EP sneak into semis

Marnitz Boshoff, Rosco Spekman, Cheslin Kolbe and Lizo Gqoboka were the heroes as the Lions, Pumas, WP and EP progressed to the Vodacom Cup semi-finals.

The Pumas will host EP at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit next weekend, while the defending champions, Western Province, have to travel to Ellis Park in Joburg to face the Lions.

Both semi-finals are scheduled for next Saturday, with the kick-off times to be confirmed early in the week.

Lions flyhalf Boshoff kicked 27 points as his team beat the Sharks 42-25 at Kings Park. The KwaZulu-Natalians were strengthened by Willem Alberts and Ryan Kankowski, but they could not stop the Lions from scoring three tries to one.

The match started with Boshoff and his Sharks counterpart Fred Zeilinga trading penalties, with the visitors leading 18-9 shortly before the break, but their lead was cut to 18-16 when Sizo Maseko scored the first try of the match for the Sharks. The Lions found their groove in the second half as Anthony Volmink, Chrysander Botha and Deon van Rensburg all crossed for tries, while Boshoff kept on slotting his kicks at goal.

In Nelspruit, Specman scored a hat-trick of tries as the Pumas beat the Pampas 44-37 in a try-fest at the Mbombela Stadium. Specman’s third try, five minutes from the end of the match, gave the team from Mpumalanga some breathing space at 44-30, but the Argentineans crossed for their fifth try right at the death.

The match was pretty evenly matched as both sides scored five tries each, but the big difference was Carl Bezuidenhout, who kicked 19 points for a total tally of 24 as the Pampas’ kicker, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, missed 13 points through fluffed kicks at goal.

In Cape Town, Kolbe – who has played for the Blitzbokke, and was recently picked at fullback for the Baby Boks – scored both Western Province’s tries as they had to dig deep to beat Griquas 21-10 at Newlands. Kolbe’s first try came shortly before the break to help the home team draw level at half-time. However, it was Kolbe’s second try, a few minutes into the second half, gave the home team a shot in the arm as it started a scoring sequence of 11 points in 10 minutes, which proved to be the difference in the end.

And finally, in Pretoria it was EP loosehead prop Gqoboka who broke the hearts of the Blue Bulls with the winning try in injury time of their quarter-final at Loftus Versfeld. The visitors won 34-31. Gqoboka’s try was the Kings’ third in the last eight minutes of the match, which set up an unlikely victory. With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, the home team were leading by 31-13 and seemingly cruising towards their umpteenth Vodacom Cup semi-final.

But EP’ Mpho Mbiyozo, Dalton Davis and Gqoboka had other plans as they all crossed for late tries – all of them converted by Wesley Dunlop – to cause probably the biggest shock of the weekend.

All the scorers:

Sharks 25 (16) Lions 42 (18)

Sharks– Try: Sizo Maseko. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalty goals: Fred Zeilinga (6).

Lions – Tries: Anthony Volmink, Chrysander Botha, Deon van Rensburg. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (3). Penalty goals: Boshoff (6). Drop goal: Boshoff.

Pumas 44 (27) Pampas 37 (15)

Pumas – Tries: Rosko Specman (3), Vincent Koch, Carl Bezuidenhout. Conversions: Bezuidenhout (5). Penalty goals: Bezuidenhout (3).

Pampas – Tries: Manuel Montero, Martin Garcia Veiga, Ramiro Moyano, Rodrigo Baez, Tomas Cubelli. Conversions: Santiago Gonzales Iglesias (3). Penalty goals: Iglesias (2).

Western Province 21 (10) Griquas 13 (10)

Western Province – Tries: Cheslin Kolbe (2). Conversion: Kurt Coleman. Penalty goals: Coleman (3).

Griquas – Try: Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Pieter-Steyn de Wet. Penalty goals: De Wet (2).

Blue Bulls 31 (17) EP 34 (6)

Blue Bulls – Tries: Sampie Mastriet, Dries Swanepoel, Wiaan Liebenberg, Basil Short. Conversions: Handré Pollard (4). Penalty goal: Pollard.

EP – Tries: Stefan Willemse, Mpho Mbiyozo, Dalton Davis, Lizo Gqoboka. Conversions: Scott van Breda, Wesley Dunlop (3). Penalty goals: Van Breda (2).