Cape Town - Western Province and the Golden Lions this weekend leaped into third and fourth place respectively on the Currie Cup Premier Division log in a vital boost for their semi-final hopes, while the Sharks matched the seven-match winning run they last achieved in the 2010 season.
Western Province ran riot on attack in the first half against the Free State Cheetahs in Cape Town on Saturday and earned their bonus point in 20th minute en route to a 36-0 halftime lead.
The visitors tightened up their defence in the second half, while the hosts opted to give their replacements a run. This resulted in Western Province adding only three tries after the break, while the Free State Cheetahs’ scored twice in the last 10 minutes, which saw them go down 57-14.
Two tries in the last 10 minutes allowed the Sharks to pip themPumas 27-25 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday in what marked their seventh successive victory in the Currie Cup.
The first half was close with the visitors taking a 15-8 lead thanks to two tries to one by the hosts, despite two yellow cards. The Pumas fought back strongly after the break and scored two tries in five minutes, but this was cancelled out by the log-leaders in the dying minutes for a bonus-point win.
In Kimberley, meanwhile, the Golden Lions built on a solid first-half showing against Griquas to secure a 34-17 bonus point win on Friday.
The Johannesburg side did well to capitalise on their chances in the first half as they ran hard on attack and crossed the chalk three times to build up an encouraging 24-0 lead.
Two tries in three minutes by the Griquas and a subsequent penalty goal, however, allowed them to reduce the deficit to seven points, but a late penalty goal and a try on the stroke of fulltime by the Golden Lions steered them to a comfortable win.
Currie Cup Round 9 results and scorers:
Pumas 25 (8) Sharks 27 (15)
Pumas – Tries: Ruwellyn Isbell, Hennie Skorbinski, JP Lewis. Conversions: Kobus Marais (2). Penalty Goals: Kobus Marais (2).
Sharks - Tries: Sbusiso Nkosi, Jeremy Ward, Wihan Vosloo, Rhyno Smith. Conversions: Garth April, Curwin Bosch. Penalty Goal: Curwin Bosch.
Griquas 17 (0) Golden Lions 34 (24)
Griquas – Tries: AJ Coertzen, Steyno Steyn. Conversions: George Whitehead (2). Penalty Goal: George Whitehead.
Golden Lions - Tries: Kwagga Smith, Cyle Brink, Marco Janse van Vuren, Rohan Janse Van Rensburg. Conversions: Jaco Van der Walt (4). Penalty Goals: Jaco Van der Walt (2).
Western Province 57 (36) Free State Cheetahs 14 (0)
Western Province – Tries: Ramone Samuels (2), Wilco Louw, JD Schickerling, Jaco Coetzee (2), Huw Jones, Craig Barry, Sikhumbuzo Notshe. Conversions: Damian Willemse (3), Robert Du Preez (3).
Free State Cheetahs - Tries: Daniel Maartens, Marnus Van der Merwe. Conversions: Erra Stapelberg (2).