Oh how glorious it was to see WP playing the kind of rugby we all knew they can … I would like to think that those of us calling for both WP and the Boks to play a better brand of rugby played our part, but I think it’s more down to the youngsters like Skarra Ntubeni, Marcel Brache and perhaps most importantly, the ever impressive Nic Groom, actually believing in a more attacking and continuity based game. Long may it continue … And long may Heyneke Meyer watch that demolition of his former side. Modern day rugby at it’s very best …
As Simply Sean, my Blogz partner on Ballz Radio, said …. If Sonny Bill had made a few of the offloads in the tackle that Brache made yesterday, they would have had half a million views on YouTube by now!
And it was fantastic to see how Raynardt Elstadt performed in that environment, putting in what is without doubt his best performance this year. I still have a few concerns about JP du Plessis running across the field, but his skinning of Bok JJ Engelbrecht by doing exactly that, will live in the memory banks for a long time …
I am not sure if there are enough superlatives in the English dictionary to describe skipper Deon Fourie’s performance yesterday. Hooker, flank, and then stand in scrumhalf? And the chip and chase that almost did Clayton Blommetjies was a sight to behold! Inspirational stuff … But I think he has found his position – open side flank. Especially given Ntubeni’s performance …
Perhaps SA coaches are a little too obsessed with “Experience”, and thus sometimes guilty of overlooking the supreme talent right at their doorstep?
A look at the weekend’s rugby results and happenings …
Western Province 42 – 6 Blue Bulls
Sharks 34 – 32 Cheetahs
Lions 32 – 42 Griquas
Currie Cup 1st division:
Pumas 70 – 27 SWD
Leopards 39 – 34 Boland
Eastern Province 45 – 24 Valke
Border 33 – 53 Griffons
Selected club results:
UCT 21-36 Maties
Predator semi-finals: UJ 43-19 Wits , Pukke 38-33 Impala.
Western Province 27 – 28 Lions
Valke 14 – 46 EP
Leopards 35 – 25 Cheetahs
Pumas 32 – 27 SWD
Blue Bulls 57 – 21 Border
Boland 16 – 21 Griquas
Western Province 27 – 18 Lions
Valke 24 – 43 EP
Pumas 11 – 49 Border
Leopards 15 – 29 Free State
Bulls 60 – 13 SWD Eagles
Boland 17 – 21 Griquas
Wasps 40 – 42 Harlequins
Worcester 23 – 24 Bath
Gloucester 19 – 24 Northampton
Saracens 40 – 3 London Irish
Exeter 43 – 6 Sale
Connacht 9 – 13 Cardiff Blues
Scarlets 45 – 20 Leinster
Edinburgh 18 – 23 Munster
Biarritz 22 – 17 Toulouse
Castres 31 – 10 Bayonne
Clermont 53 – 31 Perpignan
Montpellier 32 – 15 Agen
Mont de Marsan 15 – 29 Toulon
Racing Metro 18 – 7 Bordeaux
Well done to Big Gun who took the yellow cap in the Currie Cup Front Row Grunt Superbru pool – calling all three games, the first 2 with margin points nogal! JimfromSA tops the leader board, though, and is on track for those Reebok vouchers to the value of R 2 300.00
Currie Cup 1st division:
Border (12) 33 Griffons (25) 53
Martin Sithole ran in a hat-trick of tries as the Griffons saw off a second-half fightback from Border to claim an impressive away win. Flank Sithole scored all three of his five-pointers in the second half with his second and third tries helping to put away a determined Border outfit that had clawed their way back into the contest with three converted tries in the space of six minutes.
The Bulldogs had been trailing 39-12 but the three tries, from flankers Brian Shabangu and Shane Spring and tighthead prop Marius Visser, meant that the hosts narrowed the gap to 39-33 with 22 minutes left in the contest.
But Sithole, who turned in a wonderful performance with his support play being particularly impressive, scored two late tries to deny Border their first win of the season.
Bulldogs – Tries: Shane Spring, Ruan Jacobs, Quinton Crocker, Marius Visser, Brian Shabangu. Conversions: Reinhardt Gerber (4).
Griffons – Tries: Shane Hancke (2), Martin Sithole (3), Joubert Horn, Erik le Roux. Conversions: Hansie Graaff (6). Penalties: Graaff (2).
EP Kings (19) 45 Valke (15) 24
The victory ensured that EP remain unbeaten in the competition but they had to fight to keep a determined Valke team at bay. In fact, the Kings trailed 24-19 after 61 minutes but took full advantage when the visitors ran out of steam in the latter stages.
The sixth-placed Valke have scored as many tries as the top sides in the competition but have also had their problems defensively, conceding the second-most tries. And so it turned out in this match. The Valke made it clear they did not come to Port Elizabeth to roll and over and play dead. They ran the ball at every opportunity with their forwards setting up quality ball at the same time.
But it was the Kings who got off to the brighter start with captain and No 8 Luke Watson scoring two tries in the first 15 minutes to give his team a four-point lead at the break. They narrowed the gap to one point with a Karlo Aspeling penalty straight after the restart and then took the lead after 43 minutes through a superb Aspeling drop goal from 40m. The flyhalf then extended the cushion to five points with another penalty.
But there was always a feeling that if the Kings could lift their game a notch they would manage to take control and they did so, flanker Cornel du Preez going over for a brace followed by further scores to prop Jaco Engels and centre Wayne Stevens to complete an impressive comeback.
Kings – Tries: Wayne Stevens, Luke Watson (3), Jaco Engels, Cornell du Preez, penalty try. Conversions: George Whitehead (2), Wesley Dunlop (3).
Valke – Tries: Reg Muller, Jaco Oosthuizen. Conversion: Karlo Aspeling. Penalties: Aspeling (3). Drop goal: Aspeling.
Leopards (15) 39 Boland (24) 34
The Leopards outscored their opponents by 24 points to 10 in the second half as their powerful forwards took charge of the encounter, but both teams played their part in serving up an enjoyable match as they combined for 10 tries.
The hosts kept their semi-final hopes alive as they ran in four second-half tries, and six in total, while Boland slipped to their seventh defeat in 10 matches. However, they picked up two bonus points for their efforts against the Leopards.
The home team made an electric start to the match when they scored the first try just nine seconds after the game had started. Boland narrowed the gap thanks to two penalties from outside centre Cheswin Williams before the visitors took the lead when Williams scored an unconverted try en route to a personal haul of 19 points.
Boland may have ended the first half strongly to lead by nine points but the Leopards came out all guns blazing and they grabbed a try just 26 seconds after the restart through replacement scrumhalf Jaco Grobler. The Kavaliers hit back seven minutes later when No 8 Zandre Jordaan intercepted a pass on the Leopards’ 10-metre line before galloping clear for a converted try.
The tries were continuing to flow and the Leopards nabbed their bonus-point try in the 53rd minute when flank Robert Kruger was mauled over to make the score 31-27 in Boland’s favour.
Williams stretched the lead with a 57th-minute penalty before the Leopards clawed their way back into the contest once again when hooker Edgar Marutlulle barged his way over in the left-hand corner for a well-deserved try.
The Leopards then hit the lead for the first time since the 30th minute when lock Brendon Snyman barged his way over from close-range for a converted try in the 67th minute to make sure of the victory.
Leopards – Tries: Robert Kruger, Marius Fourie, Jaco Grobler, Edgar Marutlulle, Brendon Snyman, Berty Visser. Conversions: André Pretorius (3). Penalty: Pretorius.
Boland – Tries: Zandré Jordaan, Eric Zana, Cornal Hendricks, Cheswin Williams. Conversion: Williams. Penalties: Williams (4).
Pumas (35) 70 SWD (6) 27
The bonus-point win was vital for the Pumas as they try to prevent EP from getting too far away from them at the top of the log. The Kings temporarily stretched their lead to 13 points with their victory the previous evening over the Valke, but the Mpumalanga side ensured the gap returned to eight points at the end of the 10th of 14 rounds of league play.
If the match had been overseen by the police rather than referee Joey Salmans, the Pumas might have been charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm as they steamrolled the Eagles, a dominant pack and their powerful runners in the backline running amok.
Flanker Jaco Bouwer scored a hat-trick of tries and wing Wilhelm Loock crossed twice in the space of four minutes either side of half-time. Flyhalf JC Roos also kicked with tremendous composure and accuracy as he succeeded with all nine of his conversion attempts and replacement lock Christo le Roux kicked the 10th just for good measure.
Pumas – Tries: Wilhelm Loock (2), Uzair Cassiem, Nqubeko Zulu, JW Jonker, Jerome Pretorius, Jaco Bouwer (3), Ashwin Scott. Conversions: JC Roos (9), Christo Roos.
SWD – Tries: Wayne Khan, Elric van Vuuren (2). Conversions: Van Vuuren (3). Penalties: Van Vuuren (2).
Currie Cup – Premier division
Lions (18) 32 Griquas (28) 42
A late try from Jean Stemmet sealed a famous victory for Pote Human’s side and finally banked themselves points for a win in this year’s competition. Human had warned that this was a watershed moment in their campaign and only if they won would they consider themselves able to compete in this level of competition.
And what a passionate performance it was. Buoyed by their own plethora of ball, and given some poor defence by the Lions at times, Griquas took their chances when it mattered to take the lead in the first half and never looked back. In the end they outscored the Lions five tries to four, stopped a late comeback and ensured a full-house of points from an away fixture where away victories are very valuable indeed.
Lions – Tries: Ross Cronje, Jaco Kriel, Anthony Volmink (2). Conversions: Elton Jantjies, Andries Coetzee, Butch James. Penalties: Jantjies (2).
Griquas – Tries: Willie le Roux, Ryno Barnes, Rocco Jansen, Jean Stemmet, Jannie Boshoff. Conversions: Francois Brummer (4). Penalties: Brummer (3).
Sharks (6) 34 Free State (21) 32
Centre Meyer Bosman completed an impressive Sharks comeback by scoring the try and conversion that secured his team a narrow but ultimately deserved win. Having trailed for most of the game, the Sharks looked well out of it at half-time after conceding two soft tries in quick succession late in the half. But although they gave away more soft points in the second, they protected their possession far better and scored the four tries that enabled them to take full points from the game.
It was in the balance in the last 10 minutes, and when the Cheetahs were on the attack between the 70th and 75th minutes and they led 32-27, it looked as though the Bloemfontein team might score an upset win.
While the Sharks had spent most of the second half on attack, they still gave away soft points, and Cheetahs flyhalf Sias Ebersohn might well have been the man of the match had his team won for his two well taken drop goals and the brilliantly directed kick that put wing Nico Scheepers in for a try that kept the Cheetahs ahead just when the Sharks looked well back in it.
But the Sharks have impressive resolve these days, and they don’t give up easily. A brace of tries from Odwa Ndungane to follow an early second-half try in the corner from Riaan Viljoen cut what at one stage had been a 16 point deficit to just five. And when centre Paul Jordaan scythed through the middle with five minutes to go it created just the opportunity the Sharks needed.
The Kings Park faithful would have had their hearts in their mouths as in a few instances it looked as though the Sharks might butcher their big advantage in numbers as they built up, but eventually Bosman was put over for the try that drew the scores level. The former Cheetah then capped a fine all-round performance – his goalkicking was also spot on all game – by kicking the conversion that clinched it with just over four minutes left on the clock.
Sharks – Tries: Riaan Viljoen, Odwa Ndungane (2), Meyer Bosman. Conversions: Bosman (4). Penalties: Bosman (2).
Cheetahs – Tries: Sarel Pretorius, Raymond Rhule, Nico Scheepers. Conversion: Scheepers. Penalties: Scheepers (3). Drop goals: Sias Ebersohn (2).
Western Province (17) 42 Blue Bulls (6) 6
Western Province produced a scintillating display of running rugby to demolish the Blue Bulls. In a game which was incredibly one-sided and hardly the showdown that many anticipated, WP capitalised on several unforced errors and produced some truly mouth watering play which included five tries – something not seen at Newlands for close on a year!
On a night where it was supposed to be a massive battle, there was simply only one team on the park. After Louis Fouchè missed an opening penalty for the visitors, the home side swooped into a 10-point lead thanks to a penalty by Demitri Catrikilis and Nic Groom’s outstretched hand from close distance.
Fouchè managed to bring the Bulls six points through penalties, but it was the last points the visitors were to see as WP stamped their authority on the game and simply took control. On top of that, their forwards were butchered by the Province pack, as the Bulls simply had no answer to the onslaught they faced.
The scoreline moved further away when the Province pack went for the corner, and drove the ball over, with captain Deon Fourie claiming the score after pushing their way through the Bulls’ brittle defence.
It was a display of rugby that will have warmed the hearts of those calling for a more attack based game the New Zealand sides play. The skills were abundantly apparent, and it was just a case of the team trusting and embracing those skills.
WP – Tries: Nic Groom, Marcel Brache, JP du Plessis, Deon Fourie, Damian de Allende. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (4). Penalties: Catrakilis (3).
Blue Bulls – Penalties: Louis Fouchè (2).