Vodacom Cup wrap
The Golden Lions snuck into the Vodacom Cup quarter-finals – which will be hosted by the Steval Pumas, Sharks XV, Blue Bulls and Western Province – when they smashed a few records against the Limpopo Blue Bulls on Saturday.
The team from Johannesburg raised the bar this weekend with a new South African first-class record for the biggest victory ever, when they beat the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls by 161-3 (points difference of 158).
The previous record only stood for a fortnight when the Steval Pumas crushed the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls by 154-0. The Johannesburgers’ 161 was only two points shy of the most points ever scored in a first-class match in South Africa, by Lowveld over Transkei in 1994 (163-10).
Their 25 tries is also a South African first-class record, while Anthony Volmink’s nine tries for the Golden Lions was one more than the previous national record, held by Mark Watson for Lowveld against Transkei in 1994.
Volmink’s 47 points – he also slotted a conversion – is a new Vodacom Cup record for the most points by one player in a single match, which was held by Naas Olivier of GWK Griquas (against the Down Touch Griffons in 2009).
The Golden Lions will travel to Durban to take on the Sharks XV in their playoffs – the other three quarter-finals are between the Steval Pumas and the Pampas XV in Nelspruit, Western Province and GWK Griquas in Cape Town and the Blue Bulls and EP Kings in Pretoria.
The dates, kick-off times and venues for the four quarter-finals will be confirmed early next week.
Springbok loose forward Willem Alberts scored two tries in his first match of the season, as the Sharks XV finished the league phase of the competition with a good 46-31 win over the Pampas XV in Durban on Friday evening.
Alberts, who had been out with a shoulder injury, played 60 minutes of the match, which the KwaZulu-Natalians had sewn up at the break when they led 36-5.
Western Province secured home ground advantage in the quarter-finals after a 75th minute try by Kobus van Wyk, which helped them to a 41-37 win over the Free State XV at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Four tries by the EP Kings were enough to see off a fiery Boland Cavaliers by 27-23 in an exciting match at the Wesbank Stadium in Malmesbury on Saturday afternoon.
In the final match of the South Section, Karlo Aspeling was the Border Bulldogs’ hero as he kicked 20 points in their 25-19 win over the SWD Eagles in George on Friday evening.
It was the Bulldogs’ second successive win of the season as the finished a somewhat disappointing 2013 campaign in style at Outeniqua Park.
The most exciting match in the North Section this weekend, was in Potchefstroom, where the Leopards XV lost by 28-29 to GWK Griquas on Friday. The team from North West subsequently crashed out of the Vodacom Cup courtesy of the Golden Lions, but they put up a good fight in a tense match against the team from the Northern Cape.
GWK Griquas was too strong for the Valke and won by 40-7 in Kempton Park, with Janro van Niekerk recording a hat-trick of tries – an impressive feat for a prop.
The fourth North Section match of the weekend was a one-sided affair at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, where the Blue Bulls scored 13 tries as they crushed the Griffons by 89-10 on Saturday afternoon.