First Division semi-finalists confirmed
The Eastern Province Kings, SWD Eagles and Leopards this weekend all booked their semifinal berths in the First Division - alongside log-leaders the Pumas, with one pool round remaining.
In a decisive weekend the EP Kings took a step closer to securing the remaining home semifinal with a 30-23 victory against the Falcons in Port Elizabeth, while the SWD Eagles thumped the Griffons 51-28 in Welkom.
The Leopards, meanwhile, cemented their semifinal spot despite going down 22-26 against the Border Bulldogs in Potchefstroom, as the Boland Cavaliers were knocked out of the running following their 44-21 defeat against the Pumas in Nelspruit.
The Pumas are guaranteed the other home semifinal.
With one round remaining the third-placed Eagles and fourth-placed Leopards could switch positions on the log depending on their results next week.
The Eagles also have a mathematical chance of securing the other home semifinal.
But with the Kings boasting a 107 point advantage on points’ difference, even if the Eagles were to win their final round-robin match with a bonus point and the Kings were to suffer a defeat without a single point, such a move is unlikely.
Pumas 44-21 Boland Cavaliers
In Nelspruit a strong first half by the Pumas, which featured three tries, set them in good stead for a convincing victory against the Boland Cavaliers.
The team came out firing with two tries in the first 17 minutes, which placed the visitors under immense pressure. Despite this, Cavaliers inside centre Braam Gerber managed to dot down a try which opened up the scoring for his team. But with the momentum favouring the Pumas, the Cavaliers battled to contain them once they had found their rhythm in the second half.
So convincing was the team’s performance, they added four tries after the break to increase their tally for the match to seven. And although the Cavaliers fought back with two of their own, the Pumas were too good on the day. The victory marked the Nelspruit side’s 13th in a row and maintained their unbeaten run in the competition.
Tries: Bezuidenhout, Demas 2, Van Rooyen, Mathee, Cassiem, Loock
Cons: Bezuidenhout 3
Tries: Gerber, April, Kebe
Cons: Zana, Olivier 2
Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Danwel Demas, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Dewald Pretorius, 11 Wilhelm Loock, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corne Steenkamp (captain), 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Corné Fourie, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Vincent Koch.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Christo le Roux, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Francois de Klerk, 21 Tiaan Marx, 22 Ashwin Scott.
Boland Cavaliers: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Cheslyn Roberts, 13 Adri Jacobs, 12 Braam Gerber, 11 Tythan Adams, 10 Leonard Olivier, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 PJ van Zyl, 7 Bradley Fortuin, 6 Ulrich Pretorius, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Lodewyk Uys, 3 Jacques Kotze, 2 Clemen Lewis (captain), 1 Francois Hanekom.
Replacements: 16 Chris Buckle, 17 Rossouw Kruger, 18 Hanno Kitshoff, 19 Ben Venter, 20 Ricardo Croy, 21 Jonathan Francke, 22 Brendon April.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Attie Buitendag
Griffons 28-51 SWD Eagles
The SWD Eagles were equally impressive in their showing against the Griffons in Welkom as they powered their way to a 26-14 half-time lead, which paved the way for a resounding victory.
The teams were neck-on-neck for the first 28 minutes, with each side crashing over the tryline twice in a thrilling start to the match. But two extra tries by the Eagles before the break earned them their bonus point try and allowed them to work their way onto the front foot.
This bolstered their confidence and placed them in a position to score another brace of four tries after the break, which dashed the Griffons hopes of an upset. As a consolation, however, the home team earned their bonus point for four tries as Japie Nel and Martin Sithole each scored twice.
Tries: Nel 2, Sithole 2
Cons: Du Toit 2, Nel, Maarman
Tries: Smith, Blom, Hartnick 2, Dyantyi 2, Raubenheimer 2
Cons: Smith 2, Blom 2
Griffons: 15 Bernardo Botha, 14 Werner Griesel (captain), 13 Joubert Engelbrecht, 12 Japie Nel, 11 Norman Nelson, 10 Franna du Toit, 9 Inus Kritzinger, 8 Nicky Steyn, 7 Tertius Daniller, 6 Martin Sithole, 5 Chris Ehlers, 4 Jeremy Jordaan, 3 Daniel van der Merwe, 2 Derick van Heerden, 1 Rudi Britz.
Replacements: 16 Gideon Gouws, 17 Heinrich Roelfse, 18 Mlungisi Bali, 19 Willmar Groenewald, 20 Oshwill Nortje, 21 Tertius Maarman, 22 Vuyo Mboto.
SWD Eagles: 15 Deroy Rhoode, 14 Clinton Wagman, 13 Luzuko Vulindlu, 12 Gerrit Smith, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Jandré Blom, 9 Mzo Dyantyi, 8 Christo Du Plessis, 7 Lyndon Hartnick, 6 Shaun Raubenheimer, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Jean Rossouw, 17 Layle Delo, 18 Grant le Roux, 19 Dumisane Meslane, 20 Eldred Garth James, 21 Marshell Boesak, 22 Hentzwill Pedro.
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Henrico van Rooyen
EP Kings 30-23 Falcons
The EP Kings were made to work hard for their victory against the Falcons in Port Elizabeth despite the visitors entering the clash as the last-placed team in the competition.
In a surprise showing the Kempton Park side built up a 20-17 half-time lead thanks to two tries, which fullback Kyle Hendricks converted to add to his two penalties.
The Kings, however, bounced back strongly after the break by tightening up their defence and stepping up their attack, which limited the visitors to only three points in the second half. The home team, meanwhile, ran in their third try, while fullback Scott van Breda kept the scoreboard ticking with penalties. This proved to be sufficient to seal the victory.
Tries: Willemse 2, Mangweni
Cons: Van Breda 3
Pens: Van Breda 3
Tries: Oosthuizen, Ngcobo
Cons: Hendricks 2
Pens: Hendricks 3
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Michael Killian, 13 Wayne Stevens, 12 Siyabonga Mangweni (captain), 11 Brian Skosana, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Kayle van Zyl, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Devin Oosthuizen, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Wayne van Heerden, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Albe De Swardt, 1 Brenden Olivier.
Replacements: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Thabo Mamojele, 19 Kuselo Moyake, 20 Dwayne Kelly, 21 Ntabeni Dukisa, 22 Yamkela Ngam.
Falcons: 15 Kyle Hendricks, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Coert Cronje, 12 Willie Odendaal, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Jaco Oosthuizen, 9 Jaco Snyman, 8 JP Mostert (captain), 7 Jacques Verwey, 6 Vince Gwavu, 5 Rinus Luan Bothma, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Nicolaas Pretorius, 2 Bruce Muller, 1 Brendan Thato Tshoshane.
Replacements: 16 Ian Oosthuizen, 17 Wessel Du Rand, 18 Jacques Alberts, 19 MP van Eeden, 20 Anrich Richter, 21 Jaun Kotze, 22 Dauw Steyn.
Referee: Jason Jaftha
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende, Christie du Preez
Leopards 22-26 Border Bulldogs
In Potchefstroom ill-discipline by the Leopards cost them dearly against the Border Bulldogs despite the team scoring four tries to only two by the visitors. Both teams scored two tries in the first half, but two conversions and two penalties by Border fullback Dale Sabbagh handed his team a 20-10 lead.
The Leopards doubled their try tally to four in the second half as prop BG Uys crossed the tryline twice to add to his first-half five-pointer, which secured his hat-trick and a bonus point for his team.
But two more penalties by dependable Bulldogs place-kicker Sabbagh cancelled out these efforts and earned his team a satisfying victory.
Tries: Uys 3, Dames
Tries: Shabangu, Mkhafu
Cons: Sabbagh 2
Pens: Sabbagh 4
Leopards: 15 Danie Dames, 14 Luther Obi, 13 Adriaan Engelbrecht, 12 George Tossel, 11 Edmar Marais, 10 Warren Gilbert, 9 Johann Laker, 8 Morne Hanekom, 7 SJ Niemand, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Brendon Snyman, 4 Peet van der Walt, 3 Stephan Bezuidenhout, 2 Edgar Marutlulle (captain), 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Vermaak, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Elardus Venter, 19 Gavin Annandale, 20 Bernie van Rooyen, 21 Tiaan Dorfling, 22 SW Oosthuizen.
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 Juan Pretorius, 7 Gareth Krause (captain), 6 Rynardt van Wyk, 5 Stephan Gerber, 4 Alister Keet, 3 Wesley Cloete, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Khwezi Mkhafu.
Replacements: 16 Blake Kyd, 17 Wayne Lemley, 18 Brian Shabangu, 19 Chrislyn van Schalkwyk, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Niell Jacobs, 22 Ruan Jacobs.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, James van Oudtshoorn
First Division log (under headings played, won, lost, drew, points for, points against, points difference, tries for, tries against, loss bonus, tries bonus, points):
Pumas - 13 - 13 - 0 - 0 - 534 - 237 - 297 - 66 - 28 - 0 - 9 - 61
EP Kings - 13 - 9 - 4 - 0 - 403 - 277 - 126 - 48 - 32 - 3 - 7 - 46
Eagles - 13 - 7 - 6 - 0 - 436 - 417 - 19 - 55 - 52 - 5 - 8 - 41
Leopards - 13 - 7 - 6 - 0 - 413 - 374 - 39 - 57 - 43 - 3 - 8 - 39
Cavaliers - 13 - 6 - 7 - 0 - 303 - 367 - -64 - 41 - 50 - 3 - 2 - 29
Bulldogs - 13 - 4 - 9 - 0 - 257 - 327 - -70 - 30 - 42 - 6 - 3 - 25
Griffons - 13 - 3 - 9 - 1 - 341 - 508 - 167 - 45 - 68 - 3 - 7 - 24
Falcons - 13 - 2 - 10 - 1 - 332 - 512 - -180 - 42 - 69 - 2 - 6 - 18
Leading point scorers:
159 - Carl Bezuidenhout )three tries, 33 conversions, 25 penalties, one drop-goal)
129 - Adriaan Engelbrecht (one try, 41 cons, 14 pens)
121 - Justin van Staden (one try, 22 cons, 22 pens, two drop-goals)
91 - Scott van Breda (one try, 19 cons, 16 pens)
90 - Jaun Kotze (three tries, 21 cons, seven pens, four drop-goals)
* Alshaun Bock, with 16, is the leading try-scorer