Griquas edge Western Province in thriller
August 7, 2009
Sarel Pretorius was on the scoresheet for Griquas © Getty Images
Griquas continued their sensational unbeaten run in the Currie Cup with a thrilling 33-32 victory over an in-form Western Province in Kimberley.
The only unbeaten side in the tournament, Griquas survived a late surge from Province, who secured two bonus-points despite their defeat. The visitors were dealt a blow ahead of kick-off with fly-half Willem de Waal ruled out by a neck injury.
Tight-head Ruan du Preez was driven over for an early Griquas try before Joe Pietersen landed a penalty for Western Province. The visitors were then awarded a penalty try as Griquas repeatedly halted drives for their line by infringing, but livewire scrum-half Sarel Pretorius restored the home side's lead when he darted over following a quick-tap.
Riaan Viljoen extended their lead with a drop-goal, fly-half Naas Olivier also chipping in with a penalty to make it 20-10, before Province flanker Francois Louw pounced from a ruck with seconds left before half-time. With Pietersen's conversion the half-time score was 20-17.
After the break Olivier controlled play beautifully. He added another penalty before Viljoen sent Bjorn Basson under the sticks following a well-judged break. Tonderai Chavanga hit back for the away side, but Peter Grant's missed conversion proved to be costly. Du Preez was sin-binned for a high-tackle, allowing Grant to again eat in to the lead but Viljoen's second drop-goal restored an eight-point cushion.
Peter Louw had time to score a bonus-point try for Western Province, but even with Grant's conversion the Griquas held on to make it five from five.
Argentina fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez enjoyed a mixed debut for the Sharks in their 44-15 victory over the Leopards in Rustenberg, their bonus point taking them second in the table.
The Puma slotted two penalties and converted scrum-half Charl McLeod's try from a quick-tap penalty, but was forced off just after the break with a dead leg. The Sharks led 13-3 at the break, wearing down the resistance of a committed home side.
Guy Cronje replaced Hernandez, and soon after fullback Stefan Terblanche rounded off a superb team try by crossing in the corner. Cronje missed the conversion, a shame for a score that began on the Sharks' 22 and went through half a dozen sets of hands.
The Leopards lost hooker Gavin Williamson to the sin-bin, and from the resulting penalty Jacques Botes crashed over to score the Sharks' third. McLeod scored his second to secure the bonus-point, with replacement hooker Craig Burden and Chris Jordaan rounding off the scoring.
Free State Cheetahs notched their first win of the season, scoring three tries to defeat the Blue Bulls 24-15 in Bloemfontein.
Naka Drotske's Cheetahs trailed 12-3 at the break after Bulls pivot Francois Brummer had punished them with four penalties. Sevens international Robert Ebersohn saw yellow just before the break, his high tackle ending a promising Bulls break and allowing Brummer to score his fourth.
After the resumption, the Cheetahs finally exerted themselves on the game. Prop WP Nel scored five minutes after the break, with Jacques-Louis Potgieter slotting the conversion to close the Bulls' lead to two. Brummer's excellent evening with the boot continued as he added his fifth penalty, but that was to be the end of the scoring for the visitors.
Flanker Frans Viljoen crossed just before the hour mark, before former Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss notched a try of his own to secure a cathartic win.
In Wellington, the Golden Lions limped past Boland 19-13. The Cavaliers scrapped hard on their home track, but were eventually undone by a try from wing Henno Mentz and 14 points from the boot of fullback Earl Rose.
Justin Peach gave the home side an early six-point lead thanks to two penalties, while Rose was off target with his first effort. Mentz punished Boland when they spurned an easy chance to clear their line however, and Rose found his range to add the conversion.
Rose extended their lead with a penalty early in the second-half, before debutant fly-half Ruan Boshoff saw yellow for challenging Marnus Hugo in the air. Boland struck with a penalty try as wing Ernie Kruger was illegally stopped on the line, Peach adding the conversion for a 13-10 lead.
Rose found three penalties in the closing stages to steer his side to victory, the final kick coming with five minutes remaining.
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