Vodacom Cup: Round 6 wrap
With a week of league action left, no team will go into the Vodacom Cup play-offs unbeaten after the Sharks XV and the Pumas’ impressive winning runs came to an end over the weekend.
Five teams have booked their places in the quarter-finals – the Pumas and Blue Bulls in the North Section, and the Sharks XV, defending champions Western Province and Pampas XV in the South Section.
Three teams will fight it out for the last two playoff spots in the North – the Leopards XV, Griquas and Golden Lions. And in the South, the final place in the top four will go to the EP Kings or the Free State XV, with situation not looking good for the latter.
On Friday, the Golden Lions kept alive their chances of reaching the quarter-finals by beating the pace-setters in the North Section, the Pumas, by 23-14 in Nelspruit.
It was an inspired performance by the Golden Lions to beat the table-topping team from Mpumalanga at the Mbombela Stadium, with their fly-half Marnitz Boshoff contributing 13 points through a flawless kicking display, which included a good drop-goal. Flankers Jaco Kriel and Derick Minnie, who will tour with the Sharks to Australasia in the next month, scored the visitors’ tries.
The EP Kings reversed a 12-point half-time deficit to beat the Sharks XV by 27-23 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, all but assuring the team from Port Elizabeth a place in the quarter-finals.
The hosts scored three tries in the second-half tries as they handed the Sharks XV their first defeat of the season.
Also in the South Section, the Border Bulldogs ended their losing spell when they beat the Boland Cavaliers 26-25 in East London on Friday. The difference was a late penalty goal by Karlo Aspeling after both teams had scored three tries apiece at the Buffalo City Municipality Stadium.
The Pampas XV managed to fend off a spirited second-half fightback by the Free State XV to win a thrilling Vodacom Cup encounter by 38-32 in Stellenbosch on Saturday, while Western Province got a bonus-point in their 34-27 win over the SWD Eagles in the Strand.
In the North Section, Griquas stretched their winning streak over the Leopards XV to eight matches when they won an entertaining match between these two teams by 32-26 in Kimberley on Saturday. T
he result saw the Northern Cape team move to fourth on the log, while the Leopards XV dropped down to third on the standings.
The Blue Bulls beat their northern brothers, the Limpopo Blue Bulls, by 110-0 in Lephalale on Saturday. Fly-half Willie du Plessis scored 40 points – including converting 15 of his team’s 16 tries – for the Pretorians as the men from Far North suffered their fourth defeat by more than 100 points this season.
The Griffons kept alive their slim hopes of reaching the quarter-finals thanks to a hard-earned 17-6 win over the Valke at the North West Stadium in Welkom on Friday.