Cape Town - South Africa’s newest provincial rugby competition, the SuperSport
Rugby Challenge, started in spectacular fashion this weekend, delivering no
less than 43 tries in six matches played around the country.
Two of those were took place at Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth on
Sunday afternoon as part of a new initiative of playing matches on Sunday at
community venues as part of a Rugby Festival.
The festival, which included a local club derby, was well attended and
hailed a success by all concerned, with an estimated 10 000 spectators packing
The first weekend produced some highly entertaining and memorable rugby
action, with a number of teams flexing some early season muscle.
The Valke led the pack in the try-scoring stakes, with seven
five-pointers in a convincing 50-17 win over the Welwitschias
in Kempton Park on Saturday, a day of upsets for home teams.
The game was still very tight with only 20 minutes to go, with the
hosts leading their Namibian counterparts by just six points, but then the
Valke ran in five of their seven tries to comfortably win their North Section
match and send the men from Windhoek packing.
Earlier on Saturday, the Blue Bulls, Sharks XV and Griffons lost their home matches, while on Sunday, the EP Kings could
also not press home the advantage of a highly supportive crowd in the Wolfson
The Blue Bulls came up short to the Pumas at Loftus
Versfeld, with the visitors finishing very strong, scored three late tries to
secure a 31-23 (half-time 9-13) victory.
In Welkom, the Leopards turned the tables on the Griffons,
beating the hosts 29-17 in the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom, in a
replay of last year’s Currie Cup First Division Final.
This time the Griffons played host to the same side they beat in
Potchefstroom last season, but had to concede to the hard-running Leopards,
with Gene Willemse scoring a brace for the visitors and flyhalf Schalk Hugo
adding 15 points.
In Durban, the Sharks XV were pressing for a win over Griquas, but two late scores thwarted their efforts.
The visitors started the second half with a 14-7 lead and could only
secure the win in the last five minutes. Griquas scored their third
try of the game against the run of play as nippy back Enver Brandt intercepted
a pass on his own goal line and ran more than 90 metres for his try. Debutant
centre, Tertius Kruger, then burst over right on the final whistle to seal a
bonus point victory for the Kimberley side.
On Sunday, the Border Bulldogs came from behind to edge Boland
Cavaliers 28-25 (half-time 14-20) in their opening SuperSport Rugby Challenge
Festival match at Wolfson Stadium. Down 20-7 at one stage, Border fought back
manfully showing great determination and skill to score a bonus-point victory
in front of an enthusiastic Eastern Cape crowd.
Western Province had their work cut out against the EP Kings as
well. The visitors from Cape Town survived a tough examination to beat the
Eastern Cape team by 30-18 (half-time 10-13) on Sunday.
Blue Bulls 23 (13), Pumas 31 (9)
Blue Bulls 23 (13) – Tries: Sibahle Maxwane, Divan Rossouw.
Conversions: Tony Jantjies, Tinus de Beer. Penalties: Tony Jantjies (2), Joshua
Pumas 31 (9) – Tries: Frank Herne (2), Marko Janse van Rensburg,
Devon Williams; Conversion: Kobus Marais. Penalties: Kobus Marais (3)
Sharks XV 28 (14), Griquas 7 (7)
Griquas 28 (14) – Tries: Jason Fraser, Penalty Try.
Enver Brandt, Tertius Kruger. Conversions: George Whitehead (2), Andre Swarts
Sharks XV 7 (7) – Try: Juan Schoeman. Conversion: Johan
Leopards 29 (24), Griffons 19 (5)
Leopards 29 (24) – Tries: Gene Willemse (2), Schalk Hugo, Loftus
Morrison. Conversions: Schalk Hugo (3). Penalty: Schalk Hugo
Griffons 17 (5) – Tries. Henco Greyling, Khwezi Mkhafu, Niel
Claassen. Conversion: Juan Kotze
Valke 50 (17), Welwitschias 33 (20)
Valke 50 (17) – Tries: Etienne Taljaard (2), Dian Koen, Grant
Janke, Ernst Ladendorf, Keaton Gordon, Maphutha Dolo. Conversions: Warren
Potgieter (6). Penalties: Potgieter
Welwitschias 33 (20) – Tries: Gino Wilson, Lesley
Klim, Maharua Katjijeko, Eugene Jantjies, Leneve Damens. Conversion: Theuns
Kotze. Penalties: Kotze (2)
Border Bulldogs 28 (14), Boland 25 (20)
Border 28 (14) – Tries: Sonwabiso Mqalo, Penalty Try, Michael Makase,
Blake Kyd. Conversions: Oliver Zono (3)
Boland 25 (20) – Tries: Charles Mayeza, Danwel Demas, Marlyn Williams,
Zandre Jordaan; Conversion: Elgar Watts. Penalty: Elgar Watts
Eastern Province 18 (13), Western Province 30 (10)
EP Kings 18 (13) – Tries: Siyanda Grey, Stefan Ungerer, Alshaun Bock.
Penalty: Garrick Mattheus
WP 30 (10) – Tries: Marcello Sampson, Grant Hermanus, Luke
Stringer, Jaco Coetzee. Conversions: Brandon Thompson (2). Penalties:
Brandon Thompson (2)