The defending Currie Cup Premier Division champions, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, continued to stamp their authority early on in SA’s premier domestic competition this weekend to remain the only unbeaten team after two matches in the series.
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs’ effective rounding off earned them a 30-17 victory against DHL Western Province in Bloemfontein on Sunday, while the Xerox Golden Lions survived a determined fightback from Tafel Lager Griquas at Emirates Airline Park to secure a 48-43 victory on Saturday in the tournament proudly sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua.
In the other match, the Cell C Sharks secured a 29-0 victory against the Steval Pumas at Growthpoint Kings Park, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls had a bye.
The first half between the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and DHL Western Province was competitive despite the Capetonians dominating possession, with the hosts taking an 18-10 lead at the break thanks to two tries and two penalty goals to one of each by the visitors.
They continued to make good use of their opportunities in the second half and added two more tries for their bonus point and a 30-10 lead. Springbok Sevens player Rosko Specman was instrumental in their skilful attacking display thanks to his bursts of pace and fantastic passing. DHL Western Province hit back in the last quarter, but they were only able to add one more converted try for their efforts, which took their score to 17 points. The clash between the Xerox Golden Lions and Tafel Lager Griquas was thrilling as the teams ran hard on attack throughout the match, which saw an exciting 13 tries being scored and both sides earning bonus points for tries. The Johannesburg team showed patience on attack throughout the match and capitalised on their try-scoring chances, which earned them five tries to the Kimberley side’s three in the first half and a 32-24 lead.
They stretched it to 45-25 minutes into the second half with back-to-back tries by Madosha Tambwe. But Tafel Lager Griquas fought back strongly with three tries in a row to trail 45-43 with four minutes left. However, a late penalty goal steered the hosts to a 48-43 victory.
The Cell C Sharks, meanwhile, forced their way to a 29-0 bonus-point victory against the Steval Pumas despite an error-riddled performance, which denied them from scoring a handful of tries throughout the match. The KwaZulu-Natalians came within striking range of the tryline on a few occasions in the first half, but they were only able to score a penalty goal.
They improved their finishing in the second half and scored four tries, while they denied the Mpumalanga side from scoring a single point for the 29-0 victory.
With the Emirates Lions and Crusaders meeting in the Vodacom Super Rugby final at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday 5 August at 16h00, the Cell C Sharks will meet Tafel Lager Griquas in the only Currie Cup match on Friday 4 August at 19h00, while DHL Western Province will meet the Steval Pumas at 13h00 and the Vodacom Blue Bulls will take on the Xerox Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria at 19h00 on Saturdayrespectively.
Summary of final results and scorers in round two:
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: William Small-Smith, Francois Venter, Rosko Specman, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Niel Marais (2). Penalty Goals: Niel Marais (2).
DHL Western Province – Tries: Justin Phillips, Stephan De Wit. Conversions: Kurt Coleman, Brandon Thomson. Penalty Goals: Kurt Coleman.
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Pieter Jansen, Jarryd Sage, Jacques Nel, Madosha Tambwe (2), Jaco Van der Walt, Aphiwe Dyantyi. Conversions: Shaun Reynolds (5). Penalty Goal: Shaun Reynolds.
Tafel Lager Griquas: Tries: Christiaan Meyer (2), George Whitehead, Renier Botha, Enver Brandt, Ederies Arendse. Conversions: George Whitehead (5). Penalty Goal: George Whitehead.
Cell C Sharks: Tries: Sbusiso Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Jeremy Ward, Kobus van Wyk. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3). Penalty Goal: Curwin Bosch.