Welkom - The Griffons will host
the Valke in Welkom in the Currie Cup first division final on October 17 after
the teams emerged victorious in thrilling semi-finals on Friday.
The Griffons registered a narrow 45-43 victory against the
SWD Eagles in Welkom, while the Valke defeated log-leaders the Leopards 31-24
in Potchefstroom to book their places in the final.
The victories for the Griffons and Valke marked their first
wins of the season against their respective opposition teams.
Griffons 45 (13) SWC Eagles 43 (16)
The clash between the Griffons and SWD Eagles was thrilling
as the teams showed their desire to advance to the final from the outset.
The visitors, who registered home and away victories against
the Welkom side this season, took an early lead with a penalty by points
machine Elric van Vuuren and they continued to take advantage of their
point-scoring chances which earned them a 16-13 lead at the break.
The teams continued to put their bodies on the line in the
second half and scored tries at will, with the home team adding four tries to
the one scored in the first half, while SWD increased their tally for the match
Van Vuuren added his fifth penalty of the match with two
minutes left on the clock to hand his team a one-point lead.
But their hopes of toppling the Griffons for the third time
this season for a final berth were dashed by a late drop goal by flyhalf Louis
Strydom, which sealed the victory for the hosts.
Griffons: 45 - Tries: Chris Ehlers, Norman Nelson (2),
Tertius Maarman, Wynand Pienaar; Conversions: Louis Strydom (4); Penalties: Louis
Strydom (2); Drop Goals: Louis Strydom (2)
SWD Eagles: 43 - Tries: Ashwin Scott, Christo Du Plessis,
Clinton Wagman (2); Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (4); Penalties: Elric van
Leopards 24 (19) Valke 31 (19)
The clash in Potchefstroom was equally exciting as the Valke
scored three back-to-back tries in 11 minutes after conceding an early try
against the Leopards, which pushed them into a morale-boosting lead early in
the second quarter.
The Leopards replied
with another two tries before half time to level the scores at 19-19 at the
The Valke continued to use their point-scoring chances well
in the second half as they showed patience and flair on attack, which allowed
them to build up an encouraging 31-19 lead, which they managed to maintain
until the fourth quarter.
In stark contrast the Leopards’ performance was riddled with
errors at crucial times, which denied them momentum and possible points.
The Valke were reduced to 14 men in the 72nd
minute when replacement hooker Bruce Muller was sent to the sin bin, which the
Leopards took advantage of to score their fourth try of the match.
This reduced the deficit on the scoreboard to seven points
with five minutes to go.
But the Leopards were unable to level to scores to force the
match into extra time as mistakes continued to cost them in the dying minutes.
Leopards: 24 - Tries: Ryno Smith (2), Sylvian Mahuza (2);
Penalties: André Pretorius (2)
Valke: 31 - Tries: Anrich Richter, Bruce Muller, Dirk Dippenaar (2), JP Mostert; Conversions: Jaun Kotze (3)