Cape Town - Griquas, Western Province and the Pumas impressed with their second victories in as many weeks as the SuperSport Rugby Challenge picked up momentum, while the SWD Eagles, Free State XV and Blue Bulls scored their first wins on Saturday in the second round of the competition, with five players recording try hat-tricks.
The men from the Northern Cape, in particular, were in devastating form in dismantling the Leopards 80-14 in Kimberley to make an early stand on top of the Central Section log. Griquas wing Enver Brandt scored his second hat-trick of the competition and leads the try-scoring stats with six tries. Brandt was not the only player who scored three tries for his side though, flanker Sias Koen did the same.
In the other match in the Central Section, the Free State XV scored a good win in their season opener, beating the Griffons 65-31 in Welkom. Two players recorded hat-tricks in this match – Anrich Alberts for the home team and Tertius Kruger for the visitors.
The Pumas took control of the North Section with their 35-26 win over the Golden Lions XV in Johannesburg. And after losing in the opening round, the Blue Bulls gave notice of their intentions with a very convincing 73-20 win over the Welwitschias in Pretoria.
And in the South Section, defending champions Western Province delivered another winning display, this time beating the Border Bulldogs by 36-7 in East London, where Duncan Saal (wing) also scored three tries, while teammate, Andre Swarts tops the overall points' scoring log with his 37 points.
Down the road in Port Elizabeth, the SWD Eagles started their season on a winning note, beating the EP Elephants 34-20.
A summary of the weekend's results and scorers are:
Blue Bulls 73 (26), Welwitschias 20 (13)
Blue Bulls – Tries: Corniel Els, Ruben van Heerden, Andell Loubser (2), JT Jackson (2), Earll Douwrie, Jan-Henning Campher, Andre Warner, Duncan Matthews (2). Conversions: Earll Douwrie (9).
Welwitschias – Tries: AJ de Klerk, Jan Adriaan Booysen. Conversions: Eugene Jantjies, Pieter Steenkamp. Penalties: Steenkamp (2).
Golden Lions XV 26 (12), Pumas 35 (17)
Golden Lions XV – Tries: Corne Fourie, Rhyno Herbst, Shaun Reynolds, Siyabonga Masuku. Conversions: Reynolds (3).
Pumas – Tries: De-Jay Terblanche, JP Lewis (2), Devon Williams. Conversions: Chris Smith (3). Penalties: Smith (3).
Griffons 31 (17), Free State XV 65 (21)
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Anrich Alberts (3), Gabriel Engelbrecht (2). Conversions: Jaun Kotze (3).
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Tertius Kruger (3), Jasper van der Westhuizen, Vuyani Maqina, Ali Mgijima, G Janse van Vuuren, Ernst Stapelberg. Conversions: Stapelberg (5), Ruben de Haas (3).
Griquas 80 (42), Leopards 14 (7)
Griquas – Tries: Sias Koen (3), Enver Brandt (3), Andre Swarts (2), Conway Pretorius (2), AJ le Roux, Tythan Adams. Conversions: Swarts (9), Eric Zana.
Leopards – Tries: HP Swart, Evardi Boshoff. Conversions: DP de Lange, Schalk Hugo.
Border Bulldogs 7 (7), Western Province 36 (19)
Border Bulldogs – Penalty Try.
Western Province – Tries: Duncan Saal (3), Joshua Stander, Moegamat Kannemeyer, Johan du Toit. Conversions: Joshua Stander (3).
EP Elephants 20 (8), SWD Eagles 34 (14)
EP Elephants – Tries: Rowan Gouws, Alandre van Rooyen, Dewald Barnard. Conversion: Henrique Olivier. Penalty: Henrique Olivier.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Marlo Weich, Leighton Eksteen, Jacques Vermaak, Tyler Fisher (2). Conversions: Leighton Eksteen, Divan Nel (2). Penalty: Divan Nel.