Despite losing in dramatic fashion in Cape Town to a spirited Tafel Lager Griquas side, DHL Western Province still occupy top spot on the standings, but if the Lowvelders get the better of the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday, they will rise to first.
The other Premier Division match scheduled for this weekend, in Durban between the Cell C Sharks and the Sigma Lions, has been cancelled.
Meanwhile, three First Division matches are scheduled for Saturday afternoon – Boland host SWD in Wellington (13h00), there is a big Eastern Cape derby scheduled for East London, where Border will take on Eastern Province (15h00), while the only two unbeaten sides clash when the Valke travel to Welkom to take on the Down Touch Griffons (14h00).
Tafel Lager Griquas shocked DHL Western Province in the Mother City on Wednesday, beating the hosts 30-28 to secure a dramatic Carling Currie Cup victory at Cape Town Stadium.
Cameron Lindsay (lock) scored a try in injury time that levelled the scores, before George Whitehead (flyhalf) kicked the match-winning conversion. The men from the Northern Caps deserved the win, even if only for a bigger hunger to get over the line.
With DHL WP leading by 22-17 at halftime, Tafel Lager Griquas refused to give up and in the lead-up to Lindsay's try and the final conversion had another try ruled out due to a forward pass and knocked the ball on with an open try-line begging.
It was apt that Whitehead kicked the match-winning points as the veteran flyhalf kept the visitors in the hunt, responding to every surge DHL WP showed with good touch finders and his tally of three conversions and three penalty goals was as crucial as the last burst over the line by the visiting pack, with Lindsay amongst a heap of bodies that drove over the line.
DHL WP 28 (22) – Tries: JJ Kotze (2), Sergeal Petersen. Conversions: Tim Swiel (2). Penalty goals: Swiel (3).
Tafel Lager Griquas 30 (17) – Tries: Ashlon Davids, Daniel Kasende, Cameron Lindsay. Conversions: George Whitehead (3). Penalty goals: Whitehead (3).
The New Nation Pumas will travel to Bloemfontein high on confidence to take on the Toyota Cheetahs on Friday afternoon, as victory will lift them above DHL Western Province to the top of the Premier Division standings.
At the same time, the Free Staters will be looking for their first win of the 2021 Carling Currie Cup after they lost their opener and had their second encounter cancelled due to COVID-protocols.
Judging by the last time these two sides met, shortly before Christmas last year, supporters are in for a humdinger. The Toyota Cheetahs came away with a 35-31 victory in Nelspruit after both sides scored five tries apiece, with Frans Steyn’s accurate boot the difference in the end.
Steyn isn’t available for the Free Staters this weekend, while the New Nation Pumas squad have a very settled look at the moment and most of the players who faced the Toyota Cheetahs in December are available again this weekend.
Ruan Pienaar will again captain the Toyota Cheetahs and in Aidon Davis, Jacques Potgieter and Jeandré Rudolph they have a very capable loose trio, while the back three of Clayton Blommetjies, Duncan Saal and Cohen Jasper will be looking for attacking opportunities.
Toyota Cheetahs v New Nation Pumas
Date: Friday, 9 July
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Referees: Local appointments
Television Match Official: Ben Crouse
Victory for the Down Touch Griffons over the Valke at Griffons Stadium on Saturday afternoon will consolidate the Northern Free Staters’ spot at the top of the First Division standings, but they will have taken notice of the East Randers’ last-gasp win over the Leopards last weekend.
Should the Valke walk away with a bonus-point win and keep their hosts from getting any log points, the men from the East Rand will leapfrog both the Leopards and Down Touch Griffons into first place on the log after four rounds.
In the other matches, SWD and Border will be looking for their first victories of the season, against the Boland Kavaliers and Eastern Province respectively.
Boland lost to EP last weekend and will be keen to get back to winning ways against the Eagles in Wellington, while the Elephants will be looking on building some momentum when they head to East London to take on the Bulldogs.
The Leopards, currently second on the log, have a bye this weekend.
Boland Kavaliers v SWD Eagles
Date: Saturday, 10 July
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Griffin Colby
Down Touch Griffons v Valke
Date: Saturday, 10 July
Venue: Griffons Stadium, Welkom
Referee: Ruhan Meiring
Border Bulldogs v Eastern Province
Date: Saturday, 10 July
Venue: Police Park, East London
Referee: Paul Mente