Cheetahs, Leopards reaffirm dominance in Currie Cup
September 11, 2016
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Leopards reaffirmed their dominance in the Currie Cup Premier and First Divisions respectively this weekend as they stretched their unbeaten runs to five rounds to top their log tables.

The Free Staters registered a bonus-point 38-30 victory against the Cell C Sharks in Durban to leap to the top of the Premier Division log table. The Leopards in turn secured a full-house of points compliments of a 49-31 victory against SWD in Potchefstroom to cement their place at the top of the log in their final pool match, which also ensured that the defending First Division champions will host a semi-final.

In another significant outcome from the weekend’s Currie Cup action – brought to you by DirectAxis and Nashua – the Down Touch Griffons secured their place in the First Division semi-final with a memorable 84-25 victory against the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias.

In the Currie Premier Division, the Xerox Golden Lions defeated DHL Western Province 58-32 in Johannesburg and the Vodacom Blue Bulls thumped the Steval Pumas 41-14 in Nelspruit.

Currie Cup Premier Division:

The Vodacom Blue Bulls dominated their clash against the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit as they delivered a solid performance on attack and defence to score six tries, which included a brace by winger Jamba Ulengo, to only one by the hosts.

Their scrummaging and finishing, in particular, proved to be two of their strong points. The Pretoria side struck first with a try in the seventh minute, which was followed by a tight spell in which the teams exchanged penalties. The Vodacom Blue Bulls, however, found their rhythm toward the end of the half and added two more tries for a 24-9 halftime lead.

They continued this form in the second half to add three tries, which secured their bonus point and pushed them 41-9 ahead, but the Steval Pumas remained composed in the dying minutes to touch down for their only try.

In Durban, meanwhile, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs’ dominant scrummaging, the brute force of their forwards and their ability to adapt to situations on the field, paved the way for the team to overpower the Cell C Sharks 38-30. The Free Staters crossed the chalk twice in the first half compliments of a penalty try following a strong scrum and a charge-down, while flyhalf Fred Zeilinga added a penalty.

In turn, the hosts kept the scoreboard ticking with four penalty goals by points machine Curwin Bosch, which left them trailing 17-12 at the break. The Cell C Sharks added two more penalty goals by Bosch in the second half, while the Toyota Free State Cheetahs continued to create try-scoring chances at will, to add three tries to their tally.

The Durbanites fought back with intent and earned two tries, but their efforts were not enough to force their way into the lead. One successful conversion by Bosch to add to his six penalty goals earned him a personal total of 20 points.

On Friday evening in Johannesburg, the Xerox Golden Lions were in fine form from the outset against DHL Western Province and scored their first of eight tries in the first minute. The hosts put their pace and skill to good use as they ran hard at the Capetonians, and the rewards followed as they scored five first-half tries.

Two penalty goals and a stunning individual try by DHL Western Province winger Leolin Zas, meanwhile, accounted for their first half points, which saw them trail 37-13.

But the defending champions continued to run riot on attack in the second half as they added three more tries, two of which were scored by Olympic Games bronze medallist Kwagga Smith. DHL Western Province, however, showed their fighting spirit as they scored three second-half tries to secure a valuable bonus point, despite going down 58-32.

Griquas centre Clinton Swart was instrumental in his team’s 46-22 victory against Boland at Griqua Park on Thursday, as he scored a try and slotted over five conversions and two penalty goals for a personal tally of 21 points. The hosts stamped their authority early in the match as they ran in three first-half tries to add to two penalty goals by Swart, while they limited the visitors to only a penalty goal for an encouraging 25-3 lead at the break.

Griquas touched down for their bonus point try shortly into the second half, and this appeared to motivate Boland, as they scored their first try of the match. Two more tries by Griquas increased their tally to six, but Boland fought until the end to score two of their own, for a respectable 22 points.

Currie Cup First Division:

The Down Touch Griffons ensured that they completed the pool stages of their campaign on a high note as they outplayed the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 84-25 in Welkom. The side scored 12 converted tries to four by the Namibians, with five of these earned in the first 20 minutes.

The game was particularly memorable for Down Touch Griffons winger Warren Williams, as he scored an impressive four tries, while No 8 De Wet Kruger scored a hat-trick and lock Dennis Visser a brace. Flyhalf George Whitehead, meanwhile, converted all 12 tries for a meaningful contribution of 24 points. Such was the home team’s dominance, they entered the break with a 42-15 lead, and another six second-half tries saw them emerge 84-25 victors.

In Potchefstroom, the Leopards dominated proceedings in the first 66 minutes against SWD to cruise to a 49-5 lead, before a late surge by the visitors saw them inflate their score to 31 points. The defending champions were in fine form from the outset as they ran in three first-half tries for a 21-0 lead and then stepped up the gas in the second half to add four more tries in 26 minutes, while leaking only one.

SWD, however, hit back with intent to score four unanswered tries in the remaining minutes for a bonus point, but these efforts were too little too late and they went down 49-31.

And finally, Border fullback Masixole Banda was a key figure in his team’s 54-29 victory against the Hino Valke in Kempton Park, as he scored a brace of tries and converted seven conversions for a personal total of 24 points.

The first half was tight as each team scored three tries, which saw the lead being exchanged several times and the teams entering the break tied at 19-19. But Border controlled proceedings in the second half as they created try-scoring opportunities at will and converted five of them into points, while they limited the home team to only two tries.

The convincing win marked Border’s second victory with a score-line of over 50 points in four outings, and their third successive win in the competition.

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