victory of the season in a nail-biter against GWK Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday by 34-31.
Earlier, on Friday evening, the MTN Golden Lions won their ninth game of the season against the Platinum Leopards in Potchefstroom (43-23). They have opened up a 10-point lead at the top of the standings and look set to clinch a home semi-final.
In the Absa Currie Cup First Division, the Tasol Solar Griffons moved up to third on the log when they beat the SWD Eagles in George on Friday evening, while the EP Kings kept their unbeaten record intact against the Valke in Port Elizabeth.
Platinum Leopards 23 (9) MTN Golden Lions 43 (21)
The MTN Golden Lions were too strong for the Platinum Leopards and easily won the first Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match of the weekend by 43-23 at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom on Friday evening.
Hard-working flanker Derick Minnie scored two of the Golden Lions’ six tries, while Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) converted five of the tries and added one penalty goal for a personal tally of 13 points. Jantjies moved up into second place on the points’ scorers list, passing injured DHL WP flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis.
It probably wasn’t the team from Johannesburg’s best performance of the 2011-season, but they still looked very dangerous when they flung the ball wide. However, that didn’t happen nearly enough in this game, mostly because of unnecessary errors by the visitors.
The Leopards scored both their tries – by Johann Laker and Gavin Williamson – in the final five minutes of the match, giving their score a bit more respectability.
Platinum Leopards – Tries: Johann Laker, Gavin Williamson. Conversions: Clayton Durand (2). Penalties: Wesley Dunlop (3).
MTN Golden Lions – Tries: Derick Minnie (2), Jaco Taute, Pat Cilliers, Michael Killian, Johan Snyman. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5). Penalty: Jantjies.
Platinum Leopards: 15 Hoffmann Maritz, 14 Charl Weideman, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Vainon Willis, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Whestley Moolman, 8 Juan Pretorius, 7 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 6 Robert Kruger, 5 Roan van Heerden, 4 Brendon Snyman, 3 Stephan Bezuidenhout, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1 BG Uys. Replacements: 16 Stoffel Duvenhage, 17 Dewald Coetzee, 18 Bêrend Botha, 19 Philip de Wet, 20 Johann Laker, 21 Clayton Durand, 22 George Tossel.
MTN Golden Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Johan Snyman, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Rudi Paige, 21 Burton Francis, 22 James Kamana.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 53 (23) The Sharks 32 (18)
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs delivered arguably their best performance of the season when they crushed the defending Absa Currie Cup champions, The Sharks, by 53-32 at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.
It was a complete performance by the Cheetahs, who scored five tries to the KwaZulu-Natalians’ four. The big difference between the two sides though was the performance of SA Under-20 flyhalf Johan Goosen, who was in sublime form as he contributed 29 points to the home team’s cause.
Goosen, who was still at school last year, scored a try, kicked five penalty goals, three conversions and a dropped goal before he left the field injured with 15 minutes to go.
Where the Cheetahs played with intent on attack and defence, The Sharks struggled with their tackling and made way too many unforced errors. Their discipline was also not at its best.
When replacement lock Jandre Marais was sent to the sin bin in the 61st minute for a dangerous tackle, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs scored two converted tries to open up a handy lead on the score board. After that, The Sharks’ challenge was effectively over.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Johan Goosen, Pieter Labuschagne (2), Ashley Johnson, Tewis de Bruyn. Consversions: Goosen (3), Sias Ebersohn (2). Penalties: Goosen (5). Drop goal: Goosen.
The Sharks – Tries: Stefan Terblanche, Lwazi Mvovo, Jacques Botes (2). Conversions: Fred Michalak (2), Meyer Bosman. Penalties: Michalak (2).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe. Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Andries Strauss.
The Sharks: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Eugene van Staden, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick. Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Louis Ludik.
GWK Griquas 31 (7) Ford Pumas 34 (9)
The Ford Pumas finally recorded their first victory of the 2011-season when they beat GWK Griquas by 34-31 at GWK Park in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon, with a winning try in the dying seconds of the game.
The try started deep in their own half with a tap penalty, followed by good runs by Pellow van der Westhuizen and Dewald Pretorius, and was rounded off by fullback Carl Bezuidenhout, moments after the home team’s Riaan Viljoen scored for his team to put them ahead with four minutes left in the game.
It was just-reward for the Pumas, who scored bonus points for losing with seven or less points in four of their nine defeats this year.
Van der Westhuizen also scored one of the Ford Pumas’ four tries, with Ricardo Croy and Hendrik van der Nest also crossing for the visitors. Seven of the eight tries scored on the day came in the second half when both teams weren’t shy of playing attractive, attacking rugby.
GWK Griquas – Tries: Rocco Jansen, Marnus Schoeman (2), Riaan Viljoen. Conversions: Earl Rose, Rudi Vogt (3). Penalty: Rose.
Ford Pumas – Tries: Ricardo Croy, Hendrik van der Nest, Pellow van der Westhuizen, Carl Bezuidenhout. Conversion: Bezuidenhout. Penalties: Bezuidenhout, Croy (3).
GWK Griquas: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Hanno Coetzee, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Earl Rose, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jonathan Mokuena (captain), 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Ivann Espag. Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Steph Roberts, 18 Leon Karemaker, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Matthew Rosslee, 22 Rudi Vogt.
Ford Pumas: 15 MJ Mentz, 14 Johan Jackson, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Siviwe Magaba, 11 Wilhelm Looch, 10 Ricardo Croy, 9 Hendrik van der Nest, 8 Christo le Roux, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corné Steenkamp (captain), 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Matthee, 3 Brett Nel, 2 Pellow van der Westhuizen, 1 Dawie Steyn. Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Michael de Neuilly-Rice, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 JP Mostert, 20 Carl Bezuidenhout, 21 Dewald Pretorius, 22 Deon Scholtz.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 28 (20) DHL Western Province 20 (3)
The Vodacom Blue Bulls won their first game in almost a month and kept their semi-final aspirations alive when they beat DHL Western Province in an action-packed Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
Two converted tries in the first half, by CJ Stander and Zane Kirchner, and two penalty goals by Francois Brummer, who came into the side for Louis Fouché at flyhalf, helped the Blue Bulls to a handy 20-3 lead, even though they lost two of their most experienced backs, Jano Vermaak and Akona Ndungane, to injuries in the first half hour.
DHL Western Province came back strongly after the break and scored three tries as they chased the game, but the home team’s 17-point buffer at the break was always going to difficult to bridge.
The team from Cape Town managed to close the gap to just eight points with tries by Danie Poolman and Marcel Brache, but when Wynand Olivier went over with 10 minutes to go, the Blue Bulls opened it up to 13 points again. Siya Kolisi scored a late try for DHL WP.
The game was played at a very high tempo, epitomised by the five minutes of breathless rugby after the hooter had sounded as both teams searched for a fourth try (and in WP’s case, a second bonus point for getting to within seven points of the hosts).
Despite the result, both teams stayed where they were on the Absa Currie Cup log – the Vodacom Blue Bulls in sixth position, now only one point behind GWK Griquas, and DHL WP second, 10 points behind the MTN Golden Lions.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: CJ Stander, Zane Kirchner, Wynand Olivier. Conversions: Francois Brummer (2). Penalties: Brummer (2).
DHL Western Province – Tries: Danie Poolman, Marcel Brache, Siya Kolisi. Conversion: Isma-eel Dollie. Penalty: Dollie.
Vodacom Blue Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Frans Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha (captain), 1 Dean Greyling. Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Dustin Jinka, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Jurgen Visser.
DHL Western Province: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Isma-eel Dollie, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nick Köster, 7 Tertius Daniller, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg (captain), 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Nizaam Carr, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Quinn Roux, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Berton Klaasen.
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Log
|1||MTN Golden Lions||10||9||0||1||358||226||132||42||22||6||42|
|2||DHL Western Province||10||6||1||3||311||214||97||33||19||6||32|
|4||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||10||5||1||4||381||237||144||43||23||8||30|
|6||Vodacom Blue Bulls||10||5||1||4||248||269||-21||26||27||2||24|
Absa Currie Cup First Division
After a great victory at Outeniqua Park in George, the Tasol Solar Griffons moved into third position on the Absa Currie Cup First Division log.
The Griffons beat the SWD Eagles by 39-27 on Friday night. It was only their second victory in nine matches this season, but they have scored a handy bunch of bonus points that saw them pass the Eagles on the log.
Nicky Steyn (No Eight) and Japie Nel (inside centre) both scored a brace of tries for the winning side, with Tiaan van Wyk (flyhalf) adding 16 points with the boot.
Down the road in Port Elizabeth, the EP Kings ran in six tries as they remained the only unbeaten team in the Absa Currie Cup when they beat the Valke by 40-10 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The Kings are now six points clear of the second-placed Regent Boland Cavaliers, who had a bye this weekend and have played one fewer game than the Kings. The two top sides in the First Division play each other in Wellington on Friday.
SWD Eagles 27 (20) Tasol Solar Griffons 39 (23)
SWD Eagles – Tries: Dumisane Meslane, Jeff Taljard, Howard Noble. Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (3). Penalties: Van Vuuren (2).
Tasol Solar Griffons – Tries: Nicky Steyn (2), Japie Nel (2). Conversions: Tiaan van Wyk (2). Penalties: Van Wyk (4), Valentine van Wyk.
EP Kings 40 (21) Valke 10 (3)
EP Kings – Tries: Marcello Sampson (2), Luke Watson, Ross Kennedy, Jacques Coetzee, Bobby Dyer. Conversions: Louis Strydom (4), George Whitehead.
Valke – Try: Johan de Bruin. Conversion: Juan Kotze. Penalty: Kotze.
Absa Currie Cup First Division Log
|1||Eastern Province Kings||9||9||0||0||388||187||201||54||22||6||42|
|2||Regent Boland Cavaliers||8||7||0||1||371||148||223||49||19||8||36|
|3||Tasol Solar Griffons||9||2||0||7||259||341||-82||31||46||9||17|