The iSG Pumas and DHL Western Province remained undefeated in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge after six rounds of pulsating action came to an end at Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele on Sunday, but the manner in which they won this weekend was vastly different
The defending champions totally outplayed Windhoek Draught Welwitschias in Nelspruit and scored 16 tries in a 106-0 win, but the Capetonians needed a late surge to keep their undefeated status as they beat the Toyota Free State Cheetahs XV 37-33 at the Rugby Festival held in Port Elizabeth.
Both iSG Pumas (North Section) and DHL Western Province (South Section) have secured their semi-final spots with a round to go, but who the other two teams will be to join then will only be clear at the conclusion of the final round of fixtures next Sunday after the Rugby Festival at Florida Park in Cape Town.
The ISG Pumas have scored 42 tries so far in the competition, 16 of which came in Nelspruit on Saturday. The defending champions are currently in devastating form and will be tough to beat.
Elsewhere, the Xerox Golden Lions XV kept their North Section semi-final hopes alive with a good 42-15 win over Down Touch Griffons in Johannesburg. The Gauteng side laid the foundation of their win in the first half, when they scored three tries to none.
Thanks to this result, the Xerox Golden Lions XV are on 22 log points and can still overhaul Tafel Lager Griquas (26 log points) in the final round. As luck would have it, the two sides meet at Tafel Lager Park next weekend.
The men from the Northern Cape travelled a short distance north east up the N12 to Leeudoringstad, where they had to overcome a half-time deficit (14-16) to beat the Leopards 31-16 at Leeudoringstad Rugby Club.
The Vodacom Bulls are hitting their straps and scored a solid 47-22 victory (halftime 21-12) win over Valke at Bosman Stadium in Brakpan, but unfortunately they left their charge too late and will not make the play-offs.
With DHL Western Province leading the way, some really entertaining matches highlighted the South Section this year.
A stunning late comeback saw the men from Cape Town retain their unbeaten record as they edged the Toyota Free State XV 37-33 at the SuperSport Rugby Challenge Festival at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon.
In a very entertaining encounter, an impressive performance from the Bloemfonteiners saw them leading DHL WP by 16 points with 14 minutes to play, but a yellow card to Toyota FS Cheetahs XV flank Albertus de Bod proved very costly as the Capetonians scored 17 points before he returned, and added a late penalty goal to seal the comeback.
In the other match at the Rugby Festival, the home town faithful were treated to a somewhat unlikely win for the Multisure EP Elephants over the more fancied Cell C Sharks XV, who had their slim semi-finals hopes dashed. The home side won 27-7 after a strong first half all but confirmed the result.
Another entertaining match was played at Boland Stadium in Wellington on Saturday, where the Boland Cavaliers enhanced their claim to a semi-final spot with a solid 52-16 (halftime 26-6) win over Zimbabwe Academy. They scored eight tries, which secured the bonus point as well.
At 25 log points, they still need to face DHL Western Province next Sunday, while Toyota Free State Cheetahs XV (22 log points) face Border in Bloemfontein.
On Friday evening in George, the SWD Eagles edged the Border Bulldogs by 18-17 in their clash at Outeniqua Park. The Bulldogs had a late penalty attempt at goal to win, but the kick went wide.
A summary of results and scorers are (click on link for match report):
DHL Western Province – Tries: EW Viljoen, Brandon Valentyn, Penalty Try, Tristan Leyds. Conversions: Abner van Reenen (3). Penalties: Abner van Reenen (3).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs XV – Tries: Jasper Wiese, Darren Adonis (2), Gunther Janse van Vuuren, Carel-Jan Coetzee. Conversions: Lubabalo Dobela (4).
Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Michaine Fick (2), Shilton van Wyk, Thurlow Marsh, Jordan Holgate (2), Tapiwa Tsomondo, Valentino Wellman. Conversions: Garrick Mattheus (4), Gavern Skippers, Monty Dumond.
Zimbabwe Academy – Tries: Royal Mwale, Brendon Mandivenga. Penalties: Mandivenga (2).
SWD – Tries: Wayne Wilschut, Anton Smit. Conversion: Gerhard Nortier. Penalties: Nortier, Divan Nel.
Border – Tries – Onke Dubase, Sipho Nofemele. Conversions: Aphiwe Stimele (2). Penalty: Stimele.
Multisure EP Elephants – Tries: Tristan Fourie, Mihlali Mpafi, Martin du Toit. Conversions: Ntabeni Dukisa (3). Penalties: Ntabeni Dukisa (2).
Cell C Sharks XV – Try: Lwazi Mvovo. Conversion: Murray Koster.
Xerox Golden Lions XV – Tries: Pieter Jansen (2), Nathan McBeth, James Venter, Tyreeq February, Jan-Louis la Grange. Conversions: Ruan Combrinck (6).
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Nkosi Nofuma, Dominec Smit, Allistair Mumba.
Leopards – Tries: Tjaart Benadie. Conversion: Schalk Hugo. Penalties: Schalk Hugo (3).
Tafel Lager Griquas – Tries: Conway Pretorius, Chris Smit (2), Ederies Arendse. Conversions: Tinus de Beer (4). Penalty: De Beer.
Valke – Tries: Shane Kirkwood, Thabo Mabuza (2), Juandre Nel. Conversion: Andre du Plessis.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Roelof Smit, Muller Uys (2), Wian van Niekerk, Duncan Matthews (2), Llewellyn Classen. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (5), Fiela Boshoff.
ISG Pumas – Tries: Johann Vermaak, Jean-Paul Lewis (2), Jacobus Marais, Henko Marais (2), Marco Palvie (3), Piet-Louw Strauss, Etienne Taljaard, Phumzile Maqondwana, Hilton Lobberts (2), Giovanne Snyman, Carel du Preez. Conversions: Jacobus Marais (11), Ashlon Davids (2).
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 0.
Leading points’ scorers:
1. Abner van Reenen (DHL Western Province) 79
2. Garrick Mattheus (Boland) 56
3. Chris Smith (iSG Pumas) 54