Four teams still in the running for the three remaining semifinal spots
First Division log-leaders the Pumas secured the top spot on the log with two rounds of matches remaining as they held on narrowly for their 12th victory in as many matches.
This favourable position will guarantee them a home final should they win their semifinal at home in three weekends.
While the Pumas worked their way into a cushy position on the log, the scramble for semifinal places continued with four teams still in the running for the three remaining semifinal spots.
The EP Kings, however, will have an edge in the next two weeks for the other home semi-final as they boast a five point lead over the third-placed Leopards, meaning they need only a bonus-point victory to finish the round robin stages in second place. The fourth-placed SWD Eagles, meanwhile, only trail the Leopards by one point, and boast a seven-point lead over the Boland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers, however, have a tough match ahead against the Pumas, and if they suffer a defeat, it would in all likelihood deal the killer blow to their semifinal hopes.
SWD Eagles 27-28 Pumas
In George the SWD Eagles put up a brave fight against the Pumas in the hope of boosting their home semifinal hopes, but their efforts were insufficient as the visitors secured a narrow 28-27 victory.
The Eagles started the clash strongly as they out-scored the visitors two tries to one in the first half, while fullback Justin van Staden kicked two penalties to match that by Pumas flyhalf JC Roos. This earned the home side an 18-13 lead at the break.
The Pumas crossed the tryline for their first of their two second-half tries in the 52nd minute, but these efforts were cancelled out by a penalty and drop goal by Van Staden.
The log-leaders, however, fought back in the dying minutes with Rosco Speckman crossing the tryline to come within striking range of a victory and they capped this off with a last-minute penalty by JC Roos to seal the 28-27 win.
For the SWD Eagles:
Tries: Smith, Oelofse
Con: Van Staden
DG: Van Staden
Pens: Van Staden 4
For the Pumas:
Tries: Van Wyk, Speckman 2
Cons: Roos 2
Pens: Roos 3
Eagles: 15 Gerrit Smith, 14 Clinton Wagman, 13 Luzuko Vulindlu, 12 Jeff Taljard, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Deroy Rhoode, 8 Kabamba Floors (Captain), 7 Buran Parks, 6 Shaun Raubenheimer, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey.
Replacements: 16 Wayne Khan, 17 Dean Hopp, 18 Grant le Roux, 19 Lyndon Hartnick, 20 Christo Du Plessis, 21 Jandré Blom, 22 Hentzwill Pedro.
Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 JC Roos, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 RW Kember, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Corne Steenkamp (Captain), 5 Eduan Van Der Walt, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Corné Fourie, 2 Francois Du Toit, 1 Vincent Koch.
Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 JW Bell, 22 Dewald Pretorius.
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende, André Goliath
Boland Cavaliers 19-40 EP Kings
The EP Kings dominated from the start against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington and earned three first-half tries and a 19-0 lead for their efforts.
The Kings continued their dominance after the break and earned their bonus point try two minutes in as Stefan Willemse dotted down the ball. This was followed up by two tries in three minutes by Steven Sykes and Cornell du Preez, which pushed the match out of reach for the home team.
But with nothing left to lose, the Cavaliers showed immense character and produced a late comeback thanks to two tries by Jason Kriel and one by Ulrich Pretorius to emerge from the match with a respectable score.
For the Boland Cavaliers:
Tries: Kriel 2, Pretorius
Cons: Zana 2
For the EP Kings:
Tries: Skosana, Du Preez, Killian, Willemse, Sykes, Penalty Try
Cons: Whitehead 3, Van Breda 2
Boland Cavaliers: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Adri Jacobs, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Braam Gerber, 11 Cheswin Williams, 10 Ricardo Croy, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Alwyn Bester, 7 Bradley Fortuin, 6 Franzel September (Captain), 5 PJ van Zyl, 4 Ben Venter, 3 Francois Hanekom, 2 Clemen Lewis, 1 Jacques Kotze.
Replacements: 16 Ulrich Pretorius, 17 Rossouw Kruger, 18 Hanno Kitshoff, 19 Lodewyk Uys, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Jacquin Jansen, 22 Jason Kriel.
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Michael Killian, 13 Wayne Stevens, 12 Tiger Mangweni (Captain), 11 Brian Skosana, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Devin Oosthuizen, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Wayne van Heerden, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Charl du Plessis, 2 Albe De Swardt, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Coenraad Britz, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Thabo Mamojele, 19 Tim Agaba, 20 Kayle van Zyl, 21 Ntabeni Dukisa, 22 Marcello Sampson.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Matt Kemp, Linston Manuels
Leopards 40-33 Griffons
The Leopards were made to work hard for their 40-33 victory against the Griffons in Potchefstroom as the visitors hung on until the last minute to create an upset. Such was the tight nature of the match it took a try on the stroke of full-time by the Leopards to secure the victory.
The teams were closely matched from the outset as the Leopards scored three tries to the Griffons’ two in the first half, which allowed the visitors to enter the break with a 19-14 lead.
The Griffons continued to show their fighting spirit after the break and scored three tries to only two by the Leopards in the first 26 minutes of the half, which levelled the scores at 33-33. The Leopards, however, showed their big match temperament as they fought until the final whistle, which allowed Brendon Snyman to crash over the tryline and seal the victory. The win allowed the Leopards to leapfrog the Eagles on the log into third position.
For the Leopards:
Tries: Snyman, Dames, Marutlulle, Marais 2, Buys
Cons: Engelbrecht 4, Buys
For the Griffons:
Tries: Le Roux 2, Kritzinger, Nelson, Van der Merwe.
Cons: Du Toit 4
Leopards: 15 Danie Dames, 14 Edmar Marais, 13 Adriaan Engelbrecht, 12 George Tossel, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Jarryd Buys, 9 Johann Laker, 8 SJ Niemand, 7 Robert Kruger, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Stephan Greeff, 4 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3 Elardus Venter, 2 Edgar Marutlulle (Captain), 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Vermaak, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Stephan Bezuidenhout, 19 Brendon Snyman, 20 Morne Hanekom, 21 Tiaan Dorfling, 22 SW Oosthuizen
Griffons: 15 Bernardo Botha, 14 Vuyo Mboto, 13 Joubert Engelbrecht, 12 Werner Griesel (Captain), 11 Norman Nelson, 10 Franna du Toit, 9 Inus Kritzinger, 8 Nicky Steyn, 7 Mlungisi Bali, 6 Martin Sithole, 5 Chris Ehlers, 4 Jeremy Jordaan, 3 Daniel van der Merwe, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Derick van Heerden, 17 Rudi Britz, 18 Frans Sisita, 19 Willmar Groenewald, 20 Oshwill Nortje, 21 Tertius Maarman, 22 Aubrey McDonald.
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Godwill Morobe
Border Bulldogs 35-14 Falcons
In East London the Border Bulldogs staged a second-half comeback from 14-6 down to outplay the Falcons for their third victory of the season. In total the Bulldogs scored four tries to only two by the Falcons, while fullback Dale Sabbagh kept the scoreboard ticking with three conversions and three penalties to force the match out of the Falcon's range.
For the Border Bulldogs:
Tries: Muir, Jenner, Rick 2
Conversions: Sabbagh 3
Pens: Sabbagh 3
For the Falcons:
Tries: Richter 2
Border Bulldogs: 15 Dale Sabbagh, 14 Andrew van Wyk, 13 Quinton Crocker, 12 Dwayne Jenner, 11 Shane Spring, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Shannon Rick, 8 Rynardt van Wyk, 7 Gareth Krause (Captain), 6 Siyabulela Mdaka, 5 Stephan Gerber, 4 Sthembiso Mhlongo, 3 Wesley Cloete, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Khwezi Mkhafu.
Replacements: 16 Blake Kyd, 17 Renier Schoeman, 18 Nomani Tonga, 19 Juan Pretorius, 20 Cecil Dumond, 21 Niell Jacobs, 22 Ruan Jacobs.
Falcons: 15 Kyle Hendricks, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Coert Cronje, 12 Franco Maritz, 11 Arno Poley, 10 Jaun Kotze, 9 Anrich Richter, 8 MP van Eeden, 7 Jacques Verwey, 6 Vince Gwavu, 5 JP Mostert (Captain), 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Dandre van der Westhuizen, 2 Birtie Powell, 1 Bruce Muller.
Replacements: 16 Wessel Du Rand, 17 Brendan Tshoshane, 18 Jacques Alberts, 19 Rinus Luan Bothma, 20 Jaco Snyman, 21 Jaco Oosthuizen, 22 Jongi Nokwe.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Matt Kemp, Denis Mpiti
First Division log:
(Under played, won, points)
1. Pumas (12, 12, 56)
2. EP Kings (12, 8, 42)
3. Leopards (12, 7, 37)
4. Eagles (12, 6, 36)
5. Cavaliers (12, 6, 29)
6. Griffons (12, 3, 23)
7. Bulldogs (12, 3, 21)
8. Falcons (12, 2, 17)