The ORC Griquas consolidated their position at the top of the Absa Currie Cup Qualifier log with a seven-try 47-20 win over the Down Touch Griffons at Griquas Park in Kimberley on Saturday. They now have a six-point cushion over the Leopards (10 points), who had a bye this weekend.
Griquas scored six tries in the second half to easily overcome the visitors and increase their log points to 16 after four games in the race for promotion to the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division.
In the two matches played on Friday night, the Hino Valke caused an upset when they scraped to a 13-12 win over the Border Bulldogs, down to 13 men at one stage, to hand the East London side their first defeat of the campaign. At Outeniqua Park in George the Boland Cavaliers kicked a last minute penalty to force a 28-all draw against SWD Eagles. Despite collecting two points, the Eagles remain anchored at the foot of the table and are winless after four games.
ORC Griquas 47 (7) Down Touch Griffons 20 (6)
It was the Griquas’ third-bonus point win from four matches, but throughout the first 35 minutes they were pinned back by an enthusiastic Griffons team who were prepared to run the ball and showed some neat handling skills. The Griquas defence was severely tested by the waves of attacks, and were lucky to be just six points down from two Franna du Toit penalties after 30 minutes.
Whenever the hosts did get the ball from broken play, their handling let them down. That was until Griquas No 10 Francois Brummer changed the game with a superb chip over the defence for centre Jonathan Francke to gather and score under the posts. The Griffons were firmly in the game at halftime, but they had no answer to the onslaught that followed. Four minutes after the resumption, No 8 Carel Greef peeled away from a maul and then the nippy No 9 Tian Meyer surged through the backline after quick handling by flank RJ Liebenberg. With Prinsloo converting both tries, Griquas suddenly had a healthy 15 points lead at 21-6.
No matter how hard they fought, the Griffons could not release the relentless pressure and four more tries followed. Wing Ntabeni Dukisa shrugged off a series of weak tackles and then Brummer was at the end of a great break by Greeff. Hugo Kloppers was put through by Prinsloo and Martin Bezuidenhout was given the scoring pass by Kloppers from a line-out five metres out. The scoreline was eventually given some respectability by two break-out tries in the last five minutes by wings Vuyo Mbotho and Norman Nelson, converted by Wynand Pienaar.
ORC Griquas (47): Tries Jonathan Francke, Carel Greeff, Ntubeni Dukisa, Tian Meyer, Francois Brummer, Hugo Kloppers, Martin Bezuidenhout; Conversions Gouws Prinsloo (6):
Down Touch Griffons (20): Tries: Vuyo Mbotho, Norman Nelson; Conversions Wynand Pienaar (2). Penalties: Franna du Toit (2).
Border Bulldogs 12 (6) Hino Valke 13 (3)
The difference between the two teams at the Buffalo Stadium was the penalty try awarded to the Valke after the Border captain, Blake Kyd, was sent off the field for obstruction halfway through the second half. The incident occurred just two minutes after Border lock Wandile Putuma was yellow carded, thus handing the visitors a two-man advantage.
Otherwise, it was a game of penalty kicks, with the promising former Dale College fullback Logan Basson, a 32 minutes injury replacement for the influential Masixole Banda, kicking three penalties. Border more than held their own with some bone-crunching tackling but they were unable to breach the defensive line. The result is a bitter blow for Border, who had won their two previous ties against Griquas and Boland and were expected to win in front of a vociferous home crowd.
Border: Penalties: Masixole Banda (1), Logan Basson (3).
Hino Valke: Penalty try. Conversion: Juan Kotze. Penalties: Kotze (2).
SWD Eagles 28 (22) Boland Cavaliers 28 (11)
The Boland Cavaliers fought-back from an 11-point deficit to snatch a last gasp 28-all draw against the Eagles at Outeniqua Park in George. Replacement flyhalf Adriaan Carelse kicked the last minute penalty to draw the scores level.
The Eagles must have thought that they had done enough when fullback Elric van Vuuren slotted a penalty to open up a three-point lead with two minutes remaining. Van Vuuren kicked 23 points via seven penalties and a conversion, while wing Denwal Demas ran in a brace of tries for the visitors. Van Vuuren slotted four penalties in the first stanza and he also converted the try of No 9 Johannes Steyn, who dotted down six minutes before the break. However, Boland were kept in the match by Demas’ first try while fullback Eric Zana landed two penalties as SWD led 22-11 at halftime.
The visitors were more competitive after the restart, with Demas going over for his second try and Van Vuuren adding another penalty to cut the deficit to 25-18. They levelled matters three minutes later through a try by Yves Bashiya (flank). In a thrilling finish, Van Vuuren and Carelse traded penalties to lock the entertaining match at 28-all.
SWD Eagles – Try: Johannes Steyn; Conversion: Elric van Vuuren; Penalties: Van Vuuren (7).
Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Denwal Demas (2), Yves Bashiya; Conversions: Eric Zana (2); Penalties: Zana (2), Adriaan Carelse.