Thrilling wins for Leopards, Griffons and Eagles in Absa Cup First Division

Sep 20 • General News • 1393 Views • Comments Off on Thrilling wins for Leopards, Griffons and Eagles in Absa Cup First Division

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The penultimate round of league fixtures served up some thrilling Absa Currie Cup First Division rugby action on Saturday afternoon.


There was a last gasp win for the Leopards over the Border Bulldogs, the Down Touch Griffons stormed back in the second half to clinch an impressive comeback victory over the Hino Valke, while the SWD Eagles easily outplayed hosts Boland Cavaliers.


In Potchefstroom, Leopards replacement back utility Meel Engelbrecht landed a penalty two minutes from time to sink Border 32-30 after leading 21-3 at halftime.


The Down Touch Griffons turned in a superb second-half performance, during which they scored four tries, to defeat the Hino Valke 30-21 after trailing 5-21 at halftime in Welkom.


A dominant first half which produced six tries steered the SWD Eagles to a comprehensive 57-14 win over the Boland Cavaliers 57-14 in Wellington. The Eagles ran in nine tries in total and led 40-0 at halftime.


Leopards are assured of a home semi-final thanks to their unbeaten run of nine wins and 45 points. They are followed by the Griffons (27), Valke (24) and SWD (22). Boland (13) and Border (7) are not in contention for the playoffs.


The final round of round-robin fixtures next Saturday sees SWD playing home against the Griffons, Border host Boland while Leopards travel to the Valke.


Leopards (21) 32 Border Bulldogs (3) 30


The Leopards dominated the first half with three tries through fullback Jaco Basson, flyhalf Schalk Hugo and lock Francois Robertse, while Border could only reply with a single penalty from flyhalf Oliver Zono. However, a late second half rally from the visitors ensured a tight and nervous finale to the game, but Engelbrecht held his nerve to deny Border, who are bottom of the log and at the same time ensure that his side remained unbeaten.


Border began the second stanza strongly and were awarded a penalty two minutes after the restart which fullback Logan Basson slotted with ease. But the hosts were not done as replacement prop Johan Smith stretched himself over the line in the corner for the home side’s bonus-point try. With just 20 minutes remaining and the visitors trailing by 20 points, Border started fightback. Zono lead the comeback with a great solo try, which he himself converted. Just five minutes later Siphosethu Tom also stormed over the line for their second try.


The Bulldogs then gave the home crowd something to worry about when left wing Makazole Mapimpi dived over for their third try. Zono slotted the conversion to hand the visitors a slender one-point advantage. Engelbrecht and Zono then traded penalties before Engelbrecht broke the hearts of the visitors with his second penalty of the afternoon.



Leopards – Tries: Jaco Jordaan, Schalk Hugo, Francois Robertse, Johan Smith; Conversions: Hugo (2), Jordaan; Penalties: Meel Engelbrecht (2).

Border – Tries: Oliver Zono, Siphosethu Tom, Makazole Mapimpi; Conversions: Zono (3); Penalties: Zono (2), Logan Basson.


Down Touch Griffons (5) 30 Hino Valke (21) 21


Loosehead prop Danie van der Merwe and flank Vincent Maruping both scored a brace of tries as the hosts turned in a superb second-half performance to fend off a determined challenge from the Valke, with the Griffons running in five tries to three.


The Valke, despite going down to an early try from Van der Merwe, had by far the better of the first half as they raced to a 21-5 halftime lead. Tries from left wing Etienne Taljaard, scrumhalf Trompie Pretorius and flank JP Mostert gave the visitors a comfortable lead.


The Griffons hit their straps in the second half as two tries from Maruping, Van der Merwe and replacement Coenie Van Wyk saw them take the lead before fullback Nico Scheepers stepped up to slot a late penalty kick.



Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Danie Van der Merwe (2), Vincent Maruping (2), Coenie Van Wyk; Conversion: Nico Scheepers; Penalty: Scheepers.

Hino Valke – Tries: Etienne Taljaard, Trompie Pretorius, JP Mostert; Conversions: Jaun Kotze (3)


Boland Cavaliers 14 (0) SWD Eagles (40) 57


Winger Carlo Radebe and center Brian Skosana both netted hat-trick of tries as the Eagles ran in nine tries to claim their fourth win of the competition. Leading 40-0 at the break, the visitors then took their foot of the gas after the restart.


Skosana scored the first of his three tries in the 24th minute, followed by Radebe and then center Luzuko Vulindlu also dotted down. The duo of Skosana and Radebe scored again before halftime. Flyhalf Leighton Eksteen kicked five out of six conversions to give the Eagles a 40-0 lead.


Eagles prop Pieter Stemmet stormed over shortly after the restart, and it took Boland all of 50 minutes to get their first points on the board though a Danwel Demas (wing) converted try. Flanker Keanan Cronje followed him ten minutes later over the line, with Eric Zana converting. Skosana and Radebe then completed their individual hat-tricks, while replacement Thomas Kean kicked one conversion.



SWD Eagles – Tries: Alshaun Bock, Brian Skosana (3), Carlo Radebe (3), Luzuku Vulindlu, Pieter Stemmet; Conversions: Leighton Eksteen (5), Thomas Kean.

Boland – Tries: Danwel Demas, Keanan Cronje; Conversions: Eric Zana (2).


The current Absa Currie Cup First Division league table:


Leopards 9 9 0 0 395 176 219 56 21 0 9 45
Down Touch Griffons 9 5 4 0 308 279 29 44 39 1 6 27
Hino Valke 9 5 4 0 277 242 35 40 31 1 3 24
SWD Eagles 9 4 4 1 242 219 23 29 29 3 1 22
Boland 9 2 6 1 183 391 -208 25 55 1 2 13
Border 9 1 8 0 167 265 -98 17 36 3 0 7


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