GWK Griquas have bolstered their place in the top spot on the points table of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division qualifiers after beating the Down Touch Griffons 43-24 in the Northwest Stadium in Welkom on Saturday afternoon.
The Kimberley-based side ran in seven tries to accumulate the full five points and now find themselves six points above the second-placed Leopards, who had a bye this weekend.
Elsewhere on Saturday, a two try burst by the SWD Eagles saw them secure a hard-fought 21-17 (halftime 7-10) victory over hosts Regent Boland Cavalier in Wellington.
The Cavaliers were looking to record a second victory in the qualifiers after thumping Border 37-12 the previous Saturday. SWD had been on the receiving end of a 52-34 hammering from the Valke at Outeniqua Park in George and needed to bounce back strongly.
In the remaining match, the Valke turned in a superb second-half performance on their way to a 54-40 (half-time 12-26) victory over the Border Bulldogs at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park.
Border made a strong start and the home team was staring down the barrel trailing by 21 points soon after halftime. But led by 21 points from fullback Juan Kotze, the Valke scored 28 unanswered points in an impressive finish to secure their second win of the campaign.
After Saturday’s round of matches, Griquas lead the log standings with 18 points after four matches, followed by Leopards on 12, the Valke and SWD Eagles (both 10), Regent Boland Cavaliers and Down Touch Griffons (both 7) and Border Bulldogs (1).
GWK Griquas 43 (25) Down Touch Griffons 24 (3)
On the day it was the rolling maul that proved to be effective, with flanker Carel Greeff scoring three times after the visitors gained some valuable momentum in Kimberley.
It was the Griffons that started the better of the two sides, with winger Norman Nelson running in for the hosts’ first try as early as the second minute. Flyhalf Colin Herbert, son of the legendary Griffons flyhalf Eric, was successful with the conversion to give the Griffons a seven-point lead.
That sparked Griquas to life and what followed was four unanswered tries, of which two were scored by Greeff. Lock Jonathan Adendorf jotted down first for the visitors, followed by winger Ederies Arendse a couple of minutes later.
Winger Nico Scheepers converted one try before Greeff scored the first of two tries in the first 40 minutes. Scheepers could however only convert one of those, which resulted in a halftime score of 24-7 in favour of the visitors.
The Griffons started a fightback in the first half, with fullback Tertius Maarman scoring one minute after the kickoff. Greeff stepped to the plate again for Griquas, scoring an unconverted try before flyhalf Francois Brummer scored and converted one of his own for the Peacock Blues.
During the last 20 minutes some entertaining rugby was showcased, with centre Japie Nel scoring for the Griffons before Griquas centre Howard Mnisi answered back with a five pointer of his own. Griffons prop Danie van der Merwe had the last say in the game, scoring a try two minutes from time, but it was too little too late for the Welkom based side.
GWK Griquas 43 (24): Tries: Carel Greeff (3), Jonathan Adendorf, Ederies Arendse, Francois Brummer, Howard Mnisi. Conversions: Nico Scheepers (2), Francois Brummer (2).
Down Touch Griffons 24 (7): Tries: Norman Nelson, Japie Nel, Tertius Maarman, Danie van der Merwe. Conversions: Colin Herbert, Pieter-Steyn de Wet.
SWD Eagles 21 (7) Regent Boland Cavaliers 17 (10)
At Wellington, SWD Eagles were first to score when centre Daniel Roberts pounced on a loose pass and scored a try with just ten minutes gone in the encounter. Flyhalf Karlo Aspeling added the extras before Eric Zana opened the hosts’ account with a long range penalty attempt thereafter.
Burly prop Khwezi Mkhafu showed deftness and skills not normally associated with a front ranker and gave Boland the lead when he ran in for his try. Zana edged the Cavaliers slightly further ahead with his penalty and the score remained 10-7 going into the break.
After halftime replacement scrumhalf Dwayne Kelly took the ball from a lineout near halfway and ran a superb line to the tryline. Fullback Elric van Vuuren had taken over the kicking duties and made no mistake with his conversion. The visitors were ahead 14-10 and looked dangerous with ball in hand.
Winger Brian Skosana rounded off a superb team try minutes later after some excellent interplay saw him break free. Hooker Kurt Haupt and centre Martin du Toit both featured in this passage of play as the Eagles surged ahead. Van Vuuren again slotted over the conversion and SWD were looking good at 21-10 going into the final part of the match.
The combination of a rash of substitutions by Boland and the yellow carding of Haupt saw the hosts stage a late fight back. Zana went over after Albert Trytsman had manipulated the advantage of an extra man and converted his own try. Boland were unable to keep the ball and SWD edged the match with some resolute defence right at the death.
Regent Boland Cavaliers: Tries: Khwezi Mkhafu, Eric Zana; Conversions: Zana (2); Penalties: Zana.
SWD Eagles: Tries: Daniel Roberts, Dwayne Kelly, Brian Skosana; Conversions: Karlo Aspeling, Elric van Vuuren (2).
Valke 54 (12) Border Bulldogs 40 (26)
The Valke turned in a superb second-half performance on their way to a 54-40 (half-time 12-26) victory over the Border Bulldogs at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park.
Border had made a flying start at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park with veteran lock Gareth Krause scoring an unconverted try in the seventh minute. The Valke struck back six minutes later when hooker Chris Richardson crashed his way over before Border flyhalf Thembani Mkokeli restored the visitor’s lead with his first of two tries in the half.
Left wing Lindani Ndelela and Mkokeli, in first-half injury time, both score converted tries as Border eased to a 26-12 lead at half-time.
Lock Wayne Lemley added to the lead with a try within less than a minute of restart before the Valke clawed their way back. Left wing Grant Jancke streaked over for a try three minutes in to the half before tries from Kotze, scrumhalf Anrich Richter, flank Tobie Verwey, right wing Coert Cronje and replacement wing Etienne Taljaard secured an exciting victory.
The Bulldogs only added one more try to their total with replacement pivot Oliver Zono grabbing a consolation try with six minutes left in the game.
Valke: Tries: Chris Richardson, Cecil Dumond, Grant Jancke, Juan Kotze, Anrich Richter, Tobie Verwey, Coert Cronje, Etienne Taljaard; Conversions: Kotze (7).
Border Bulldogs: Tries: Gareth Krause, Thembani Mkokeli (2), Lindani Ndelela, Wayne Lemley, Oliver Zono; Conversions: Masixole Banda