Griquas cement top spot in the table
July 18, 2009
The Blue Bulls Tiger Mangweni evades the tackle of Western Province's Peter Grant © Getty Images
Scrum-half Sarel Pretorius was the star of the show for the Griquas as they accounted for the Leopards with a 36-11 victory in Kimberley to claim top spot in the Currie Cup table.
Leopards fly-half Clayton Durand and his opposite number Naas Olivier exchanged early penalties before Leopards winger Colin Lloyd and fullback Russell Jeacocks combined well to notch the opening try of the game. Oliver reduced the arrears with another penalty and Egon Seconds put the Griquas ahead with a try soon after.
Fullback Riaan Viljoen extended their advantage with a long-range drop goal before Pretorius scored his first try just before half-time. Olivier and Durand traded further penalties after the break before Pretorius sealed the win with his second try that was converted by Olivier. But they were not finished with lock Brendon Snyman securing the bonus point.
The Blue Bulls kept the pressure on the leaders with a 30-22 victory over Western Province in Pretoria to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. The hosts outscored their Cape Town rivals three tries to one with winger Gerhard van den Heever grabbing two and prop Gurthro Steenkamp also burrowing over.
Western Province opened the scoring with an early penalty from impressive fly-half Willem de Waal but the hosts responded with a well-worked try for Van der Heever who crossed in the corner. Bulls No.10 Francois Brummer added the extras to stretch the home side's lead before De Waal closed the gap again with his second penalty.
The Bulls reasserted themselves with Van der Heever getting on the end of a sweeping move to grab his second try which was again converted by Brummer. But they could not shake of the visitors and two more penalties from De Waal brought them to within two points before the break. However, Western Province gifted Brummer his first penalty of the game before they headed to the tunnel.
Brummer was on target again soon after the re-start with a well-struck drop goal and the Bulls turned the screw with their third try from Steenkamp. Brummer's conversion was again on target to take his side into a 15-point lead.
Western Province skipper Luke Watson was then driven over for a try and De Waal added the conversion as the visitors threatened a comeback. A further penalty from the fly-half closed the gap but his side were unable to capitalise on their forward dominance. In the end Brummer had the final say with a late penalty.
The Golden Lions produced a stirring fight-back to secure their first win of the Currie Cup season against the Free State Cheetahs at Ellis Park, scoring two late tries for a 31-22 victory.
Scrum-half Janno Vermaak rounded off a superb personal performance with a breathtaking pick-up for his side's final try, adding to his pinpoint pass to send winger Johan Jackson in for their second. The visitors had earlier taken a commanding lead thanks to a close-range try from prop Wian du Preez and a clutch of points from fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgieter, including a majestic long-range drop-goal.
The Lions' fightback began with a try before the break by Walter Venter, while new-recruit Herkie Kruger got the scoreboard moving further with a pair of penalties ahead of half-time. Their hopes looked to have taken a serious hit when No.8 Willem Alberts was sin-binned, slightly harshly, for a shoulder charge following a chip and chase but the home side actually came out of his sin-binning in credit thanks to another penalty from Kruger.
Potgieter then extended the Cheetahs' lead before a box-office closing ten minutes, where Johnson and Vermaak sent Naka Drotske's Free State back to Bloemfontein with plenty to ponder.
On Friday, The Sharks romped to a 46-10 victory over the Cavaliers in their Currie Cup clash at Kings Park in Durban.
The hosts ran in seven tries to get their campaign back on track after an opening round defeat at the hands of Western Province last weekend. Keegan Daniel and Craig Burden both dotted down twice for the defending champions with Riaan Swanepoel, Deon Carstens, Albert van den Berg also crossing.
Boland's only score came from centre Deon Scholtz as they were brought back down to earth following their victory over the Leopards last weekend.
The Sharks' impressive forwards laid the foundation for the victory and they were rewarded with six of their side's tries with hooker Burder and No.8 Daniel leading the way.
Swanepoel set the tone with the first score with less than a minute on the clock which scrum-half Rory Kockott converted. The Cavaliers responded with a penalty from fullback Justin Peach but it was one-way traffic from that point on.
First Kockott slotted a penalty midway through the half before prop Deon Carstens raced away to score a notable try. Burden was then the beneficiary of some good work from the rest of his pack and the bonus point was secured with Daniel touching down after a great counter-attacking move.
Daniel had his second soon after the re-start and Burden got on the end of a blindside move a few minutes later to underline the Sharks' dominance. A raft of changes and a yellow card for Guy Cronje robbed the home side of their momentum and as a result Scholtz was able to score.
The Sharks rounded off the scoring however with lock Van den Berg intercepting a loose pass before galloping away for his side's final try.
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