The pool stages of the Currie Cup Premier Division – sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua – will come to a thrilling end next weekend as six of the seven participating teams still have a chance of featuring in the semi-finals after some surprise results this weekend.
The Cell C Sharks, who enjoyed a bye, have already secured a home semi-final and they will earn a home final if they progress to the last round, but the venue of the second semi-final and the three sides that will join the KwaZulu-Natalians in the playoff stages will only be determined at the conclusion of the final round-robin match.
The Xerox Golden Lions scored three second-half tries against DHL Western Province in Johannesburg on Sunday to fight their way back from a 17-10 halftime deficit for a valuable 29-20 victory. The win catapulted them from the foot of the log into fourth place, which kept them in the race for a playoff spot.
DHL Western Province delivered a strong first-half showing in the heavy rain, which saw play suspended briefly due to a hail storm, with the side scoring two converted tries and a penalty goal, while the hosts crossed the tryline once to add to their penalty goal. The Xerox Golden Lions, however, regained their composure in the second half and applied pressure on the visitors, while they did well to convert their chances into points, resulting in them touching down three times to secure a bonus-point win.
DHL Western Province remained in second place on the standings despite the defeat, but with the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, Xerox Golden Lions and Vodacom Blue Bulls also within range of securing the remaining home semi-final, the Capetonians will have to topple log-leaders, the Cell C Sharks, in Durban next week to achieve that feat.
In Bloemfontein the Vodacom Blue Bulls kept alive their semi-final hopes as hat-tricks by centre Burger Odendaal and fullback Warrick Gelant contributed to a fine performance, which earned them a convincing 64-36 victory against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.
The visitors showed their intent in the first half as they ran hard on attack, and this paid off as they secured their bonus point in the 33rd minute, with the side taking a 26-22 halftime lead. They built on this in the second half and increased their try tally to 10, while they limited the hosts to five – three of which were scored by replacement flanker Daniel Maartens.
Tafel Lager Griquas, meanwhile, recovered from an 18-point deficit against the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit to win their final match of the season 38-35, with a penalty goal proving to be the difference on the scoreboard.
The result saw the Tafel Lager Griquas and the Steval Pumas finish the penultimate round at the bottom of the log tied on 26 points.
The match was thoroughly entertaining as the hosts took control in the first half and earned their bonus point by the 26th minute and an encouraging 28-10 halftime lead. The visitors, however, fought back strongly and the rewards followed as they matched the Steval Pumas’ five converted tries in the match, which resulted in their early penalty goal giving them the edge on the scoreboard.
Top point scorers after round 13
- George Whitehead (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 96
- Kobus Marais (Steval Pumas) – 65
- Tony Jantjies (Vodacom Blue Bulls) – 64
- Andre Swarts (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 63
- Jaco van der Walt (Xerox Golden Lions) – 60
Top try scorers after round 13
- Seabelo Senatla (DHL Western Province) – 9
- Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls) – 9
- Sbusiso Nkosi (Cell C Sharks ) – 8
- Ederies Arendse (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 7
Currie Cup Premier Division Round 13 results and scorers:
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 36 (22) Vodacom Blue Bulls 64 (26)
- Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Lloyd Greeff, Daniel Maartens (3), Stef Janse van Rensburg. Conversions: Robbie Petzer (3), Juan-Phillip Smith. Penalty Goal: Robbie Petzer.
- Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Ivan Van Zyl, Warrick Gelant (3), Burger Odendaal (3), Duncan Matthews, Johan Grobbelaar, Tim Agaba. Conversions: Marnitz Louis Boshoff (6), Tony Jantjies.
Steval Pumas 35 (28) Tafel Lager Griquas 38 (10)
- Steval Pumas – Tries: Marko Janse van Rensburg, Willie Engelbrecht (2), Hennie Skorbinski, Frankie Herne. Conversions: Kobus Marais (5).
- Tafel Lager Griquas – Tries: Wendal Wehr, Steyno Steyn, Tertius Kruger (2), Ederies Arendse. Conversions: George Whitehead (4), Andre Swarts. Penalty Goal: George Whitehead.
Xerox Golden Lions 29 (10) DHL Western Province 20 (17)
- Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Aphiwe Dyantyi, Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, Sylvian Mahuza, Rhyno Herbst. Conversions: Ashlon Davids, Jaco Van der Walt (2). Penalty Goal: Jaco Van der Walt.
- DHL Western Province – Tries: Nizaam Carr, Robert Du Preez. Conversions: Robert Du Preez (2). Penalty Goals: Robert Du Preez (2).