There were tries aplenty as the 2015 Vodacom Cup shifted up a gear with the quarterfinals moving into sight for the 16 teams vying for the title.
In the South Section, the SWD Eagles probably delivered the biggest upset as they outplayed the Cell C Sharks XV in George on Friday evening, winning comfortably by 36-13 after a superb second-half performance where they scored 29 unanswered points.
GWK Griquas showed they will not let go of their title without a proper fight as they completely outclassed the Boland Cavaliers by 62-19 in Velddrif on Saturday afternoon, while the Toyota Free State XV beat the EP Kings by 50-45 in an extraordinary match in Bloemfontein where the scorers with still tied at 42-42 with only five minutes remaining on the clock.
DHL Western Province were predictably too strong for the Border Bulldogs as they cemented their position at the top of the South Section log with a 34-6 win on Saturday afternoon. (MATCH REPORT HERE.)
In the North Section, last weekend’s log leaders, the Xerox Golden Lions, enjoyed a bye and was overtaken at the top of the standings by the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who beat the Down Touch Griffons by 40-21 in Pretoria on Friday afternoon.
The Steval Pumas’ 31-23 victory over the Leopards XV in Potchefstroom on Friday means the race to the top of the North Section log is now effectively between three teams.
The FNB Welwitschias recorded their first win of the season when they beat the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls by 24-17 in Windhoek on Saturday afternoon.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 40 Down Touch Griffons 21
The Vodacom Blue Bulls ran in five tries to record a comfortable 40-21 (half-time 27-7) win over the Down Touch Griffons at the Loftus B-field in Pretoria on Friday afternoon.
The win saw the Bulls move to the top of the Vodacom Cup North Section log, one point ahead of the Lions, who enjoyed a bye this weekend.
Jamba Ulengo and Kefentse Mahlo both scored a brace of tries for the home team, while Nicky Steyn did the same for the visitors from the Northern Free State.
Vodacom Blue Bulls: Tries: Jamba Ulengo (2), Kefentse Mahlo (2), Arno van Wyk. Conversions: Thinus de Beer (2), Kobus Marais. Penalties: De Beer, Marais (2).
Down Touch Griffons: Tries: Nicky Steyn (2), Martin Sithole. Conversions: Franna du Toit (3).
Leopards XV 23 Steval Pumas 31
JC Roos scored 21 points to lead the Steval Pumas to a 31-23 (half-time 15-13) win over the Leopards XV in their Vodacom Cup North Section match at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday.
Flyhalf Roos scored a try and kicked two conversions and four penalties as the Steval Pumas clinched their fourth win of the season.
The visitors from the Lowveld made a fast start to the match as flank Jaco Bouwer crashed over for an unconverted try in just the second minute.
However, the Leopards took the lead in the 15th minute thanks to the pivot Kobus du Plessis’s second successful penalty attempt of the match.
Leopards XV: Tries: Jaco Hayward, Sergio Torrens. Conversions: Kobus du Plessis (2). Penalties: Du Plessis (3).
Steval Pumas: Tries: Jaco Bouwer, Frikkie Spies, JC Roos. Conversions. Roos (2). Penalties: Roos (4).
SWD Eagles 36 Cell C Sharks XV 13
The SWD Eagles turned in a storming second-half performance to down the Cell C Sharks XV by 36-13 (half-time 17-13) in their Vodacom Cup South Section match at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday evening.
The Eagles ran in three second-half tries on their way to scoring 29 unanswered points with the Sharks XV unable to score any second-half points.
No.8 Zandre Jordaan and right wing Alshaun Bock both scored a brace of tries for the home team, who completed their second win of the season while the Sharks were consigned to their third loss in four games.
SWD Eagles: Tries: Zandre Jordaan (2), Kurt Haupt, Alshaun Bock (2). Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (4). Penalty: Van Vuuren.
Cell C Sharks XV: Try: Tonderai Chavanga. Conversion: Innocent Radebe. Penalties: Radebe (2).
DHL Western Province 34 Border Bulldogs 6
It took some time for DHL Western Province to find their rhythm but, having been held to 8-6 at half-time, they ran in four more tries to beat Border Bulldogs 34-6 in their Vodacom Cup match at the City Park Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday.
It was a game dominated by the Western Province forwards, who scored three of the five tries as they cemented their place at the top of the log with four out of four, with a bonus point.
The match also saw dream start for debutant DHL WP fullback Garth April from the newly-crowned Cell C Community Cup champions Durbanville-Bellville, who opened the hosts’ try-scoring spree in the 25th minute.
DHL Western Province: Tries: Garth April, Deacon Chowles, Rayn Smid, Chris van Zyl, Robert du Preez. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (2), Robert du Preez. Penalty: Jean-Luc du Plessis.
Border Bulldogs: Penalties: Masixole Banda (2).
FNB Welwitschias 24 Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls 17
The Welwitschias’ greater desire earned them a well-deserved first victory in the 2015 Vodacom Cup when they beat the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls by 24-17 in Windhoek on Saturday.
The Namibian side led 17-3 at half-time thanks to two great individual tries by outside centre Johann Tromp, who added his hat-trick try nine minutes into the second half. He was duly named man of the match.
The victory was only the second by any Namibian side in the Vodacom Cup, following the 2010 home win against the Valke (66-33 in Windhoek).
FNB Welwitchias: Tries: Johann Tromp (3). Conversions: Shaun Kaizemi (3). Penalty Kaizemi.
Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls: Tries: Heirich Els, Marcus Erasmus. Conversions: Anton Beswick (2). Penality: Beswick.
Boland Cavaliers 19 GWK Griquas 62
A hat-trick by winger Natabeni Dukisa saw GWK Griquas bash the Boland Cavaliers 62-19 (half-time 20-7) in their Vodacom Cup encounter at the Smuts Ground in Velddrif on Saturday afternoon.
Rocco Jansen scored twice in the first-half as the teams went into the break with the visitors leading by 20-7 and although the home team closed the gap to 20-14 early in the second half, Griquas then cut loose as they dotted down six times in the second 40 minutes to record the biggest victory of the round.
Boland Cavaliers: Tries: Wilneth Engelbrecht, Tiaan Ramat, Ryno Conradie. Conversions: Eric Zana (2).
GWK Griquas: Tries: Rocco Jansen (2), Wendall Wehr (2), Natabeni Dukisa (3), Martin Bezuidenhout, Clinton Swart. Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo (7). Penalty: Prinsloo.
Toyota Free State XV 50 EP Kings 45
The Cheetahs XV were made to work extremely hard for their 50-45 win over a gutsy EP Kings in a Vodacom Cup match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
With only five minutes remaining at the Free State Stadium, the score was still 42-42, but a penalty and try by replacement flyhalf Ludwig Erasmus wrapped up proceedings for the home team’s third win of their campaign in the Southern Section.
Former EP flyer Sergeal Petersen scored a brace of tries for the Free Staters while Tim Whitehead, who captained the side from Port Elizabeth, did the same for the visitors as a total of 12 tries were scored in this encounter.
Toyota Free State XV: Tries: JP du Plessis, Sergeal Petersen (2), Shaun Venter, Joubert Engelbrecht, Zingisa April, Ludwig Erasmus. Conversions: Niel Marais (6). Penalty: Ludwig Erasmus.
EP Kings: Tries: Tim Agaba, Luther Obi, Tim Whitehead (2), Siviwe Soyizwapi. Conversions: Scott van Breda (4). Penalties: Gary van Aswegen, Van Breda (3).