The SuperSport Rugby Challenge delivered some highly competitive matches in Round Five of the competition, with a number of close results a highlight of the weekend.
Three teams – the Toyota Free State XV, iCOLLEGE Pumas and DHL Western Province – remain undefeated after four matches with the Cape side scoring a 15th consecutive win since the competition started last year.
DHL WP’s 50-3 win over the SWD Eagles at the Bridgton Sports Ground in Oudtshoorn on Sunday drew a curtain on a weekend that saw crucial wins for the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Tafel Lager Griquas as well as five tries by iCOLLEGE Pumas winger, Ruwellyn Isbel.
The former Blitzbok equalled his province’s record for tries in a match by dotting down five times in the iCOLLEGE Pumas 54-7 win over the Hino Valke at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
The home side scored five tries in the second half of the match without allowing the visitors a sniff and looks like the side to beat in the North Section.
In the early match in Oudtshoorn on Sunday, the Vodacom Blue Bulls also scored an important win over the Xerox Golden Lions XV, with a late try by Duncan Matthews securing the 27-20 win.
Scores were tied with a minute to play and Matthews dotted down in a match that looked set to finish in a draw. The men in blue held a 15-10 lead at the break, but credit to the Johannesburg team who kept on attacking. With this win, the Vodacom Blue Bulls moves into second spot on the North Section log, but with another four matches left in each section, no team can rest on their laurels.
The Central Section also proves highly competitive. The Free State side kept their undefeated record intact with a hard-fought 12-10 win over the Cell C Sharks in Bloemfontein on Friday night. The hosts were leading 12-0 at the break and did well to deter the second half onslaught from the Durban side, who scored a converted try and penalty in their fightback.
The other match in this section was just as close. The Down Touch Griffons scored seven tries to five in Kathu on Saturday, but could only convert one in their 38-37 defeat to the Tafel Lager Griquas. A late penalty by Andre Swarts delivered the knockout blow and the win in the final stages of the match.
With DHL WP looking set to top the South Section, the close, but deserving 40-37 win the Boland Cavaliers scored against the EP Elephants in Montagu could prove decisive, as they have now secured second spot on the log. That said, the next month would again deliver some standout rugby with very few guarantees in any of the remaining 30 matches.
Three highly successful Rugby Festivals, at Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele, Impala Rugby Club in Rustenburg and today’s at the Bridgton Sports Ground in Oudtshoorn, where 13 000 attended, have also introduced a new generation of future stars to new audiences halfway through the competitions.
Results and scorers from Round 5:
Toyota Free State XV 12 (12), Cell C Sharks XV 10 (0).
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Tertius Kruger, Reinach Venter. Conversion: Ernst Stapelberg.
Cell C Sharks XV – Try: Tera Mtembu. Conversion: Danrich Visagie. Penalty: Visagie.
Tafel Lager Griquas 38 (21), Down Touch Griffons 37 (20).
Tafel Lager Griquas – Tries: AJ Coertzen, Kyle Steyn (2), Christopher Bosch, Jonathan Janse van Rensburg. Conversions: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (3), Andre Swarts (2). Penalty: Andre Swarts.
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Cody Basson (2), Shirwin Cupido, Neil Claassen, Rodney Damons (2), Vincent Maruping. Conversion: Jaun Kotze
iCOLLEGE Pumas 54 (19), Hino Valke 7 (7).
iCOLLEGE Pumas – Tries: Marko Janse van Rensburg, Ruwellyn Isbell (5), Hennie Skorbinski, JP Lewis. Conversions: Chris Smith (6), Justin van Staden.
Hino Valke – Try: Anrich Richter. Conversion: Andrew van Wyk.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 27 (15), Xerox Golden Lions 20 (10).
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Boom Prinsloo, Jamba Ulengo, Johan Grobbelaar, Duncan Matthews. Conversions: Earll Douwrie, Francois Brummer. Penalties: Earll Douwrie
Xerox Golden Lions XV- Tries: Vincent Tshituka, Siya Masuku, Conversions: Jeanluc Cilliers, Siya Masuku. Penalties: Jeanluc Cilliers (2)
Boland Cavaliers 40 (26), EP Elephants 37 (20)
Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Rhinus Bothma, Valentino Wellman (2), Charles Mayeza, Rayno Benjamin, Kenan Cronje. Conversions: Elgar Watts (4), Adriaan Carelse.
EP Elephants – Tries: Johan van Wyk, Xander Vos, Zingisa April, Henry Brown. Conversions: Ruben de Vos (4). Penalties: Ruben de Vos (3).
SWD Eagles 3 (3), DHL Western Province 50 (15)
SWD Eagles – Penalty: Leighton Eksteen.
DHL Western Province – Tries: Craig Barry (2), Duncan Saal, Jaco Coetzee, Justin Philips, Joshua Stander, Steff de Wit, Brendon Esterhuizen, Conversions: Joshua Stander (5).
Log standings after Round Five:
- iCollege Pumas 19
- Vodacom Blue Bulls 15
- Xerox Golden Lions 12
- Hino Valke 6
- Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 1
- Toyota Free State XV 19
- Tafel Lager Griquas 17
- Cell C Sharks XV 12
- Down Touch Griffons 9
- Leopards 1
- DHL Western Province 19
- Boland Cavaliers 16
- SWD 10
- Border Bulldogs 4
- Eastern Province 3
- Earll Douwrie (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 53
- Shaun Reynolds (Xerox Golden Lions XV) 53
- Chris Smith (iCOLLEGE Pumas) 48
- Enver Brandt (Tafel Lager Griquas) 7
- Tertius Kruger (Toyota Free State XV)/Duncan Saal (DHL Western Province/Ruwellyn Isbell (iCOLLEGE Pumas) 6