The Durbanites switched to a higher gear in the second half of their match against Eastern Province to record a good 43-23 win, while the men from Cape Town crushed their Boland counterparts by 64-10 in a rather one-sided affair.
The second round of the Coastal Section, on Thursday 25 September, will see the Cell C Sharks take on Boland in the first game, before DHL WP take on EP.
In total, 20 tries were scored on the first day, with DHL WP hooker Jason Alexander grabbing a first-half hat-trick against Boland, and the Cell C Sharks’ livewire flanker Lunga Ncube crossing for two five-pointers on a windy day in Paarl.
Tomorrow, in the second day of action in the Inland Section at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, the Valke and Phakisa Pumas will play each other, while the semi-finals will be contested by the Xerox Golden Lions and the Leopards, and the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Toyota Free State.
Cell C Sharks 43 (17) Eastern Province 23 (16)
A strong second-half performance, spearheaded by a brace from Cell C Sharks flanker Lunga Ncube, steered the KwaZulu-Natalians to a 43-23 first round victory over Eastern Province in windy conditions at Paarl Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Despite being outplayed, Eastern Province hung in for dear life, but the Cell C Sharks lifted the intensity in the second half and in the end won at a canter, outscoring the men from the Eastern Cape by seven tries to two.
The Cell C Sharks dominated most of the first half, but failed to get ascendancy on the score-board, with their opponents from PE refusing to give up. Thanks mainly to the reliable kicking boot of Bryce Collins (flyhalf), EP trailed by only 17-16 at the break.
Eastern Province scored first when Cole Kirkwood went over in the corner, with Collins adding the extras, but thereafter the men from Durban scored three tries, by Jean Roux (winger), Cullen van der Merwe (hooker) and Asanda Kunene (winger).
While the Cell C Sharks missed two conversions, Collins kept calm and added three penalty goals to his team’s tally.
Ncube got the first points after the break, and although the EP boys hit back with a try by Lennox Holster (centre), the Cell C Sharks upped the pace and crossed for three more – Ncube got his double, while Rynhardt Jonker and Dylan Pretorius also crossed EP’s try-line.
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Jean Roux, Cullen van der Merwe, Asanda Kunene, Lunga Ncube (2), Rynhardt Jonker, Dylan Pretorius. Conversions: Lwandile Menze, Charl Janson, Pretorius (2).
Eastern Province – Tries: Cole Kirkwood, Lennox Holster. Conversions: Bryce Collins (2). Penalty goals: Collins (3).
DHL Western Province 64 (36) Boland 10 (3)
DHL Western Province hooker Jason Alexander’s three first-half tries set up a massive 64-10 victory over Boland at Paarl Gymnasium.
The livewire Alexander scored two early tries from lineout mauls, and added a third from a similar position later on as his team remained patient in the first half and took their opportunities, with the strong wind in their backs.
Apart from Alexander’s hat-trick, Ryan van Ster (winger), Matthew Cordy (flanker) and Juan Mostert (flyhalf) also crossed for tries before the break. Boland fullback Cullen Plaatjies scored his team’s only points with a penalty goal.
Mostert added three conversions to ensure the Captonians take a 36-3 lead into the second half, which was just the platform they needed to allow for enterprising interlinking between their forwards and backs, although their hands let them down from time to time.
The wind meant any form of tactical kicking by DHL WP was a gamble, but their ball-in-hand approach paid dividends as Thys Kitshoff (lock) crossed for their seventh try, converted by Brendan Venter (centre), shortly after the restart.
Feghon-Leigh Snyders (replacement flyhalf), Luciano Elias (scrumhalf) and Cordy also scored after the break and added to the Bolanders’ woes.
At the same time, the Boland bottled the few chances they had, which meant they spent most of the second half defending, with their backs against the wall and hardly any possession.
Boland flyhalf Caine Stadler scored a late try, but it was scant consolation for a tough match for the men from the Western Cape winelands.
DHL WP – Tries: Jason Alexander (3), Ryan van Ster, Matthew Cordy (2), Juan Mostert, Thys Kitshoff, Feghon-Leigh Snyders, Luciano Elias. Conversions: Mostert (3), Brendan Venter, Snyders (3).
Boland – Try: Caine Stadler. Conversion: Cullen Plaatjies. Penalty goal: Plaatjies.