Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Statement wins for Cheetahs and Pumas at start of Currie Cup

The Cheetahs destroyed the Griffons 82-20 in their clash in Bloemfontein while the Pumas thumped the Griquas 44-24 in Kimberley.

Defending champions the Cheetahs and 2023 runners-up the Pumas made big statement wins on the opening weekend of the 2024 Currie Cup competition, while the Golden Lions and Blue Bulls also picked up early wins.

The Cheetahs and Pumas have dominated the competition over the last few years, with the Bloemfontein side finishing top of the log over the past two years, while the side from Mbombela won their first title in 2022, and they indicated it may be more of the same this year.

The Cheetahs absolutely destroyed the Griffons 82-20 in their clash at the Toyota Stadium on Saturday, outscoring the visitors 12 tries to two.

It was a competitive first half, with the hosts taking a 28-13 lead into the break, but they ran rampant in the second half with a further eight tries, to just one in response from the Griffons.

The Pumas made their own statement with an impressive 44-24 win over the Griquas at the notoriously difficult to play at Griqua Park in Kimberley on Friday afternoon, with the visitors taking a strong 25-12 lead into halftime, before cruising away in the second half for a top win.

Durban thriller

The Lions edged the Sharks 26-25 in a tense thriller in Durban on Friday evening, with the team from Johannesburg battling back from a tight 10-8 halftime deficit to seal the win.

Although the Lions played decently, the Sharks will be kicking themselves after they butchered a number of chances to win.

That included experienced flyhalf Lionel Cronje being timed out taking a conversion, which went over after the ref blew his whistle, while he also missed the final conversion to win with less than a minute remaining in the match.

On Sunday the Bulls closed out the first Currie Cup weekend with an impressive 30-25 win over Western Province in torrential conditions at the Cape Town Stadium.

The visitors were always in charge, leading 13-5 at halftime, before the hosts briefly fought back early in the second half to make it 16-13 at a stage.

But the Bulls then powered ahead 30-13 which was a big enough lead to hold off another fightback as Province scored two late tries in the final four minutes to sneak two losing bonus points at the death.

Currie Cup opening weekend results:

Griquas 24-44 Pumas

Sharks 25-26 Golden Lions

Cheetahs 82-20 Griffons

Western Province 25-30 Blue Bulls

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