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Tight race for semi-final places in Currie Cup

Tight dash for the semi-finals spots in the ABSA Currie Cup keeps this competition alive and well.

Tight dash for the semi-finals spots in the Absa Currie Cup keeps this competition alive and well.

Over the weekend the two top places on the log change hands for a few hours, when Xerox Golden Lions won against a fierce full attack from Steval Pumas on Friday September 19.

Steval Pumas disrupted their Super Rugby conterparts, Xeros Golden Lions, scrums and line-out, but found it difficult to cross their try line. The local team from Johannesburg won against Steval Pumas 29-15, and in the process notched up a bonus point to lead the ABSA Currie Cup log for a few hours.

On Saturday September 20 DHL Western Province bounced back outplaying GWK Griquas 36-12 in Cape Town and is now leading the log with a four points. Despite this, the battle for semi-final places and home semi-finals is expected to be thrilling in the remaining three rounds of pool matches, as only ten points separate the top five teams on the log standings, while the sixth-placed Vodacom Blue Bulls still have a chance of sneaking into the semi-finals in the next few weeks.

Toyota Free State Cheetahs registered a 37-22 victory against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth and the Cell C Sharks beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls 26-15 in Pretoria.

Xerox Golden Lions 29 (19) Steval Pumas 15 (3)

Xerox Golden Lions produced a solid first-half display against the Steval Pumas in Johannesburg and did well to round off their try-scoring chances. Such was the effectiveness of their attack, they scored three tries before the break, the first two of which were in the opening eight minutes. The Pumas were reduced to 14 men a few minutes later, after Jerome Pretorius tackled a player in the air. But they managed to shut out the Xerox Golden Lions until the 27th minute, when wing Courtnall Skosan gathered a loose ball for their third try. In return the Pumas were only able to kick a penalty, despite coming close to the tryline on a few occasions.

The hosts picked up where they left off after the break as lock Franco Mostert finished off a fantastic team try to secure their bonus point five minutes into the half. They created several more try-scoring chances in the following minutes, but were unable to round off their chances. The Pumas hit back with a try in the 67th minute as Stefan Watermeyer forced his way through a hole in the defence and touched down. They backed this up with a last-minute try, despite losing Frankie Herne to a yellow card for a dangerous tackle six minutes before the final whistle.


Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Courtnall Skosan, Franco Mostert, Ruan Dreyer, Stokkies Hanekom. Conversions: Ruan Combrinck (3). Drop Goal: Jaco van der Walt.

Steval Pumas – Tries: Stefan Watermeyer, Vincent Koch. Conversion: JC Roos. Penalty: Justin van Staden.

DHL Western Province 36 (24) GWK Griquas 12 (0)

Log-leaders DHL Western Province delivered a solid performance all around against the GWK Griquas for their 36-12 bonus-point victory. Their attack and defence was solid and their set pieces were strong, which forced them onto the front foot early on. Springbok Sevens star Justin Geduld opened up the scoring for the hosts in the sixth minute with a try, and Sikhumbuszo Notshe followed in the 16th minute. They secured their third try in the 26th minute, after GWK Griquas received a yellow card and by the break they were 24-0 up.

Griquas bounced back in the second half with a try and they tightened up their defence significantly, but despite this, Notshe crossed the line for the bonus-point try on the stroke of the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Griquas tried hard to reduce the deficit on the scoreboard and they achieved this with a late try. But this was short-lived as a try by Cape fullback Cheslin Kolbe in extra time stretched the score to 36-12.


DHL Western Province – Tries: Brok Harris, Cheslin Kolbe, Justin Geduld, Sikhumbuszo Notshe (2). Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (3), Kurt Coleman. Penalty: Demetri Catrakilis.

GWK Griquas – Tries: Abraham Griesel, Ruaan Lerm. Conversion: Dean Grant.

EP Kings 22 (10) Toyota Free State Cheetahs 37 (16)

In Port Elizabeth the EP Kings put up a brave fight against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in an entertaining clash, but the visitors simply had too much firepower on attack, while flyhalf Willie du Plessis contributed 20 points to steer them to victory. Three penalties by Du Plessis in the first half to add to a try by centre Francois Venter earned the Bloemfontein side 16 points, while the EP Kings scored a converted try and a penalty to trail 16-10.

But three second-half tries by the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, the first of which was scored by nippy scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, who celebrated his 100th Currie Cup cap, to only two by the EP Kings allowed the Bloemfontein side to remain within range to possibly secure a semi-final berth.


EP Kings – Tries: Dwayne Jenner, Ntabeni Dukisa, Siyanda Grey. Conversions: Gary Van Aswegen, Scott van Breda. Penalty: Gary Van Aswegen.

Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Francois Venter, Raymond Rhule, Sarel Pretorius, Willie du Plessis. Conversions: Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Willie du Plessis (3). Penalties: Willie du Plessis (3).

Vodacom Blue Bulls 15 (12) Cell C Sharks 26 (13)

Cell Sharks on Saturday returned to their winning ways as they produced a strong second-half performance against the Vodacom Blue Bulls to secure a valuable 26-15 victory. The win kept them on course to secure a semi-final spot, while it dealt a blow to the Pretoria side’s hopes of forcing their way into contention for a semi-final berth. The first half was tense as Vodacom Blue Bulls flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Cell C Sharks fullback SP Marais exchanged penalties, with Potgieter slotting over four and Marais two. But a late try by Springbok back Lwazi Mvovo nudged the visitors into a 13-12 lead at the break.

A second try for the visitors by centre Sibusiso Sithole in the third quarter and two more penalties to only one more three-pointer by Potgieter, however, sealed the victory for the team. The home team will be particularly disappointed about their performance in the lineouts and their inability to earn points despite showing good signs on attack at times.


Vodacom Blue Bulls – Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (5).

Cell C Sharks – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Sibusiso Sithole. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2). Penalties: Lionel Cronje (2), SP Marais (2).

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