Cape Town - The Griffons will meet the Boland Cavaliers and the Valke will host the Leopards in the semi-finals of the Currie Cup First Division after the top four sides were confirmed in an exciting finish to the pool stages.
In Brakpan the Valke produced a solid performance to defeat the Leopards 44-19, which allowed them to leapfrog the Potchefstroom outfit into second place on the log for an invaluable home semi-final. Log-leaders, the Griffons, will host the other home semi-final.
The hosts built up a 24-14 lead at the break and they maintained this form in the second half, which earned them five tries, while Warren Potgieter kept the scoreboard ticking with his accurate goal-kicking. His four conversions and three penalty goals earned him a personal total of 17 points.
The defeat for the Leopards saw them drop down to third place, which was enough to see them through to the playoffs.
The Boland Cavaliers, meanwhile, sealed the last playoff spot on Saturday as they clawed their way back from 19-7 down against the Welwitschias in Swakopmund to earn a narrow 26-24 victory. Both sides finished the match with four tries, but Boland’s three conversions to two by the hosts proved to be the difference on the scoreboard.
The result saw Boland finish the pool stages tied on 24 points with the Leopards, but their points’ difference saw them take fourth place.
The SWD Eagles, meanwhile, did everything they could to keep alive their semi-final hopes as they outplayed Eastern Province in George for a 66-22 victory on Friday. The result left them in second place on the log temporarily, with their fate left hanging in the balance as a bonus-point victory for the Boland Cavaliers on Saturday would dash their chances – which the Wellington side achieved.
A hat-trick by flyhalf Martin Du Toit and braces by flanker Janneman Stander and winger Adri Jacobs spear-headed the team’s effective attacking display, which saw them cruise to a 40-10 halftime lead and cross the tryline an impressive 10 times in the match. The visitors, in turn, scored four tries and converted one for their 22 points.
In Welkom, the Griffons, who had already secured the top spot on the log last week for a home semi-final and a home final if they finish in the top two, suffered their first defeat of the season as they went down 41-33 against the Border Bulldogs.
The log-leaders built up a 21-12 lead at the break, but Border fought back strongly to increase their try tally to six, while they limited the hosts to five, which allowed them to finish the season on a high note.
Currie Cup First Division Round 7 results and scorers:
Valke 44 (24) Leopards 19 (14)
Valke - Tries: Jan-Frederik Enslin, Shane Kirkwood, Martin Sithole, Grant Janke, Don Mlondobozi. Conversions: Warren Potgieter (4), Andries Truter. Penalty Goals: Warren Potgieter (3).
Leopards - Tries: Joe Smith, Bradley Moolman, Dean Gordon. Conversions: Schalk Hugo (2).
SWD Eagles 66 (40) Eastern Province 22 (10)
SWD Eagles - Tries: Kurt Haupt, Janneman Stander (2), Martin Du Toit (3), Adri Jacobs (2), Marquit September, Jacques Vermaak. Conversions: Leighton Eksteen (8).
Eastern Province - Tries: Victor Sekekete, Jarryd Sage, Harlon Klaasen (2). Conversions: Sonwabo Majola.
Welwitschias 24 (19) Boland Cavaliers 26 (7)
Welwitschias - Tries: David Philander, Lesley Klim, Johan Tromp, Macho Prinsloo. Conversions: Theuns Kotze (2).
Boland Cavaliers - Tries: Elgar Watts, Sergio Torrens, Alcino Izaacs, Gerrit Van Wyk. Conversions: Elgar Watts (2), Adriaan Carelse.
Griffons 33 (21) Border Bulldogs 41 (12)
Griffons - Tries: Danie Van der Merwe, Alrin Eksteen, Joubert Engelbrecht, Duan Pretoruis (2). Conversions: Bitzi Bitzi (3), Gaun Kotze.
Border Bulldogs - Tries: Base Dubase (2), Bangi Kobese, Lundi Ralarala, S'bu Ncanywa, Dave Khethani. Conversions: Bangi Kobese (4). Penalty Goal: Bangi Kobese.