Half the teams in the North Section of the Vodacom Cup kicked the season off with a full house of five log points, but in the South the Sharks XV are on their own at the top of the log.
Defending Vodacom Cup champions, DHL Western Province, found the going tough in their opening match of the season as they fought back to draw with a spirited Regent Boland Cavaliers team in Ceres.
The log jam in the north was thanks to bonus-point wins on Saturday afternoon for the Steval Pumas, Down Touch Griffons, MTN Golden Lions and the Vodacom Blue Bulls.
The Steval Pumas were simply way too strong for the Valke in Nelspruit and scored 10 tries en route to a 62-0 victory, with Uzair Cassien (flank) getting the first hat-trick of the 2013 Vodacom Cup season in the 46th minute of this encounter.
Hot on their heels were the Down Touch Griffons, who taught new boys, the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls, what Vodacom Cup rugby is all about with an emphatic 50-15 win in Polokwane. Nicky Steyn scored three tries for the visitors.
At Pirates Rugby Club in Johannesburg, the MTN Golden Lions beat their western neighbours, the Leopards XV, by 45-15, scoring seven tries in the process.
But probably most impressive were the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who overcame a tricky hurdle when they beat GWK Griquas, four time Vodacom Cup champions, by 40-32 in Kimberley. The visitors scored six tries to five – two of these in the final five minutes of the match – as they had to fight back to get their season off to a perfect start.
DHL Western Province needed a late try by Jody Reyneke and conversion by Gary van Aswegen to draw level with Regent Boland Cavaliers in front of more than 7,500 people in picturesque Ceres.
Supporters of the home team thought the Cavaliers were going to score an upset victory when Ashton Constant scored a converted seven minutes from full-time, but the Capetonians did not let up and pulled level with less than three minutes left on the clock.
In Port Elizabeth, Wesley Dunlop kicked a penalty goal in the 80th minute to give the EP Kings a 20-20 draw against the Pampas XV, the former Vodacom Cup champions from Argentina, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
On Friday, the Sharks XV and Toyota Free State XV kicked their campaigns off with impressive away victories over the Border Bulldogs and SWD Eagles respectively.
The KwaZulu-Natalians ran in 10 tries as Fred Zeilinga contributed 32 of their points in a 72-6 rout of the Bulldogs in Durban.
Down the N2, in George, the Free Staters only managed three tries, but still beat the Eagles comfortably by 31-8. Tewis de Bruyn kicked 16 points for the visitors.
All the scorers
Border Bulldogs 6 (6) Sharks XV 72 (20)
Border Bulldogs – Penalties: Karlo Aspeling (2).
Sharks XV – Tries: S’bura Sithole, Tyler Fisher (2), Fred Zeilinga (2), Sizo Maseko (2), Heimar Williams, Gouws Prinsloo, Hanco Venter. Conversions: Zeilinga (8). Penalties: Zeilinga (2).
SWD Eagles 8 (5) Toyota Free State XV 31 (16)
SWD Eagles – Try: Grant Kemp. Penalty: Elric van Vuuren
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Neil Claassen, Eddie Fredericks, Ludwig Erasmus. Conversions: Tewis de Bruyn (2). Penalties: De Bruyn (4).
Regent Boland Cavaliers 17 (7) DHL Western Province 17 (10)
Regent Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Chris Buckle, Ashton Constant. Conversions: Ricardo Croy, Jacquin Jansen. Penalty: Jansen.
DHL Western Province – Tries: Chris Cloete, Devon Williams, Jody Reyneke. Conversion: Gary van Aswegen.
GWK Griquas 32 (20) Vodacom Blue Bulls 40 (21)
GWK Griquas – Tries: PJ Vermeulen, Marnus Schoeman, Penalty try, Edwin Hewitt, Simon Westraadt. Conversions: Vermeulen (2). Penalty: Francois Brummer.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Dries Swanepoel, Ruan Snyman (2), Francois Venter, Wiaan Liebenberg, Sampie Mastriet. Conversions: Tony Jantjies (3), Handré Pollard (2).
MTN Golden Lions 45 (12) Leopards XV 15 (8)
MTN Golden Lions – Tries: Deon van Rensburg, JJ Breet, Lionel Cronje, Robbie Coetzee, Warren Whiteley, Antonie Volminck, Andries Coetzee. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2), Marnitz Boshoff (3).
Leopards XV – Tries: Danie Dames, Armand van der Merwe. Penalty: Warren Gilbert. Conversion: Andre Pretorius.
Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls 15 (6) Down Touch Griffons 50 (31)
Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls – Try: Bernard Groenewald. Penalties: Bronwyn Craill (3).
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Nicky Steyn (3), Colin Herbert (2), Shane Hancke, Martin Sithole, Oshwill Nortje. Conversions: Louis Strydom (5).
EP Kings 20 (14) Pampas XV 20 (9)
EP Kings – Try: Siviwe Soyizwapi. Penalties: Wesley Dunlop (4), Scott van Breda.
Pampas – Try: Manuel Montero. Penalties: Benjamin Madero (5).
Steval Pumas 62 (36) Valke 0
Steval Pumas – Tries: De-Jay Terblanche, Jaco Bouwer (2), Tiaan Marx, Uzair Cassiem (3), Vincent Koch (2), Wilhelm Loock. Conversions: Marx (6).
Valke – 0.