While the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks have secured home semi-finals, the Toyota Cheetahs and Sigma Lions have dropped out of the playoff race.
The final spots in the top four can go to any two of the other three teams though, after Tafel Lager Griquas and the New Nation Pumas recorded victories to keep ensure they remain in the hunt.
After the penultimate round of action, the Vodacom Bulls still top the log on 44 points, followed by the Cell C Sharks on 40, Tafel Lager Griquas (33), the New Nation Pumas (32), DHL Western Province (30), Toyota Cheetahs (26) and Sigma Lions (24), with the men from Johannesburg having played their last match of the season.
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The New Nation Pumas strengthened their Carling Currie Cup playoff push courtesy of a 28-19 win over the Toyota Cheetahs in Nelspruit on Saturday.
Following their 33-26 midweek defeat to the Vodacom Bulls, the pressure was on Jimmy Stonehouse’s charges as a second loss to the Free Staters this season would have seriously dented their hopes of finishing in the top four.
However, they controlled the catfight throughout, using one of their best weapons – their well-structured driving maul – to punish the Toyota Cheetahs, with evergreen hooker and Champion of the Match Simon Westraadt scoring a brace.
New Nation Pumas 28 (18) – Tries: Simon Westraadt (2), Penalty try. Conversion: Eddie Fouché. Penalty goals: Fouché (3).
Toyota Cheetahs 19 (7) – Tries: Victor Sekekete, Andisa Ntsila, Clayton Blommetjies. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (2).
The Cell C Sharks guaranteed themselves what had always looked likely to be a home Carling Currie Cup semi-final with a smooth, try-studded 56-14 victory over a hard-working but out-gunned Sigma Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
With DHL Western Province slipping in Kimberley, the Durbanites secured their position in the top two following this eight-try romp in the late winter sun on the Highveld.
It took the visitors 19 minutes to overcome the Sigma Lions’ feisty opening (in which they won penalties at the first three scrums) but their optimism began to thin as it was held up to the light of the Cell C Sharks’ enterprise, with left wing Thaakir Abrahams, who continued to shine in his debut season, bagging a hat-trick of tries.
Sigma Lions 14 (0) – Tries: Emmanuel Tshituka, Jaco Visagie. Conversions: Jordan Hendrikse (2).
Cell C Sharks 56 (28) – Tries: Thaakir Abrahams (3), Anthony Volmink (2), Marius Louw, Phepsi Buthelezi, Sanele Nohamba. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (5), Boeta Chamberlain (3).
Tafel Lager Griquas gave their Carling Currie Cup playoff hopes a massive boost when they powered to a 46-25 bonus-point win over DHL Western Province on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Kimberley.
Scott Mathie’s men outscored the Capetonians by six tries to three to move up to third position on the log, where DHL Western Province had started the weekend.
It was a show of force by Tafel Lager Griquas, who outmuscled John Dobson’s charges everywhere but in the scrums. They dominated the gain line battle and made several smashing hits to send DHL Western Province crashing to fifth place.
Three unanswered tries just before and after half-time saw the home team pull away from the Capetonians, who made life hard for themselves – particularly at restarts – couldn’t recover.
Tafel Lager Griquas 46 (24) – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Hanru Sirgel, Adré Smith, Ruan Steenkamp, James Verity-Amm (2). Conversions: George Whitehead (5). Penalty goals: Whitehead (2).
DHL Western Province 25 (18) – Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Neethling Fouché. Conversion: Tim Swiel (2). Penalty goals: Swiel (2).