Western Province crush Pumas
July 31, 2010
Western Province No.8 Duane Vermeulen congratulates team-mate Gio Aplon on one of his two tries against the Pumas © Getty Images
Western Province strengthened their grip at the top of the Currie Cup table with a 54-13 demolition of the Pumas at Newlands.
The boot of Western Province fly-half Willem De Waal did the early damage with three penalties but the Pumas stayed in touch thanks to Edgar Watts' own long-range three-pointer. Despite dominating the contest the home side struggled to break down a determined Pumas defence until midway through the half when Western Province finally struck with flanker Pieter Louw grabbing a try that was followed by two more from wing Gio Aplon. And the bonus point was in the bag before the break with captain Anton van Zyl barging his way over.
A change of strip at half-time appeared to inspire a Pumas revival and again they frustrated the hosts for long periods whilst also making them work in defence. But usual service eventually resumed with Louw grabbing his second just short of the hour mark following a driving maul. The Pumas rallied with a try from replacement Shaun Venter and substitute hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld grabbed his side's second just two minutes later.
But Western Province would have the final say in the contest with replacement fly-half Lionel Cronje pouncing for an interception before racing away to score before wing JJ Engelkbrecht rounded off the scoring with a try in the corner.
Pat Lambie was the hero as the Natal Sharks made it three wins on the bounce by coming from behind to claim an incredibly dramatic 25-13 victory over the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The game, which pitted third against fourth at the start of play, was a predictably tight affair. After Louis Strydom and Lambie had exchanged penalties in a fiercely competitive opening quarter, the Cheetahs notched the game's opening try on 34 minutes, Tewis de Bruin diving over after catching the Sharks napping with a quick tap. Strydom converted and the home side went in 10-3 up at the interval.
Strydom stretched the Cheetahs' advantage to ten points with a penalty just after the restart only to see Lambie reply in kind soon after. Still, with the Sharks looking horribly toothless in attack, the Cheetahs appeared set to grind out a valuable win. However, they were rocked by the concession of three tries in the final eight minutes.
The Sharks drew to within two points when Eugene van Staden forced his way over. Then, with just two minutes of normal time remaining, the Sharks pilfered back possession inside their own 22 before launching a counter-attack which ended with Lwazi Mvovo and Ryan Kankowski combining to put Lambie through to score.
Lambie added the extras, to put the men from Durban ahead for the first time in the game, and then crossed again just moments after the restart, the fly-half again the beneficiary of some excellent link play from Mvovo and Kankowski. Lambie converted once more and the Sharks had pulled off a quite remarkable comeback which had left the shell-shocked Cheetahs without even the consolation of a losing bonus point.
The Blue Bulls got back to winning ways on Saturday thanks to Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who racked up 27 points in their 32-18 victory over the Golden Lions in Johannesburg. The reigning Currie Cup champions, who had been without a win since their opening day triumph over the Pumas, were far from convincing but Potgieter guided them home, racking up a try, two conversions and six penalties. Gerhard van den Heever scored the visitors' other try.
The reigning Currie Cup champions, who had been without a win since their opening day triumph over the Bulls, were far from convincing but Potgieter guided them home, racking up a try, two conversions and six penalties. Gerhard van den Heever scored the visitors' other try. Potgieter opened the scoring with a penalty after a dominant start from the visitors but it was the hosts who crossed the whitewash first, Deon van Rensburg touching down after a sweeping Lions attack.
Potgieter and Elton Janties exchanged penalties before the Bulls registered their first try through van den Heever, who finished off some good work from John Mametsa. Potgieter converted and the visitors were 13-8 to the good. The Lions responded with a second try, through Warren Whiteley, but Potgieter responded with a penalty and that saw the Bulls hold a one-point advantage at the interval.
The second half was all about Potgieter, the No.10 stroking over three penalties to pull his side clear before notching a try late on to put the seal on a first win in three games for the Bulls.
The Griquas kept the pressure on the leaders with a 41-27 victory over basement side the Leopards at Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday. Fly-half Naas Olivier was the star of the show with 21 points courtesy of a try, five conversions and two penalties.
A try from scrum-half Michael Bondesio and a penalty from Niell Jacobs gave the Leopards and early advantage but the Griquas clawed their way back into the game with a Olivier penalty followed by three tries before the break through in-form winger Bjorn Basson, lock Frikkie Spies and Olivier.
The Leopards responded after the break with another try for Bondesio and a penalty from replacement No.10 Clayton Durand but it would be as close as they would get with Griquas scrum-half Sarel Pretorius crossing for a try that restored a comfortable cushion. Olivier edged his side further ahead before Basson struck with his second try but the Leopards would have the final say with a try from lock Palm Koch deep into injury time.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra