The Cell C Sharks will host the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Durban and DHL Western Province will take on the Xerox Golden Lions in Cape Town in the Currie Cup Premier Division semi-finals – sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua – next weekend following a gripping final pool round loaded with permutations.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls kicked off the round on Friday with a convincing 52-32 victory against the Steval Pumas to force their way into the top four, while DHL Western Province defeated log-leaders, the Cell C Sharks, 31-20 to secure the second home semi-final.
The round concluded with the Xerox Golden Lions beating the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 44-17 to snatch the last semi-final spot up for grabs.
The Cell C Sharks entered the match in Durban knowing that as the top team on the log they were guaranteed a home semi-final regardless of the result, and despite this, they built a solid foundation in the first half against DHL Western Province to take a 13-3 lead at the break.
Four tries in 17 minutes by the visitors, however, steered the Capetonians to a bonus-point 31-20 victory and an invaluable home semi-final, with flyhalf Robert du Preez’s contribution of 21 points thanks to his two tries, four conversions and penalty goal proving to be instrumental.
Du Preez scored two tries within six minutes to trigger a dramatic comeback by the Cape side, which they backed up with tries by Dewaldt Duvenage and JD Schickerling. They supported this impressive attacking display with a solid defensive effort, which saw the home team’s only points after the break being a late try.
The Xerox Golden Lions, in turn, overcame a tightly-fought first half against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Johannesburg in which they held a narrow 13-10 lead before breaking away for a rewarding 44-17 win.
Each side scored one first-half try, but the hosts dominated the second half as they found their rhythm on attack, which saw them cross the chalk four more times, while the visitors only managed to add a converted try to their total for the match. The resulting win saw the Johannesburg team through to the semi-finals, while it ended the Toyota Free State Cheetahs’ campaign.
In Pretoria on Friday, the Vodacom Blue Bulls did everything they could to keep alive their semi-final hopes as they ran in an impressive eight tries in a dominant display against the Steval Pumas for a 52-32 victory.
In a constructive first half, the hosts scored four tries to secure their bonus point, while their effective defence limited the visitors to one try and two penalty goals, for a 26-13 lead.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls built on this in the second half by adding another four tries, while the visitors fought back to score three, which guided the home team to a convincing 20 point victory.
This result pushed them into third place temporarily on the log tied on 32 points with DHL Western Province, and their fate was sealed on Saturday as they finished in fourth place.
|Top point scorers after Round 14|
|George Whitehead (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 96|
|Kobus Marais (Steval Pumas) – 77|
|Jaco van der Walt (Xerox Golden Lions) – 77|
|Curwin Bosch (Cell C Sharks) – 65|
|Robert du Preez (DHL Western Province) – 64|
|Tony Jantjies (Vodacom Blue Bulls) – 64|
|Top try scorers after Round 14|
|Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls) – 10|
|Seabelo Senatla (DHL Western Province) – 9|
|Sbusiso Nkosi (Cell C Sharks ) – 8|
|Ederies Arendse (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 7|
|Makazole Mapimpi (Toyota Free State Cheetahs) – 7|
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Cyle Brink, Kwagga Smith, Courtnall Skosan (2), Robert Kruger. Conversions: Jaco Van der Walt (4), Andries Coetzee. Penalty Goals: Jaco Van der Walt (3).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Paul Schoeman, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (2). Penalty Goal: Ernst Stapelberg.
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Marius Louw, Kobus van Wyk. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2). Penalty Goal: Curwin Bosch. Drop Goal: Curwin Bosch.
DHL Western Province – Tries: JD Schickerling, Dewaldt Duvenage, Robert Du Preez (2). Conversions: Robert Du Preez (4). Penalty Goal: Robert Du Preez.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Edgar Marutlulle, Marco Van Staden, Ivan Van Zyl, JT Jackson, Burger Odendaal, Travis Ismaiel (2), Warrick Gelant. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (6).
Steval Pumas – Tries: Jan Stander, Willie Engelbrecht, Selom Gavor, Frankie Herne. Conversions: Kobus Marais (3). Penalty Goals: Kobus Marais (2).