A draw and three close wins sum up the results in the opening round of the Currie Cup First Division, sponsored by DirectAxis Financial Services, in the four matches played in Brakpan, Welkom, Potchefstroom and Montagu this weekend.
There was a thrilling finish in Brakpan in a replay of last year’s final, where defending champions, the SWD Eagles, needed two late tries to draw level with the Valke, 33-33.
The home team from the East Rand led by 33-19 with five minutes to go, but allowed the team from the Southern Cape to score twice for a stalemate.
Also on Saturday, the Jaguares XV had to dig deep to win their competition debut by 50-43 against a spirited Down Touch Griffons side in Welkom.
The visitors from Argentina needed a late converted try to beat the Northern Free Staters in a match that yielded 13 five-pointers.
Valentino Wellman scored three tries for the Boland Cavaliers as they fought back to beat the Border Bulldogs by 31-20 in a sunny Montagu.
The Bolanders were behind at the break and scored twice in the final 10 minutes for some breathing space on the score-board, but with this performance they continued with their recent impressive form in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
And in the final match played on the weekend, in Potchefstroom, the Leopards beat the EP Elephants by 15-12 in a tough game where the home team’s resolute defence late in the match contributed to their win.
Both sides scored twice, but in the end the difference was a penalty goal by SW Oosthuizen for the home team.
Valke 33 SWD Eagles 33
Valke – Tries: Martin Sithole, Andries Truter, Anrich Richter, Thabo Mabuza, Coert Cronje. Conversions: Anrich Richter (4).
SWD Eagles – Tries: Vuyo Mbotho, Buran Parks, Shario Rosenkrantz (2), Dillin Snel. Conversions: Gerhard Nortier, Leighton Eksteen (2).
Down Touch Griffons 43 Jaguares XV 50
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Domenic Smit (2), Arthur Williams, Cody-Anthony Basson, Nkosi Nofuma, Ethan Williams. Conversions: Jaywinn Juries (3), Robbie Petzer, Smit. Penalty goals: Juries.
Jaguares XV – Tries: Jose Luis Gonzales, Gregorio de Prete (2), Tomas Cubilla, Julian Domingeuz, Juan Pablo Castro Collado, Teo Castiglioni. Conversions: Martin Elias (6). Penalty goal: Elias.
Boland Cavaliers 31 Border Bulldogs 20
Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Warren Williams, Valentino Wellman (3), Clinton Theron. Conversions: Garrick Mattheus, Joshua Vermeulen (2).
Border Bulldogs – Tries: Lelethu Gcilishana, Athenkhosi Khetani, Billy Dutton. Conversion: Aphiwe Stemele. Penalty goal: Stemele.
Leopards 15 EP Elephants 12
Leopards – Tries: Edmund Rheeder, Pienaar van Niekerk. Conversion: SW Oosthuizen. Penalty goal: Oosthuizen.
EP Elephants – Tries: Meli Rokoua, Riaan Arendse. Conversion: Oliver Zono.
Source: SA Rugby