The Free Staters fired late in Bloemfontein on Saturday to claim a valuable bonus-point win against DHL Western Province. The Toyota Cheetahs are now two points clear of the second-placed Airlink Pumas in the Premier Division standings.
The defending champions got the job done when hosting the eighth-placed NovaVit Griffons in Nelspruit on Saturday, securing a full house of five log points. They remain in the race for top spot, and are six points clear of the third-placed Cell C Sharks. The Durbanites recorded an impressive bonus-point in Pretoria on Saturday – a result that has strengthened their bid for a semi-final place.
Windhoek Draught Griquas claimed an important win against the Fidelity ADT Lions to finish the round in fourth place on the log. They still have some work to do if they’re going to catch the Cell C Sharks – who are five log points ahead at this stage.
Six points separate the fourth- and seventh-placed teams. DHL WP and the Fidelity ADT Lions could both finish the next round in the top four, providing that they win and that other results go their way.
The Vodacom Bulls failed to secure a losing bonus point in their recent loss to the Cell C Sharks, and will be under pressure to secure a big win or two in the coming weeks – click here to view the full log.
Four matches were played in the Currie Cup First Division and Mzansi Challenge on Saturday. The Simbas from Kenya edged Border 30-26 in Cape Town, while the Boland Kavaliers beat the San Clemente Rhinos 45-36 in Strand. Meanwhile, the Valke claimed a big 57-48 win against the Goshawks in Harare, and the Leopards clinched a 23-20 victory against the Windhoek Draught Welwitchias in Walvis Bay.
Windhoek Draught Griquas deny spirited Fidelity ADT Lions
Windhoek Draught Griquas held on to claim a 25-21 victory over the Fidelity ADT Lions in Kimberley on Friday.
The hosts suffered a couple of early setbacks when they conceded a penalty try in the 22nd minute and Sako Makata was sent to the sin bin. Despite the one-man disadvantage, they rallied to finish the half with a 19-7 lead.
The Fidelity ADT Lions then proceeded to score 21 unanswered points after the break. As the game headed into the final quarter, the visitors enjoyed an unlikely 21-19 lead.
But the men from Kimberley regained control in the dying stages, with flyhalf Lubabelo Dobela kicking two penalty goals to clinch a narrow yet important win.
Windhoek Draught Griquas 25 (19) – Tries: Jay Cee Nel, Hanru Sirgel, Johan Mulder. Conversions: Lubabelo Dobela (2). Penalty goals: Dobela (2).
Fidelity ADT Lions 21 (7) – Tries: JC Pretorius, Morne Brandon, Penalty try. Conversions: Tiaan Swanepoel (2).
Fouché powers Airlink Pumas to big win
No 8 André Fouché scored a brace of tries as the Airlink Pumas secured a 45-25 win against the NovaVit Griffons in Nelspruit on Saturday.
The defending champions came into this clash with a point to prove, after sustaining a heavy loss to the Fidelity ADT Lions in the previous round. They dominated much of the contest staged at the Nelspruit Rugby Club, and took a commanding 31-12 lead into half-time.
The Airlink Pumas dotted down twice after the break to boost their overall try-tally to seven. By that stage, the game was over as a contest, and the hosts took their collective foot off the pedal. The NovaVit Griffons score two late tries and secured a four-try bonus point.
Airlink Pumas 45 (31) – Tries: André Fouche (2), Kwanda Dimaza, Devon Williams, Anele Lungisa, Llewellyn Claassen, Wian van Niekerk. Conversions: Brandon Thomson (5).
NovaVit Griffons 25 (12) – Tries: HP van Schoor, Marquit September, Jaywinn Juries, Dommenic Smit. Conversion: Duren Hoffman. Penalty goal: Juries.
Toyota Cheetahs claw their way back against DHL WP
The Toyota Cheetahs rebounded from a seven-point deficit to beat DHL Western Province 26-21 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The game followed a similar pattern to the previous fixture between the two sides. DHL WP played themselves into a strong position to win the game, but were overtaken by a more clinical Free State outfit at the death.
The men from Cape Town scored three tries and took a deserved 21-14 lead into half-time. However, a try by Daniel Maartens and a successful conversion by Ruan Pienaar in the 54th minute allowed the hosts to level the scores.
The visitors’ discipline let them down in the final 10 minutes, with forwards Chad Solomon and Adré Smith both receiving yellow cards. The Toyota Cheetahs went on to score a fourth try in the 75th minute – and secure five log points from the fixture.
Toyota Cheetahs 26 (14) – Tries: Reinhardt Fortuin, Ruan Pienaar, Daniel Maartens, Munier Hartzenberg. Conversions: Pienaar (3).
DHL Western Province 21 (21) – Tries: Damian Markus, Jarrod Taylor, Luke Burger. Conversions: Clayton Blommetjies (3).
Cell C Sharks race clear of Vodacom Bulls
The Cell C Sharks scored six tries in their 41-27 win over the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, with the hosts paying a dear price for their indiscipline after losing two players – Jan-Hendrik Wessels and Chris Smit – to the sin bin.
The Cell C Sharks scored two converted tries in Wessels’ absence, and shortly before his return to the field, Smit received his side’s second yellow card.
The visitors made their hosts pay for the poor discipline, and Daniel Jooste crashed over the line for his second try of the match.
Despite losing flyhalf Lionel Cronjé to a yellow card at the end of the first half, the visitors enjoyed a 22-13 lead at the break. They scored first in the second stanza, and maintained their grip on the contest.
Scrumhalf Zak Burger scored the Vodacom Bulls’ third try in the 80th minute. While this wasn’t enough to secure the hosts a bonus point, it did lend some respectability to the scoreline.
Vodacom Bulls 27 (13) – Tries: Juan Mostert, Eugene Hare, Zak Burger. Conversions: Morné Steyn (3). Penalty goals: Steyn (2).
Cell C Sharks 41 (22) – Tries: Daniel Jooste (2), Khwezi Mona, Murray Koster, Dameon Venter, Mpilo Gumede. Conversions: Lionel Cronjé (3), Fred Zeilinga. Penalty goals: Cronjé.