The Vodacom Bulls underlined their champion credentials with a 48-31 dismantling of DHL Western Province in the first semi-final in Pretoria on Friday night, with Cornal Hendricks crossing for two of their six tries, and Johan Goosen contributing 23 of the Pretorians’ points.
Edwill van der Merwe scored a hat-trick of tries for the Capetonians, but they were playing catch-up for the entire game after a brilliant start by the defending champions.
The second semi-final, at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban on Saturday, didn’t deliver the same abundance of tries and was more of a tactical arm-wrestle, and the Cell C Sharks’ experience and forward dominance ultimately paved the way for a 28-24 victory over a tough Tafel Lager Griquas outfit.
Kerron van Vuuren crossed for two maul tries for the hosts, whose defence stood firm as the men from the Northern Cape tried everything to ensure their fairy tale season continues for one more week, but ultimately it wasn’t to be.
The Carling Currie Cup final is scheduled to take place at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday, 11 September, with kick-off set for 17h00. The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
A rampant Vodacom Bulls side marched into their second successive home Carling Currie Cup Final as they thumped DHL Western Province 48-31 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday evening.
Jake White’s men outscored their age-old rivals by six tries to five in a fast and furious semi-final to book their place in next weekend’s decider, where they will face the winners of the other top-four clash between the Cell C Sharks and Tafel Lager Griquas in Durban on Saturday.
The defending champions were world-class as they played a complete brand of rugby, running circles around the Capetonians out wide and overpowering them when they went through channel one.
The halfback pairing of Zak Burger and Johan Goosen were superb in directing the destruction and the interplay between their forwards and backs was brilliant. Goosen produced a flawless goal-kicking performance to boot and scored one of the hosts’ tries to finish with a personal tally of 23 points.
DHL Western Province did well under-fire initially as they hit back with two tries, but the pace and power of the men from Pretoria saw them pull away in the second quarter.
Vodacom Bulls 48 (38) – Tries: Cornal Hendricks (2), Johan Goosen, Arno Botha, Lionel Mapoe, Marcell Coetzee. Conversions: Goosen (6). Penalty goals: Goosen (2).
DHL Western Province 31 (12) – Tries: Edwill van der Merwe (3), Hacjivah Dayimani, Andre-Hugo Venter. Conversions: Tim Swiel (3).
The Cell C Sharks will travel to Pretoria next weekend for their second successive appearance in the Carling Currie Cup final after they beat a game Tafel Lager Griquas, 28-24, in the second semi-final in Durban on Saturday evening.
Despite being on the back-foot at stages, the KwaZulu-Natalians showed great patience to outmuscle the visitors from the Northern Cape – with big lock Le Roux Roets prominent with ball in hand and on defence – outscoring their opponents by three tries to two in the process, with Kerron van Vuuren crossing for a brace for the hosts.
Both sides were guilty of making too many unforced errors and not really showing enough enterprise on attack, and while the Sharks improved as the game progressed, especially in defence, Griquas did not make their opportunities count.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Cell C Sharks though, especially in the first half, when Griquas enjoyed territorial advantage and kept the scoreboard ticking over through the metronomic boot of George Whitehead.
Failing to breach the hosts’ defence ended up costly though as the men from the Northern Cape’s campaign came to an end at Jonsson Kings Park, where the hosts showed great tactical awareness to hold onto the lead for the entire second half.
Cell C Sharks 28 (17) – Tries: Kerron van Vuuren (2), Marius Louw. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2). Penalty goals: Bosch (3).
Tafel Lager Griquas 24 (9) – Tries: Adre Smith, Johan Momsen. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalty goals: Whitehead (4).