The only major change to the Premier Division log sees DHL WP finishing the 10th round of the tournament in fourth place. That said, the results of the past weekend have boosted the Cell C Sharks’ cause, as only five log points separate the Toyota Cheetahs in first place and the KwaZulu-Natalians in third.
The Toyota Cheetahs secured two bonus points from their shock loss to the Fidelity Lions in Bloemfontein, while the Airlink Pumas salvaged a log point from their defeat to the Cell Sharks in Nelspruit. However, these two frontrunners no longer enjoy a significant lead at the top of the standings and may well be overtaken in the coming rounds if they don’t pick up the pace.
DHL WP’s bonus-point win against the NovaVit Griffons win Welkom has catapulted them into the top four – although it remains to be seen how long they will remain in that elite bracket. The Fidelity ADT Lions made a statement when they beat the Toyota Cheetahs away from home and are only three log points behind DHL WP.
The Vodacom Bulls recorded a convincing win against Windhoek Draught Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday, but remain in seventh place and five log points behind DHL WP. They may need to keep winning over the final four rounds to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
Three matches were played in the eighth round of the Currie Cup First Division and Mzansi Challenge on Saturday.
Eastern Province held out for a 25-18 win over the Boland Kavaliers in Despatch, while the Leopards beat the San Clemente Rhinos 41-22 in Strand. The Windhoek Draught Welwitschias proved too strong for the Simbas from Kenya, winning 35-28 in the match staged in the Namibian capital.
DHL WP bank bonus point in Welkom
DHL Western Province were made to fight for a 25-21 bonus-point win against the NovaVit Griffons in Welkom on Friday.
The Capetonians dominated the early stages of this game, scoring all 25 of their points – and securing the four-try bonus point – within 50 minutes.
After Kwenzo Blose’s yellow card, however, they leaked a series of tries that compromised their hold on the contest. The hosts scored 21 unanswered points in the subsequent 14 minutes.
Ultimately, DHL WP hung on to secure a five-point victory that is crucial to their campaign for a playoff place. The gutsy NovaVit Griffons collected a deserved bonus point for losing by seven or fewer points.
NovaVit Griffons 21 (0) – Tries: Dommenic Smit, Carel-Jan Coetzee, HP van Schoor. Conversions: Jaywinn Juries (3).
DHL WP 25 (13) – Tries: Jarrod Taylor, André-Hugo Venter, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Thomas Bursey. Conversion: Clayton Blommetjies. Penalty goal: Blommetjies.
Cell C Sharks fire late to down defending champs
Nevaldo Fleurs kicked an 81st-minute conversion to give the Cell C Sharks a 24-22 win over the Airlink Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.
The defending champions led 9-5 at half-time, despite prop Njabulo Gumede’s red card. A penalty and a drop goal by Tinus de Beer extended the hosts’ advantage in the second stanza, and as the game headed into the final quarter, they seemed to be on course for a comfortable win.
When the Cell C Sharks scored their second try through Daniel Jooste in the 65th minute, the Airlink Pumas still appeared to have the game under control. They responded in the 72nd minute with a converted try of their own to restore their 10-point advantage.
But the Sharks rallied in the dying moments, scoring through Dylan Richardson and Dian Bleuler. Fleurs’ cool goal-kicking at the death proved the difference, and secured the visitors a campaign-boosting victory.
Airlink Pumas 22 (9) – Try: Giovan Snyman. Conversion: Tinus de Beer. Penalty goals: De Beer (4). Drop goal: De Beer.
Cell C Sharks 24 (5) – Tries: James Venter, Daniel Jooste, Dylan Richardson, Dian Bleuler. Conversions: Nevaldo Fleurs (2).
Nohamba guides Fidelity ADT Lions to victory in Bloem
Sanele Nohamba contributed 18 points as the Fidelity ADT Lions romped to a 33-26 win over the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Despite coming into this clash as underdogs, the men from Johannesburg controlled the first half, and took a 20-7 lead into the break.
The Toyota Cheetahs attempted to stage a comeback, but the accurate kicking of Nohamba ensured that the Fidelity ADT Lions maintained a healthy lead throughout the second half.
While they weren’t able to secure a win, the Free Staters did enough to salvage two bonus points from the fixture. The hosts scored two tries in the dying stages to secure the four-try bonus point. John Lourens’ 82nd minute conversion was particularly significant, as it allowed the Toyota Cheetahs to finish within seven points of the Fidelity ADT Lions and claim another bonus point.
Toyota Cheetahs 26 (7) – Tries: George Cronje (2), Sibablo Qoma, Marnus van der Merwe. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar, John Lourens.
Fidelity ADT Lions 33 (20) – Tries: Rynhardt Jonker, Edwill van der Merwe, JC Pretorius. Conversions: Sanele Nohamba (3). Penalty goals: Nohamba (4).
Grobbelaar’s brace boosts Vodacom Bulls
Johan Grobbelaar scored two tries as the Vodacom Bulls powered their way to an important 40-20 win over Windhoek Draught Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
Since the senior side bowed out of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship race, the Vodacom Bulls have invested all their energy into resurrecting their Currie Cup campaign and qualifying for the playoffs. A number of Springboks and senior players have been drafted into the Currie Cup team, and have made an immediate impact.
The Bok duo of Embrose Papier and Elrigh Louw, as well as Grobbelaar, crossed the line in the first half. The visitors took a commanding 19-3 lead into the break.
Grobbelaar bagged his second try shortly after half-time – and secured his team the four-try bonus point in the process. The Vodacom Bulls maintained their momentum thereafter and finished the contest with an impressive haul of six tries.
While they remain in seventh place on the log, the Vodacom Bulls are only two points behind the fifth-placed Fidelity ADT Lions, and five points behind fourth-placed DHL WP. With their senior players in tow, they may well climb the rankings in the final four rounds.
Windhoek Draught Griquas 20 (3) – Tries: Johan Mulder, Jay-Cee Nel, Stephan Smit. Conversion: Lubabalo Dobela. Penalty goal: Dobela.
Vodacom Bulls 40 (19) – Tries: Embrose Papier, Johan Grobbelaar (2), Elrigh Louw, Marco Janse van Vuren, Simphiwe Mantanzima. Conversions: Chris Smith (5).