There are no undefeated teams left in the Under-21 provincial championships, and with five teams having suffered only one defeat this far, there are no clear favourites either after four rounds of play.
The Golden Lions, Blue Bulls and KwaZulu-Natal all scored good wins this past weekend, with the latter beating log leaders Free State in Bloemfontein.
Scores and scorers:
Free State 25-36 Sharks
The coastal team won 36-25 after a 10-8 lead at the break. Nine tries in all were scored, with both teams earning their bonus point try.
KZN held a slender lead at the break, mainly due to poor goal kicking from Free State fullback Marco Mason, who missed three penalty kicks.
The second half saw a much more fluent effort from both sides and with the game opening up, some great tries were scored.
The Free State were leading 25-22 with less than 10 minutes to go, but tries by André Esterhuizen and Guy Alexander not only secured the bonus point, but also the win.
Tries: De Klerk, Claassen, Botha, Kruger
Tries: Esterhuizen 2, Cope, Alexander, Meyer
Cons: Cope, Du Preez 3
Free State: 15 Marco Mason, 14 Maputha Dolo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Niel Marais (captain), 11 Jan Jonathan Stephanus de Klerk, 10 Noel Marx, 9 Stephen Griesel, 8 Henco Greyling, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Wikus Davis, 3 Luan De Bruin, 2 Wickus Deysel, 1 Philip Rudolf Botha.
Replacements: 16 Ockert du Toit, 17 Carl van Heerden, 18 Philip du Preez, 19 Tyron Schultz, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Pieter Gerhard Morton, 22 Sethu Tom.
Sharks: 15 Andre Esterhuizen, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Tyler Fisher, 12 Garath Robert Meikle, 11 Alcino Marchiano Izaacs, 10 Brendan Cope, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Guy Alexander (captain), 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Dylan Mike Nel, 5 Joseph Stephanus Theuns Lewies, 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Nico Van Dyk, 2 Gregory Bauer, 1 Allan Dell.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Taylor, 17 Simon Kerrod, 18 Wade Dean Elliot, 19 Murray Bondesio, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Michael Rudger Gerhardus Bernardt.
Border 14-66 Blue Bulls
The Border Bulldogs shocked the Blue Bulls in their opening match last year, but there was no fairy tale this time against the defending champions in East London on Saturday.
The visitors scored ten tries in their 66-14 romp, with Travis Ismaiel getting a brace and Tony Jantjies scoring 17 points.
The Junior Springbok pivot kicked six conversions and scored a try.
The Blue Bulls scored five tries in the first half and had a 35-7 lead at the break.
Tries: Bester, Wagenaar
Cons: Lehmann 2
Tries: Ismaiel 2, Jantjies, Bosch, Van Wyk, Van Wyk, Visagie, Stiglingh, Willemse, Smit
Cons: Jantjies 6, Theo 2
Border: 15 Janco Lehmann, 14 Shaun Nieuwenhuyzen, 13 Riaan Van Zyl, 12 Lukhanyo Am, 11 Emihle Nande Baneti, 10 Angus Andrew Cleophas, 9 Graham Patrick O'Leary, 8 Stephan Deyzel, 7 Ernst Ladendorf, 6 Juan Bester (captain), 5 Marlyn Williams, 4 Johan Wagenaar, 3 Nhlanhla Ngcamu, 2 Nicol du Plessis, 1 Johannes le Roux du Plooy.
Replacements: 16 Jan Hendrik Botha, 17 James Michael Flynn, 18 Claude Jason Johannes, 19 Christopher James Richardson, 20 Ryan Carmichael, 21 Etienne Taljaard, 22 Lungelo Kepe.
Blue Bulls: 15 Damian van Wyk, 14 Jade Kyle Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Nardus van der Walt, 7 Jacques Du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg (captain), 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Replacements: 16 Jason Thomas, 17 Johann Neethling Fouché, 18 Johannes Casper Kirsten, 19 Shaun Adendorff, 20 Kefentse Seshego Mahlo, 21 Malcolm Theo, 22 Christopher Bosch.
Leopards 23-24 Golden Lions
In a nail-biting affair in Potchefstroom, the Golden Lions squeezed past the Leopards with a 24-23 win after former Junior Springbok fullback Marais Schmidt kicked a late penalty.
The half-time score was 10-9 in favour of the home side.
The only try in the first 40 minutes belonged to the Leopards, with highly-rated No.8 Jaco Buys scoring, and the visitors replying via the accurate boot of Schmidt, who kicked three penalties.
In the second stanza a yellow card to Golden Lions hooker Mark Pretorius gave Warren Gilbert a chance to extend the Leopards lead and he kicked another before the hooker returned.
A try by Albert Smith, converted by Schmidt, drew the scores level after an hour’s play.
The Leopards again nudged ahead when Erno Nagy was worked over and had his try converted. Jacques Nel's try with ten minutes to play left the visitors short after Schmidt pulled his conversion, but a successful penalty attempt by the fullback in the last couple of minutes got his side past the line.
Tries: Nagy, Buys
Cons: Gilbert 2
Pens: Gilbert 3
Tries: Smith, Nel
Pens: Schmidt 4
Leopards: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Ryno Smith, 13 Rowayne Beukman, 12 Tiaan Loots, 11 Wynand Olivier, 10 Warren Gilbert, 9 Jaco Grobler, 8 Jaco Buys, 7 Dean Andrew Basson, 6 Jaco Jordaan, 5 Marno Redelinghuys, 4 Ettienne Smith, 3 Louwrens Strydom, 2 Armandt Stoman, 1 Arno Ebersohn (captain).
Replacements: 16 Eugene Le Maitre, 17 Thokoza Ndlela, 18 Erno Nagy, 19 Neil Loftus Morrison, 20 Thomas Leon Meyer, 21 Bouke Marnus Tack, 22 Jacobus Johannes du Plessis.
Golden Lions: 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 Gideon Johannes Meiring, 13 Jacques Jehan Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Damian Courtney Engledoe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Percy Williams, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 Stephan Andre Vermeulen, 4 Ruan Christov Venter, 3 Nico Visser Du Plessis, 2 Mark Pretorius (captain), 1 Henri Boshoff.
Replacements: 16 Rikus van Niekerk, 17 Pieter Andries Bothma, 18 Jannie Stander, 19 Albertus Stephanus Smith, 20 Wynand Johannes Venter, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Peter-John Walters.