Cape Town - The Pumas and Western Province remained undefeated in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge after six rounds of pulsating action came to an end at Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele on Sunday, but the manner in which they won this weekend was vastly different
The defending champions totally outplayed the Welwitschias in Nelspruit and scored 16 tries in a 106-0 win, but the Capetonians needed a late surge to keep their undefeated status as they beat the Free State Cheetahs XV 37-33 at the Rugby Festival held in Port Elizabeth.
Both Pumas (North Section) and Western Province (South Section) have secured their semi-final spots with a round to go, but who the other two teams will be to join then will only be clear at the conclusion of the final round of fixtures next Sunday after the Rugby Festival at Florida Park in Cape Town.
The Pumas have scored 42 tries so far in the competition, 16 of which came in Nelspruit on Saturday. The defending champions are currently in devastating form and will be tough to beat.
Elsewhere, the Golden Lions XV kept their North Section semi-final hopes alive with a good 42-15 win over Griffons in Johannesburg. The Gauteng side laid the foundation of their win in the first half, when they scored three tries to none.
Thanks to this result, the Golden Lions XV are on 22 log points and can still overhaul Griquas (26 log points) in the final round. As luck would have it, the two sides meet next weekend.
The men from the Northern Cape travelled a short distance north east up the N12 to Leeudoringstad, where they had to overcome a half-time deficit (14-16) to beat the Leopards 31-16 at Leeudoringstad Rugby Club.
The Bulls are hitting their straps and scored a solid 47-22 victory (halftime 21-12) win over Valke at Bosman Stadium in Brakpan, but unfortunately they left their charge too late and will not make the play-offs.
With Western Province leading the way, some really entertaining matches highlighted the South Section this year.
A stunning late comeback saw the men from Cape Town retain their unbeaten record as they edged the Free State XV 37-33 at the SuperSport Rugby Challenge Festival at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon.
In a very entertaining encounter, an impressive performance from the Bloemfonteiners saw them leading WP by 16 points with 14 minutes to play, but a yellow card to Cheetahs XV flank Albertus de Bod proved very costly as the Capetonians scored 17 points before he returned, and added a late penalty goal to seal the comeback.
In the other match at the Rugby Festival, the home town faithful were treated to a somewhat unlikely win for the EP Elephants over the more fancied Sharks XV, who had their slim semi-finals hopes dashed. The home side won 27-7 after a strong first half all but confirmed the result.
Another entertaining match was played at Boland Stadium in Wellington on Saturday, where the Boland Cavaliers enhanced their claim to a semi-final spot with a solid 52-16 (halftime 26-6) win over Zimbabwe Academy. They scored eight tries, which secured the bonus point as well.
At 25 log points, they still need to face Western Province next Sunday, while Free State Cheetahs XV (22 log points) face Border in Bloemfontein.
On Friday evening in George, the SWD Eagles edged the Border Bulldogs by 18-17 in their clash at Outeniqua Park. The Bulldogs had a late penalty attempt at goal to win, but the kick went wide.
A summary of results and scorers are (click on link for match report):
Western Province 37 (10), Free State Cheetahs XV 33 (19)
Western Province - Tries: EW Viljoen, Brandon Valentyn, Penalty Try, Tristan Leyds. Conversions: Abner van Reenen (3). Penalties: Abner van Reenen (3).
Free State Cheetahs XV - Tries: Jasper Wiese, Darren Adonis (2), Gunther Janse van Vuuren, Carel-Jan Coetzee. Conversions: Lubabalo Dobela (4).
Boland 52 (26), Zimbabwe Academy 16 (6)
Boland Cavaliers - Tries: Michaine Fick (2), Shilton van Wyk, Thurlow Marsh, Jordan Holgate (2), Tapiwa Tsomondo, Valentino Wellman. Conversions: Garrick Mattheus (4), Gavern Skippers, Monty Dumond.
Zimbabwe Academy - Tries: Royal Mwale, Brendon Mandivenga. Penalties: Mandivenga (2).
SWD 18 (3), Border 17 (10)
SWD - Tries: Wayne Wilschut, Anton Smit. Conversion: Gerhard Nortier. Penalties: Nortier, Divan Nel.
Border - Tries - Onke Dubase, Sipho Nofemele. Conversions: Aphiwe Stimele (2). Penalty: Stimele.
EP Elephants 27 (6), Sharks XV 7 (0)
EP Elephants - Tries: Tristan Fourie, Mihlali Mpafi, Martin du Toit. Conversions: Ntabeni Dukisa (3). Penalties: Ntabeni Dukisa (2).
Sharks XV - Try: Lwazi Mvovo. Conversion: Murray Koster.
Golden Lions XV 42 (21), Griffons 15 (0)
Golden Lions XV - Tries: Pieter Jansen (2), Nathan McBeth, James Venter, Tyreeq February, Jan-Louis la Grange. Conversions: Ruan Combrinck (6).
Griffons - Tries: Nkosi Nofuma, Dominec Smit, Allistair Mumba.
Leopards 16 (16), Griquas 31 (14)
Leopards - Tries: Tjaart Benadie. Conversion: Schalk Hugo. Penalties: Schalk Hugo (3).
Griquas - Tries: Conway Pretorius, Chris Smit (2), Ederies Arendse. Conversions: Tinus de Beer (4). Penalty: De Beer.
Valke 22 (12), Blue Bulls 47 (21)
Valke - Tries: Shane Kirkwood, Thabo Mabuza (2), Juandre Nel. Conversion: Andre du Plessis.
Blue Bulls - Tries: Roelof Smit, Muller Uys (2), Wian van Niekerk, Duncan Matthews (2), Llewellyn Classen. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (5), Fiela Boshoff.
Pumas 106 (49), Welwitschias 0 (0)
ISG Pumas - Tries: Johann Vermaak, Jean-Paul Lewis (2), Jacobus Marais, Henko Marais (2), Marco Palvie (3), Piet-Louw Strauss, Etienne Taljaard, Phumzile Maqondwana, Hilton Lobberts (2), Giovanne Snyman, Carel du Preez. Conversions: Jacobus Marais (11), Ashlon Davids (2).
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 0.
Leading points’ scorers:
1. Abner van Reenen (DHL Western Province) 79
2. Garrick Mattheus (Boland) 56
3. Chris Smith (iSG Pumas) 54