DHL Western Province will host the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Cape Town and the Xerox Golden Lions will face the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division semifinals next weekend.
Log-leaders DHL Western Province were assured of their home semifinal and the top spot on the log before entering the final round of pool matches this weekend, while the Xerox Golden Lions sealed their home semifinal by thumping the Toyota Free State Cheetahs. The victory for the Johannesburg team was enough to cancel out any efforts by the Cell C Sharks for the second spot on the log.
In the weekend’s matches, the EP Kings registered their first victory of the season as they pipped the Steval Pumas 26-25 in Port Elizabeth, while the Xerox Golden Lions thumped the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 47-7 at Ellis Park, the Cell C Sharks defeated DHL Western Province 28-20 in Cape Town and the Vodacom Blue Bulls beat GWK Griquas 46-12 in Pretoria.
The Xerox Golden Lions will meet the Cell C Sharks in the first semifinal on Saturday, October 18, at 14h30 and DHL Western Province will go up against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at 17h00.
EP Kings 26 (19) Steval Pumas 25 (17)
A late try by EP Kings fullback Scott van Breda and conversion by flyhalf Gary Van Aswegen secured the EP Kings their first victory of the season against the Steval Pumas at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Interestingly the last time the EP Kings beat the Nelspruit team was in a repeat of this match in the 2012 Absa Currie Cup First Division final, and the score was also 26-25.
Yellow cards for Steval Pumas lock Lubabalo Mtyanda and wing Rosko Specman in the first half handed the EP Kings an edge which they took full advantage of by scoring three tries in the first 28 minutes.
The visitors hit back before the break with two tries to add to a penalty by Justin van Staden, which left them trailing 19-17 at the break.
The Steval Pumas built on this early in the second half with Stefan Watermeyer crossing the tryline for their third five-pointer, while Van Staden added another penalty to hand them a narrow lead. But their hopes of a victory were dashed in the 74th minute as Van Breda scored a try to level scores and Van Aswegen’s conversion sealed the victory.
EP Kings – Tries: Paul Schoeman, Ronnie Cooke, Scott van Breda, Tobie Botes. Conversions: Gary Van Aswegen (3).
Steval Pumas – Tries: Frank Herne, Justin van Staden, Stefan Watermeyer. Conversions: Justin van Staden (2). Penalties: Justin van Staden (2).
Xerox Golden Lions 47 (22) Toyota Free State Cheetahs 7 (0)
In Johannesburg the Xerox Golden Lions dominated the set pieces and delivered a solid performance on attack and defence to outclass the Toyota Free State Cheetahs. Such was the high quality of the home team’s performance they scored six tries to only one by the Bloemfontein side, while penalties in their favour allowed flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Three of the Xerox Golden Lions’ tries were scored in the first 30 minutes, with the other three in the second half, the last two of which were scored within three minutes.
This impressive performance will certainly boost the team’s confidence as they prepare to line up against the Cell C Sharks in the semifinal next weekend.
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Akker van der Merwe, Derick Minnie, Howard Mnisi, Jaco Kriel, Ruan Combrinck, Warwick Tecklenburg. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (4). Penalties: Marnitz Boshoff (3).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Try: Sarel Pretorius. Conversion: Willie du Plessis.
DHL Western Province 20 (20) Cell C Sharks 28 (11)
The clash between DHL Western Province and the Cell C Sharks was exciting, as the hosts put up a brave fight despite missing several key players. The visitors had the first say as Sibusiso Sithole scored from the kickoff to hand the side an early 5-0 lead.
But DHL Western Province bounced back with intent as they won turnovers and retained possession, which allowed them to apply pressure on attack.
This earned them two penalties, which Kurt Coleman slotted over for a 6-5 lead. The Durban side’s flyhalf Lionel Cronje slotted over his first penalty to put the team in the lead, but the hosts rounded off a fantastic team try in the 19th minute and another minutes later after opting for a lineout from a penalty close their tryline.
Cronje slotted over another penalty later in the half to reduce their deficit to 20-11 before the break.
Cronje opened up the scoring in the second half with three back-to-back penalties to level the scores.
The last penalty also earned DHL Western Province flank Rynhardt Elstadt a yellow card. The Cell C Sharks supported this with a fine effort on attack as they held onto the ball and forced the hosts for defend for long periods. These efforts paid off with a try by prop Lourens Adriaanse, which forced the team into a 25-20 lead.
Replacement flyhalf Fred Zeilinga added three points to their tally in the dying minutes to stretch their lead to eight points, which they managed to hold onto until the final whistle.
DHL Western Province – Tries: Kurt Coleman, Patrick Howard. Conversions: Kurt Coleman (2). Penalties: Kurt Coleman (2).
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Lourens Adriaanse, Sibusiso Sithole. Penalties: Fred Zeilinga, Lionel Cronje (5).
Vodacom Blue Bulls 46 (20) GWK Griquas 12 (12)
The Vodacom Blue Bulls showed their intent early on against GWK Griquas as Springbok wing Bjorn Basson scored an intercept try in the second minute to hand the team a 7-0 lead. GWK Griquas fought back minutes later with wing Ederies Arendse touching down for their first try. The hosts’ flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter then slotted over two penalties, but Ederies struck again with his second try.
A yellow card for GWK Griquas prop Simon Westraadt four minutes before the break, however, paved the way for Vodacom Blue Bulls flank and captain Deon Stegmann to score their second try of the match for a 20-12 lead.
The third quarter was tight as the teams threw everything at each other, but two tries by Basson in 16 minutes secured the home team’s bonus point try, Basson’s hat-trick and his 50th career try.
.The visitors’ hopes of a late surge, however, were dealt a massive blow in the 72nd minute as hooker Rayno Barnes received a red card for verbally abusing the referee.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls took full advantage of this as Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard ran into a gap at pace to score a try.
Former Bok wing Akona Ndungane added their sixth try on the stroke of full time as he gathered a chip kick and crossed the chalk to secure the 46-12 win.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Akona Ndungane, Bjorn Basson (3), Deon Stegmann, Handre Pollard. Conversions: Handre Pollard (2), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (3). Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (2).
GWK Griquas – Tries: Ederies Arendse (2). Conversion: Francois Brummer.