SuperSport Rugby Challenge – Round Four Review: Toyota Free State XV, iCOLLEGE Pumas keep clean slate
Another highly successful SuperSport Rugby Challenge Rugby Festival concluded a hugely exciting weekend of rugby action, with one previously undefeated teams tasting defeat at Impala Rugby Club in Rustenburg on Sunday.
Tafel Lager Griquas was pipped 32-31 by the Toyota Free State XV on Sunday, leaving the Bloemfontein side, along with iCOLLEGE Pumas and DHL Western Province as the only sides without a loss after four rounds of action.
DHL Western Province had a bye, while the Nelspruit team travelled to Namibia, where they kept their winning run intact.
The Free State side almost let their strong first half effort slip away from them. They raced into a 24-0 lead at the break, but a determined fight-back by the Tafel Lager Griquas almost snatched the win away from their neighbours.
The men from Kimberley scored 31 points in the second half as their attack finally found some rhythm. They outscored the Free State side with five tries to four, but with their last try unconverted, fell just a point short to pull off a memorable win.
In the second match of the day, also in the Central Section, the Leopards and Cell C Sharks XV entertained the good crowd with some great running rugby, resulting in 13 tries.
The visitors scored three quick tries in succession to race into a 17-0 before they match evened out in the remainder of the half. The Cell C Sharks XV scored two more tries before the break, as did the Leopards, who trailed 14-29 after the first half.
The second half had the crowd on the edge of their seats, but the Cell C Sharks XV used their opportunities better and pulled away from a gutsy Leopards team.
Action started on Friday in the South Section, where the Border Bulldogs pulled off a 22-17 win over the EP Elephants. This means that only the Port Elizabeth side in that section has not scored a win.
The Boland Cavaliers handed SWD Eagles their first defeat in Wellington on Saturday.
The Cavaliers won 37-12 (halftime 19-7) at the Boland Stadium and scored no less than six tries on their way to a solid win. The Eagles tasted defeat for the first time and will have to find a way to up their defensive effort if they want to get back on the winning trail again.
For Boland, who took DHL Western Province to the brink of a defeat last week, the continued improvement will please players and coaches alike.
The North Section saw another win for the iCOLLEGE Pumas, this time beating the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias in Windhoek.
They scored no less than seven tries (and a penalty try) to ease into a 54-12 win in the Hage Geingob Stadium. Both debutants, Heino Marais and Jeandre Rudolph dotted down for the Nelspruit team.
In the other match in the North Section, the Xerox Golden Lions had too much pace and class for the Hino Valke. They ran in 10 tries to outplay the Hino Valke 68-12 (halftime 26-5) at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Saturday. Xerox Golden Lions XV fylhalf Shaun Reynolds helped himself to 27 points and scored a hat trick and six conversions.
Results and scorers from Round 4:
Border Bulldogs 22 (3) v EP Elephants 17 (10)
Border Bulldogs – Tries: Siphosenkosi Nofemele (2), Lelethu Gcilitshane. Conversions: Bangihlombe Kobese (2). Penalty: Bangihlombe Kobese.
EP Elephants – Tries: Siya Grey, J P Smith. Conversions: Ruben de Vos (2). Drop goal: Ruben de Vos.
Boland Cavaliers 37 (19), SWD Eagles 12 (7)
Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Jovelian de Koker, Edwin Sass (2), Zandré Jordaan, Valentino Wellman, Sergio Torrens. Conversions: Elgar Watts (2). Penalty: Jacquin Jansen.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Leighton Eksteen, Marlo van Niekerk. Conversion: Leighton Eksteen.
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 12 (12), iCOLLEGE Pumas 54 (33)
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias – Tries: Pieter Steenkamp (2). Conversion: Pieter Steenkamp.
iCOLLEGE Pumas – Tries: Jeandre Rudolph, Ruwellyn Isbell, Cameron Lindsay, Henko Marais, JP Lewis, Abrie Griesel, Hugo Kloppers, Penalty Try. Conversions: Justin van Staden (6).
Hino Valke 12 (5), Xerox Golden Lions XV 68 (26)
Hino Valke – Tries: N/A. Conversion: N/A.
Xerox Golden Lions XV – Tries: Shaun Reynolds (3), Jan-Louis la Grange (2), James Venter (2), Jeanluc Cilliers, Corné Fourie, Vincent Tshituka. Conversions: Reynolds (6), Siya Masuku (3).
Tafel Lager Griquas 31 (0), Toyota Free State XV 32 (24)
Tafel Lager Griquas – Tries: Conway Pretorius, Enver Brandt, Pieter Jansen van Vuuren, Kyle Steyn (2). Conversions: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (3).
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Tertius Kruger, Gerhard Oliver, Ernst Stapelberg, Alrich Coetzee. Conversions: Stapelberg (3). Penalty: Stapelberg (2).
Leopards 28 (14), Cell C Sharks XV 57 (29)
Leopards – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Gene Willemse, Bradley Moolman, Justin Newman, Conversions: Schalk Hugo (3), DP de Lange.
Cell C Sharks XV – Tries: Grant Williams, Aphelele Fassi (2), Leolin Zass, Hyron Andrews, Courtney Winnaar, Johan Deysel , Tristan Blewett, Tera Mtembu. Conversions: Garth April (5),Danrich Visagie
Byes: Vodacom Blue Bulls (North), DHL Western Province (South), Down Touch Griffons (Central).