Cape Town - The Pumas qualified as top team for the quarter-finals after the pool phase of a pulsating SuperSport Rugby Challenge came to an end on Saturday, while both the Golden Lions XV and Blue Bulls managed to make it to the top eight, much to the heartbreak of SWD Eagles.
The Nelspruit side, by virtue of their 58-29 win over a gutsy Valke team at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Longdale in Johannesburg on Sunday, topped the North Section with 39 points and a faultless record. They will host the Blue Bulls in a quarter-final next weekend.
The men from Pretoria finished third in the North Section after being defeated 47-29 by the Golden Lions XV, also at Longdale, where the fifth and final Rugby Festival was played in front of a highly appreciative crowd.
However, the Blue Bulls scraped through as the third placed team with the fewest log points. The other third placed team, Free State XV, will travel to Mdantsane to face defending champions, Western Province in their quarter-final on Sunday.
The Capetonians managed 37 log points with seven wins and a draw to finish top of the South Section, and a second-placed finish overall.
The Free Staters, who started the month undefeated at the top of the log in the Central Section, suffered defeats to their Kimberley neighbours and Sharks XV (this weekend) and dropped to third in their section, but managed to stay in the competition as one of the two best placed third finishers.
Griquas overcame the Welkom ambush prepared by the Griffons on Saturday to top the Central Section log and finish third on the overall log. They will host the Cavaliers in Kimberley on Saturday.
There was also agony for the SWD Eagles, who got pipped by the Boland on Saturday, despite winning five matches to the four by the Cavaliers.
Boland edged the EP Elephants, and SWD lost to WP on Friday, but the men from George still had a slim chance of getting into the top eight if the Blue Bulls could manage to prevent the Golden Lions XV from getting any log points.
The Central Gautengers though, boosted by solid performances from Springboks Malcolm Marx, Ruan Combrinck and Warren Whiteley, easily won their match against their neighbours from across the Jukskei River.
The final logs can be viewed here.
The four quarter-final matches are (kick-off times and venues subject to change)
Saturday 30 June:
Pumas v Blue Bulls (Nelspruit)
Griquas v Cavaliers (Kimberley)
Sunday 1 July (Rugby Festival, Mdantsane):
Sharks XV v Golden Lions XV
Western Province v Free State XV
Round 10 results and scorers:
Golden Lions 47 (19), Vodacom Blue Bulls 29 (15)
Golden Lions XV - Tries: Courtnall Skosan (3), James Venter, Ruan Combrinck (2), Jacques van Rooyen. Conversions: Shaun Reynolds (5), Ashlon Davids.
Blue Bulls - Tries: Hanro Liebenberg, Franco Naude, Jason Jenkins, Ruben van Heerden. Conversions: Manie Libbok (3). Penalty: Libbok.
Valke 29 (22), Pumas 58 (21)
Valke - Tries: Andries Truter (2), Andrew Volschenk, Ettienne Taljaard. Conversions: Anrich Richter (2), Warren Potgieter. Penalty: Richter.
Pumas - Tries: Le Roux Roets, Marko Janse van Rensburg (3), Ryan Nell, Willie Engelbrecht, Devon Williams, Jeandre Rudolph. Conversions: Chris Smith (6). Penalties: Smith (2).
Sharks XV 48 (19), Free State XV 21 (7)
Sharks XV - Tries: Wian Vosloo, Louis Schreuder, Ross Geldenhuys, Cameron Wright, Marius Louw (2), Jeremy Ward. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3), Garth April (2). Penalty: Bosch.
Free State XV - Tries: Penalty try, Marius van der Merwe (2). Conversions: Barend Janse van Rensburg (2).
Griffons 31 (14), Griquas 37 (17)
Griffons - Tries: Barend Potgieter, Danie van der Merwe, Cody-Anthony Basson, Joubert Engelbrecht. Conversions: Jaun Kotze (3), Duan Pretorius. Penalty: Kotze
Griquas - Tries: Louis Venter (2), De Wet Kruger, Godfrey Ramaboea. Conversionss: George Whitehead (4). Penalties: Whitehead (3).
EP Elephants 12 (0), Boland Cavaliers 20 (10)
Elephants - Tries: Brendon Brown, Mbeko Kota; Conversions: Simon Bolze.
Boland Cavaliers - Tries: Arnout Malherbe, Ludio Williams. Conversions: Elgar Watts (2). Penalties: Elgar Watts (2).
Western Province 41 (26), SWD Eagles 26 (16)
Western Province - Tries: Dan du Plessis, EW Viljoen, Juarno Augustus, Josh Stander, Dean Muir, Penalty try. Conversations: Stander (3). Penalty: Stander.
SWD Eagles - Tries: Johan Steyn, Nicolaas Immelman. Conversation: Leighton Eksteen. Penalties: Leighton Eksteen (4).