The SuperSport Rugby Challenge exploded back onto rugby fields all across Southern Africa this weekend, with a number of teams showing great intent early in the competition.
The iSG Pumas started the defence of their title on a winning note in Nelspruit when they beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Friday, starting a weekend that saw a deluge of tries and new stars emerging in this exciting competition.
The home sides held sway in all matches, except in Namibia, where the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias found the visiting Xerox Golden Lions XV too strong, while both Tafel Lager Griquas and DHL Western Province scored more than 50 points in their victories.
The Border Bulldogs also showed remarkable composure following their late entry in the competition and gave debutants in the tournament, the Zimbabwe Academy, a real wake-up call on the standard of play in the competition.
Toyota Free State XV winger Jamba Ulengo scored a hat-trick in their win over the Cell C Sharks XV in Bloemfontein to lead the try scoring stakes.
DHL Western Province flyhalf Abner van Reenen, who scored 18 points for his team in their win over SWD Eagles, is the leading points’ scorer after round one, followed by JT Jackson (Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Aphiwe Stemele (Border), who both scored 16 points for their teams.
Tafel Lager Griquas 52 (28), Valke 10 (5)
Tafel Lager Griquas – Tries: Wendal Wehr (2), Sias Koen, Conway Pretorius, Ederies Arendse (2), Enver Brandt, Grant Hermanus. Conversions: George Whitehead (5), Tinus de Beer.
Valke – Tries: Friedle Olivier, Coert Cronje.
Down Touch Griffons 34 (14), Leopards 27 (12)
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Ezrick Alexander (2), Domenic Smit, Duncan van Vuuren, Jean Pretorius. Conversions: Jaywinn Juries (3). Penalty: Neill Stannard.
Leopards – Tries: Reuben du Plooy (2), Keagan Tait, Edmund Rheeder. Conversions: Siyabonga Masuku (2). Penalty: Masuku.
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 23 (3), Xerox Golden Lions XV 40 (14)
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias – Tries: Jan Booysen, JC Winkler. Conversions: PJ Steenkamp (2). Penalties: Steenkamp (2). Drop Goal: Cliven Loubser.
Xerox Golden Lions XV – Tries: PJ Botha, Chergin Fillies, Ruben Schoeman, Stean Pienaar, Yangu Hlalu (2). Conversions: Jeanluc Cilliers (5).
iSG Pumas 29 (7), Vodacom Blue Bulls 21 (9)
iSG Pumas – Tries: Devon Williams, Willie Engelbrecht, Francois Kleinhans, Alwayno Visagie. Conversions: Chris Smith (3). Penalty: Smith.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: JT Jackson, Cornal Hendricks. Conversion: Jackson. Penalties: Jackson (3).
Boland 34 (17), EP Elephants 6 (6)
Boland – Tries: Patrick O’Brien, Ricardo Duarttee, Andries Viljoen, Wikus Groenewald. Conversions: Garrick Mattheus (2), Joshua Vermeulen (2). Penalties: Mattheus (2).
EP Elephants – Penalties: Richman Gora (2).
Toyota Free State XV 40 (14), Cell C Sharks XV 31 (28)
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Jamba Ulengo (3), Janus Venter, Dian Badenhorst, Carel Coetzee. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (4), Tapiwa Mafura.
Cell C Sharks XV – Tries: Leolin Zass (2), Rhyno Smith, Penalty Try. Conversions: Smith (3). Drop Goal: Smith.
Border 41 (19), Zimbabwe Academy 16 (16)
Border – Tries: Sipho Nofemele (2), Bangi Kobese, Lubabalo Lento, Onke Dubase, Aphiwe Stemele. Conversions: Aphiwe Stemele (4). Penalty goal: Stemele.
Zimbabwe Academy – Try: Brian Nyaude. Conversion: Brendon Mandivenga. Penalties: Mandivenga (3).
DHL Western Province 62 (24), SWD Eagles 7 (7)
DHL Western Province – Tries: Edwill van der Merwe (2), Nico Leonard, Dan Jooste, Abner van Reenen, Sihle Njezula, EW Viljoen, Johan du Toit, Craig Berry. Conversions: Abner van Reenen (5), Lyle Hendricks (2). Penalty: Van Reenen.
SWD Eagles – Try: Marquit September. Conversions: Gerhard Nortier (1).