Tafel Lager Griquas on Saturday claimed their second big scalp in a week as they handed defending Currie Cup champions, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, their first defeat of the season after toppling DHL Western Province on Wednesday to ensure that no sides remained unbeaten after the fifth round.
In a thrilling day of Currie Cup rugby – proudly sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua – Tafel Lager Griquas ended the Toyota Free State Cheetahs three-match winning run as they registered a 30-25 victory In Bloemfontein, while a strong first half by DHL Western Province was enough to secure a 45-34 victory against the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Cape Town, and a red card for the Xerox Golden Lions triggered their 47-31 defeat against the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg.
A late try by Tafel Lager Griquas replacement lock De Wet Kruger, who scored two of his team’s three tries, allowed the Kimberley side to topple the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.
The defending champions dominated the first half as they scored two tries and limited the visitors to two penalty goals for a 17-6 lead, but Tafel Lager Griquas found their rhythm in the second half and scored three tries to match that of the hosts. Their three penalty goals and three conversions, however, handed them the edge on the scoreboard. The victory marked the Kimberley side’s second win a row after opening their campaign with three defeats.
DHL Western Province, meanwhile, survived a determined fightback by the Vodacom Blue Bulls to register a 45-34 victory at DHL Newlands in Cape Town. The home team ran riot on the attack in the first half and scored six tries, while they supported this with a solid defensive effort to limit the visitors to a converted try and two penalty goals for a 42-13 halftime lead.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls dominated the second half with back-to-back tries by Kefentse Mahlo and another by Junior Springbok hooker Johan Grobbelaar, while they managed to reduce the hosts to scoring only a penalty goal in the second half. Unfortunately for the North Gautengers, however, a number of missed opportunities cost them from inflating their score.
A red card for Xerox Golden Lions hooker Robbie Coetzee in the 51st minute of their clash against the Cell C Sharks cost them heavily as they went down 47-31 in Johannesburg. In a strong first-half showing the hosts earned their bonus point try in the 29th minute for a 24-0 lead as they dominated possession and capitalized on their chances, while the KwaZulu-Natalians snuck through on the stroke of half-time for their first points of the match.
The Xerox Golden Lions added another try shortly after the break, with the Cell C Sharks crossing the line for their second try minutes later, which concluded with Coetzee’s boot making contact with a player’s face. With the hosts reduced to 14 men for the rest of the match, the Cell C Sharks took control of the match and scored five unanswered tries to secure a 47-31 victory.
Currie Cup round five results and scorers:
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Niell Jordaan (2), Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Ryno Eksteen (2). Penalty Goals: Ryno Eksteen, Clayton Blommetjies.
Tafel Lager Griquas – Tries: Andre Swarts, De Wet Kruger (2). Conversions: Andre Swarts (2), George Whitehead. Penalty Goals: Andre Swarts (2), George Whitehead.
DHL Western Province – Tries Seabelo Senatla (2), Nizaam Carr, Damian Willemse, SP Marais, Scarra Ntubeni. Conversions: SP Marais (6). Penalty Goal: SP Marais.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Kefentse Mahlo (2), Piet van Zyl, Johan Grobbelaar. Conversions: Tony Jantjies (4). Penalty Goals: Tony Jantjies (2).
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, Jacques Nel, Anthony Volmink, Marco Janse van Vuren, Fabian Booysen. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt (3).
Cell C Sharks – Tera Mtembu, Jacques Vermeulen, Penalty Try, Louis Schreuder, John-Hubert Meyer, Keegan Daniel. Conversions: Garth April (6).