The Xerox Golden Lions swopped places with the Vodacom Blue Bulls at the top of the Absa Currie Cup standings after their comprehensive 41-11 win over the Steval Pumas on Friday in Nelspruit.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls proved too strong for ORC Griquas in their Premier Division clash on Saturday in Kimberley and although they won their match comfortably by 46-32, they slipped to second spot on the log after the completion of round four.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the Cell C Sharks scored a close-fought 24-20 win over the Eastern Province Kings after they overturned a 7-13 half-time deficit in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
DHL Western Province, the defending champions, suffered their second successive away loss when the Toyota Cheetahs pipped them by 28-21 in Bloemfontein on Friday evening despite a spirited rally in the second half.
After four rounds it is the Golden Lions now leading the log thanks to their 30-point win in Nelspruit, closely followed by the Blue Bulls. The neighbours both have the maximum 20 points from four matches.
DHL WP and Free State Cheetahs (both 10 points) are third and fourth, with the Sharks fifth and now just one point behind them. Pumas (eight points), EP Kings (three points) and Griquas (one point) complete the standings.
ORC Griquas (11) 32 Vodacom Blue Bulls (31) 46
Vodacom Blue Bulls flyhalf Tian Schoeman kicked 16 points in his side’s victory of 46-32 over ORC Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday. He missed only once with his goalkicking, converting five tries and kicking two penalties.
The home side dominated the opening 20 minutes. They couldn’t have asked for a better start, claiming a penalty and try in the opening minutes by winger Ntabeni Dukisa. He scored in the seventh minute after Bulls flanker Lappies Labuschagne was sin-binned.
Dukisa slotted another penalty to put Griquas 11-0 ahead, however, a penalty by Schoeman ignited a productive passage of play which resulted in 31 unanswered points from the Bulls.
Wing Travis Ismaiel, centres Dries Swanepoel and Burger Odendaal as well as Jamba Ulengo (wing) all scored tries for the Bulls to secure the try bonus point before the break. Schoeman converted them all to help make the half-time score 31-11.
The introduction of impact players at the start of the second half by Griquas worked as replacement eighthman Carel Greeff scored just after kick off. Another five pointer by hooker AJ le Roux gave them a sniff at victory, but it was only a matter of time before the Blue Bulls scored again via Ulengo.
Griquas went down fighting with fullback Riaan Viljoen scoring in the last couple of minutes but the Bulls scored last via replacement Louis Fouché – as Griquas flanker Hilton Lobberts was yellow carded – to put the game beyond the hosts’ reach.
Vodacom Blue Bulls: Tries: Travis Ismaiel, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo (2), Louis Fouché; Conversions: Tian Schoeman (5); Penalties: Tian Schoeman (2).
ORC Griquas: Tries: Ntabeni Dukisa, Carel Greeff, AJ le Roux, Riaan Viljoen; Conversions: Ntabeni Dukisa, Clinton Swart (2); Penalties: Ntabeni Dukisa (2).
Eastern Province Kings (13) 20 Cell C Sharks (7) 24
The Cell C Sharks claimed the double over the EP Kings when they edged to a 24-20 win in their fixture at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Sharks beat the Kings 33-25 in Durban two weeks ago but were under huge pressure in the first half in the return leg after trailing 7-13 at the break.
However, they dominated the majority of play in the second half to clinch a deserved victory, only their second of the season. The Kings remain winless and will be under further pressure when they travel to the Lions in Johannesburg next week.
With five minutes remaining, the Kings were awarded a penalty try after left wing S’bura Sithole high-tackled centre Ronnie Cooke. With Scott van Breda adding the conversion, the Kings were just four points behind and only desperate defence by the Sharks secured a much needed win.
Eastern Province Kings: Tries: Thembelani Bholi, Penalty try; Conversion: Scott van Breda (2); Penalties: Van Breda (2).
Cell C Sharks: Tries: Joe Pietersen, Francois Kleinhans, Daniel du Preez; Conversion: Joe Pietersen (3); Penalty: Pietersen.
Steval Pumas (3) 11 Xerox Golden Lions (16) 41
Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff slotted 21 points as the Xerox Golden Lions ran out convincing winners by 41-11 over the Steval Pumas 41-11 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening. The bonus-point win sees the Lions go top of the log with 20 points from four games.
The Lions flyhalf kicked four penalties, three conversions and a monster drop-goal, while flanker Kwagga Smith dotted down twice in a match that was error-ridden and filled with four yellow cards dished out by referee Pro Legoete to the home side.
Legoete first yellow-carded Pumas captain, Stefan Watermeyer, and later dished out another three cards to the home side in the space of 13 minutes with flankers Marnus Schoeman and Uzair Cassiem and prop Khwezi Mona all spending time in the sin bin.
With the Pumas down to 13 men at times, the Lions pressed home the advantage and scored two tries through their forwards.
Steval Pumas: Try: Faf de Klerk; Penalties: JC Roos (2).
Xerox Golden Lions: Tries: Kwagga Smith (2), Jacques van Rooyen, Penalty Try; Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (3); Penalties: Boshoff (4); Drop-goal: Boshoff.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs (25) 28 DHL Western Province (15) 21
After losing 3-9 in Cape Town two weeks ago, the Cheetahs took revenge by winning 28-21 in an entertaining match on Friday in Bloemfontein.
With Province having hauled their way back into game from 25-3 down after 25 minutes to 25-21 after 59 minutes, a fortuitous hack-through took play back into the Province dangerzone.
Referee Stuart Berry then awarded the hosts a penalty for hands in the ruck. Replacement flyhalf Sias Ebersohn pulled the kick wide.
However, he was called back because Seabelo Senatla had charged his attempt at goal. This time he made no mistake and at 28-21, the Cheetahs had the cushion to absorb what Province could throw at them.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs: Tries: Neill Jordaan, Shaun Venter, Ryno Benjamin. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2): Penalties: Zeilinga (2), Sias Ebersohn.
DHL Western Province: Tries: Seabelo Senatla, Rynhardt Elstadt. Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalties: Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman (2).