First Division log-jam
Only one point separates four of the top five teams after the weekend's First Division action.
The competition on the First Division log table increased significantly this weekend with the Leopards’ defeat resulting in four of the top five teams being separated by only one log point.
The second-placed Leopards went down 47-50 against the SWD Eagles in Potchefstroom in a decisive result, as it allowed the Pumas to extend their lead at the top of the log to 10 points, while the trailing teams closed in on the side resulting in a log-jam.
The Leopards still managed to hold onto their second-place standing thanks to their two bonus points for losing within seven points and scoring more than four tries.
But the Eagles also boast 22 points, while the EP Kings and Boland Cavaliers are only one point back with seven rounds of pool matches remaining.
The Pumas extended their winning run to seven matches with a convincing 69-12 victory against the Falcons in Nelspruit, while the Boland Cavaliers defeated the Griffons 55-35 in Welkom and the EP Kings slotted over a late drop-goal to pip the Border Bulldogs 9-6 in Port Elizabeth.
The clash at Olen Park proved to be a real treat for the fans as the teams ran in a total of 11 tries and fought until the final whistle.
The Leopards had the first say as they built up a 10-0 lead nine minutes in for an encouraging start thanks to a converted try by Morne Hanekom and a penalty by flyhalf Adriaan Engelbrecht.
SWD, however, hit back with two converted tries before half-time to add to fullback Justin van Staden’s two penalties, while Engelbrecht managed another two three-pointers, which handed the visitors a narrow 20-16 lead at the break.
The second half, meanwhile, proved to be equally thrilling with the Leopards contributing five tries - two of which were scored early in the second half, and two in the dying minutes.
But unfortunately for the home team, three tries in quick succession by the Eagles midway through the half to add to another three Van Staden penalties proved to be enough to seal the 50-47 victory.
In Nelspruit, the Pumas dominated completely and reaped the rewards as they ran circles around the Falcons from the outset.
In total the team scored nine tries and conceded only two. Such was their supremacy they secured their bonus-point try on the stroke of half-time to add to sharpshooter Carl Bezuidenhout’s flawless kicking performance of four conversions and two penalties, which earned them a 34-0 lead at the break.
The home team continued to run riot in the second half as the Falcons were reduced to 14 men, with the side crossing the try-line four times in the first 10 minutes to push the match out of reach for the Kempton Park side.
The Falcons, however, fought back with tries by Juan Kotze and Vince Gwavu in the 55th and 63rd minute respectively for their only points of the match. But the Pumas again flexed their muscles seven minutes from time as flank Jaco Bouwer crossed the chalk for the team’s ninth try and their seventh victory in a row.
The Boland Cavaliers, meanwhile, overcame a tightly-fought first half against the Griffons in Welkom to return to their winning ways and secure their fifth victory of the season.
The teams were level on 22-22 at the break with three tries a piece. But the Cavaliers broke away in the second half thanks to a fine attacking display, which earned them five tries - three of which were scored in nine minutes - to force them onto the front foot and cancelled out the Griffons two tries.
Boland flyhalf Eric Zana’s pin-point goal-kicking also contributed to his teams significant lead as he slotted over six conversions and a penalty compared to only two conversions and two penalties by his Griffons counterpart Louis Strydom.
In Port Elizabeth the Border Bulldogs’ brave defence forced the EP Kings to fight for their 9-6 victory despite dominating possession in the last 60 minutes.
Such was the tight nature of the game, the first points were scored in the 36th minute thanks to a penalty by EP Kings fullback Ntabeni Dukisa.
His Bulldogs counterpart Dale Sabbagh, meanwhile, slotted over two penalties in five minutes in the second half to take a 6-3 lead in the 52nd minute.
The teams continued to battle it out for the next 20 minutes, but a mistake by the visitors handed Dukisa another shot at goal, which left the teams level on 6-6 with nine minutes to go.
Dukisa, however, saved the day as his drop-goal attempt in the dying minutes proved successful for a 9-6 victory.
First Division Round Seven results and scorers:
Leopards 47-50 SWD Eagles
For the Leopards:
Tries: Marutlulle, Buys, Laker, Dreyer, Hanekom 2
Cons: Engelbrecht 4
Pens: Engelbrecht 3
For the SWD Eagles:
Tries: Bock, Meslane, Smith, Du Toit, Raubenheimer
Cons: Van Staden 5
Pens: Van Staden 5
Leopards: 15 Jarryd Buys, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 George Tossel, 11 Luther Banks St Charles Obi, 10 Adriaan Engelbrecht, 9 Johann Laker, 8 Morne Hanekom, 7 Robert Kruger, 6 Henro Swart, 5 Brendon Snyman (captain), 4 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3 Elardus Venter, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Peet van der Walt, 19 Bernie van Rooyen, 20 Tiaan Dorfling, 21 Charl Weideman, 22 Edmar Marais.
SWD Eagles: 15 Justin van Staden, 14 Clinton Wagman, 13 Gerrit Smith, 12 Jeff Taljard, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Jandré Blom, 8 Kabamba Floors (captain), 7 Shaun Raubenheimer, 6 Buran Parks, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey.
Replacements: 16 Layle Delo, 17 Raoul Larson, 18 Lourens Marthinus Du Toit, 19 Dumisane Meslane, 20 Mzo Dyantyi, 21 Daniel Roberts, 22 Mbembe Payi.
Pumas 69-12 Falcons
For the Pumas:
Tries: Fourie, Terblanche, Bouwer, Momberg, Bell, Speckman, Kember, Watermeyer 2
Cons: Bezuidenhout 9
Pens: Bezuidenhout 2
For the Falcons:
Tries: Kotze, Gwavu
Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 JW Bell, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 RW Kember (captain), 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Jaco Bouwer, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 De-Jay Terblanche, 2 Jacques Momberg, 1 Corné Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Vincent Koch, 17 Drew van Coller, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 Christo le Roux, 20 Shaun Harold Venter, 21 Tiaan Marx, 22 Jerome Pretorius.
Falcons: 15 Wesley Roberts, 14 Arno Poley, 13 Coert Cronje, 12 Christo Joubert, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Jaun Kotze, 9 Arafaat Kock, 8 Jacques Verwey, 7 Francois Fourie, 6 Bruce Muller, 5 JP Mostert (captain), 4 Jacques Alberts, 3 Dandre van der Westhuizen, 2 Birtie Powell, 1 Wessel Du Rand.
Replacements: 16 Nico Engelbrecht, 17 Nicolaas Pretorius, 18 Friedle Olivier, 19 Vince Gwavu, 20 Anrich Richter, 21 Kyle Hendricks, 22 Franco Maritz.
Griffons 35-55 Boland Cavaliers
For the Griffons:
Tries: Demas, Kritzinger, Nel, Daniller, Griesel
Cons: Strydom 2
Pens: Strydom 2
For the Boland Cavaliers:
Tries: April 2, Williams, Lewis, Zana, Van Zyl, Pretorius, Pienaar
Cons: Zana 6
Griffons: 15 Aubrey McDonald, 14 Danwel Demas, 13 Werner Griesel (captain), 12 Japie Nel, 11 Shaun Prins, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Oshwill Nortje, 8 Tertius Daniller, 7 Mlungisi Bali, 6 Martin Sithole, 5 Lehan Koekemoer, 4 Chris Ehlers, 3 Daniel van der Merwe, 2 JC van Wyk, 1 Kevin Stevens.
Replacements: 16 Derick van Heerden, 17 Heinrich Roelfse, 18 Jeremy Jordaan, 19 Willmar Groenewald, 20 Inus Kritzinger, 21 Tertius Maarman, 22 Ashwin Scott.
Boland Cavaliers: 15 Jacquin Jansen, 14 Cheswin Williams, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Braam Gerber, 11 Brendon April, 10 Eric Zana, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Alwyn Bester, 7 PJ van Zyl, 6 Franzel September (captain), 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Ben Venter, 3 Jacques Kotze, 2 Clemen Lewis, 1 Francois Hanekom.
Replacements: 16 Ulrich Pretorius, 17 Rossouw Kruger, 18 Bradley Fortuin, 19 Thor Halvorsen, 20 Ntando Kebe, 21 Wynand Pienaar, 22 Cheslyn Roberts.
EP Kings 9-6 Border Bulldogs
For the EP Kings:
Pens: Dukisa 2
For the Border Bulldogs:
Pens: Sabbagh 2
EP Kings: 15 Ntabeni Dukisa, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Siyanda Grey, 12 Tiger Mangweni (captain), 11 Michael Killian, 10 Marlou van Niekerk, 9 Boela Abrahams, 8 Stephan Zaayman, 7 Mpho Mbiyozo, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Wayne van Heerden, 4 Samora Fihlani, 3 Lizo Gqoboka, 2 Albe De Swardt, 1 Marzuq Maarman.
Replacements: 16 Coenraad Britz, 17 Abongile Enoch Mnyaka, 18 Thabo Mamojele, 19 Kuselo Moyake, 20 Kayle van Zyl, 21 Wayne Stevens, 22 Brian Skosana.
Border Bulldogs: 15 Dale Sabbagh, 14 Chumani Booi, 13 Quinton Crocker, 12 Dwayne Jenner, 11 Chrislyn van Schalkwyk, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Sinovuyo Nyoka, 8 Rynardt van Wyk, 7 Gareth Krause (captain), 6 Siyabulela Mdaka, 5 Stephan Gerber, 4 Anthonie Gronum, 3 Wesley Cloete, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Blake Kyd.
Replacements: 16 Khwezi Mkhafu, 17 Renier Schoeman, 18 Nomani Tonga, 19 Juan Pretorius, 20 Shannon Rick, 21 Niell Jacobs, 22 Andrew van Wyk.
First Division log:
(Played, won, points)
Pumas (7, 7, 32)
Leopards (7, 4, 22)
Eagles (7, 4, 22)
EP Kings (7, 4, 21)
Cavaliers (7, 5, 21)
Griffons (7, 1, 10)
Bulldogs (7, 1, 9)
Falcons (7, 1, 9)