The Xerox Golden Lions blasted 17 tries past the Phakisa Pumas in their 111-5 romp, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls scored 10 tries and were awarded a penalty try against Valke, beating them 80-10.
The opening match of the day, and by far the most competitive, also delivered 11 tries, with the Leopards outplaying the Toyota Free State side 34-29.
A much tighter round of matches is expected on Wednesday. The Valke and Phakisa Pumas will play each other, while the two semi-finals are between the Xerox Golden Lions and the Leopards, and the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Toyota Free State. The final will be played on Friday, also at Emirates Airline Park.
The coastal section kicks off on Tuesday, 24 September at Paarl Gymnasium in Paarl. DHL Western Province take on Boland and the EP Elephants clash with Cell C Sharks.
Day one – Match summaries and scorers (Inland Section):
Leopards 34 (12), Toyota Free State Cheetahs 29 (12)
The Leopards scored the last and decisive try late in a match that kicked off the tournament in spectacular fashion. That final try, their sixth of the match, pushed them past their Bloemfontein counterparts for the third time as the lead often changed hands.
The Potchefstroom side started strongly with two tries in the opening stanza, pushing them into a 12-0 lead. Using their forwards to good effect, the Leopards controlled possession and the score board.
The Free State side came back via their potent backline and two quickfire tries from long range evened out the score when halftime was called.
A try by the Leopards after the break edged them ahead again, only for the Free State side to score two more quick tries, which put them into the lead for the first time.
The Free Staters’ comeback looked complete when they led 29-24, but two tries from the Potch side handed the lead back to them.
Toyota Free State had a final scoring opportunity with the last play of the match, but they lost the ball over the try-line, much to the delight of the green and reds jerseys.
Leopards – Tries: Gerald Pulane, Jandre de Beer, Mark Etzebeth (2), Aphelele Madaka, Siyabonga Khoza. Conversions: Renier Stander, Zinedine Robinson.
Toyota Free State – Tries: Franco Smith, Siyande Cele (2), Cohen Jasper (2). Conversions: Jan Strydom.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 80 (38), Valke 10 (3)
The Vodacom Blue Bulls scored 10 tries and were awarded a penalty try in their 80-10 romp over the Valke, with their backline running amok thanks to heaps of possession. The victors already held a commanding 38-3 lead at the break and had way too much class for their opponents.
David Kellerman (centre) and Kabelo Mokoena (winger) got a hat-trick each. Kellerman's third try was a spectacular solo effort, beating numerous defenders in a weaving run from 50 meters out.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls were slow out of the blocks, but once they crossed the Valke try-line, they kept scoring with regular intervals. The East Randers had to defend for long spells, not often that effectively, and were guilty of slipping off too many first-time tackles.
They did find some rhythm in the second half and were awarded a penalty try when a Blue Bulls defender slapped down a potential try-scoring pass, but generally, it was a long afternoon for the Valke.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Janco Uys, Werner Gouws, Hendrik du Toit, Conner Mahoney, David Kellerman (3), Kabelo Mokoena (3), Eddie Swart, Penalty try. Conversions: Lionel April (7), Ruben Liebenberg (2).
Valke – Penalty try. Penalty goal: Adriaan Gravett.
Xerox Golden Lions 111 (73), Phakisa Pumas 5 (0)
The Xerox Golden Lions totally outplayed the Phakisa Pumas, scoring 17 tries. Much can be said about the good interplay by the home side, with Muzi Manyike's (centre) energetic effort giving him a hat-trick, but the visitors did not offer too much of a defensive effort.
They fell off tackles just too easily. That said, the home side kept up the pressure, made some telling breaks and clearly enjoyed themselves out there.
The Phakisa Pumas did score the last try of the match, but it was scant consolation for the punishment they endured for the rest of the encounter.
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Morne Brandon, Adrian Alberts, Tristan Dullisear, Sibusiso Sangweni, Lindo Ncusane, Reghardt Roets, Noegh Hayward, Muzi Manyike (3), Wyclef Vlitoor, Shaun-Christian Baxter, Renaldo Kuppen, Eckhard Boshoff, Ronaldo Pedro, Neil Hoffman (2). Conversions: Roets (9), Hoffman (4).
Phakisa Pumas - Try: Braam de Villiers.
Day One Coastal Section fixtures, Paarl Gymnasium – Tuesday, 24 September:
14h30: DHL Western Province v Boland
16h00: Eastern Province v Cell C Sharks
Day Two Inland Section fixtures, Emirates Airline Park – Wednesday, 25 September:
10h00: Valke v Phakisa Pumas
12h00: Xerox Golden Lions v Leopards
14h00: Vodacom Blue Bulls v Toyota Free State