The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Cell C Sharks’ fighting spirit steered them to victory in a thrilling weekend of Currie Cup – sponsored by Nashua and Direct Axis – by action as they scored late tries to maintain their breathing space over the chasing pack on the log.
The Cell C Sharks’ victory by 21-20 over DHL Western Province in Cape Town was their fifth win in a row. Defending champions, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs registered a 30-24 victory against the Xerox Golden Lions in Bloemfontein, and on Friday evening the Steval Pumas pummelled the Vodacom Blue Bulls 51-15 in Nelspruit.
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs scored their match-winning try in the last run of play against the Xerox Golden Lions in Bloemfontein to secure a 30-24 victory to retain the top spot on the log. The first half was competitive as the sides earned a try each, but two penalty goals pushed the hosts 13-7 ahead.
The match came to life in the second half as they ran hard at one another, and the visitors found themselves 24-23 ahead with three minutes left. But Sergeal Petersen crossed the tryline in 81st minute to snatch the win.
A late try by the Cell C Sharks with DHL Western Province reduced to 14 men due to a yellow card earned them a narrow 21-20 victory in the Mother City.
The hosts took a 17-14 lead at the break with a penalty goal being the difference on the scoreboard, but the Cell C Sharks scored their third try with six minutes to play to earn the victory. The KwaZulu-Natalians, however, failed to capitalise on a handful of possible tries due to mistakes at crucial times as the hosts applied immense pressure with their solid defence.
In Nelspruit on Friday, the Steval Pumas delivered a dominant performance against the Vodacom Blue Bulls to secure a rewarding 51-15 victory and their second win in a row.
Once again the Pretoria side’s ill-discipline was costly as they earned three yellow cards. It was, however, the Steval Pumas ability to convert their chances into points that handed them the edge, as the visitors created chances, but mistakes at crucial times cost them.
The hosts crossed the tryline three times in the first half and built on this in the second half with another five tries, with hooker Mark Pretorius earning his hat-trick.
Currie Cup Tound 7 results and scorers:
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 30 (13) Xerox Golden Lions 24 (7)
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Rosko Specman, Sergeal Petersen, Gerhard Olivier. Conversions: William Small-Smith (2), Robbie Petzer. Penalty Goals: Robbie Petzer (3).
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Andries Ferreira, Fabian Booysen, Hacjivah Dayimani. Conversions: Jaco Van der Walt (3).Penalty Goal: Jaco Van der Walt.
DHL Western Province 20 (17) Cell C Sharks 21 (14)
DHL Western Province – Tries: Jaco Coetzee, Huw Jones. Conversions: Damian Willemse (2). Penalty Goals: Damian Willemse (2).
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Franco Marais, Inny Radebe, Penalty Try. Conversions: Inny Radebe, Rhyno Smith.
Steval Pumas 51 (22) Vodacom Blue Bulls 15 (10)
Steval Pumas – Tries: Khwezi Mona, Mark Pretorius (3), Thembelani Bholi, Stefan Ungerer, Ruwellyn Isbell, Frankie Herne. Conversions: Gerhard Smith, Kobus Marais (3). Penalty Goal: Kobus Marais.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Andre Warner, Warrick Gelant. Conversion: Joshua Stander. Penalty Goal: Joshua Stander.