Leopards keep the pressure on Griquas
Griquas scored six tries to record a vital bonus point win over the Valke in their penultimate Currie Cup Premier Division Qualifying match on Saturday in Kimberley.
The five points allowed the Griquas to maintain their slender one point lead over the charging Leopards, who outplayed Regent Boland 55-23 in an entertaining fixture at Wellington.
Border Bulldogs are still winless after they suffered another home defeat, this time going down 41-15 against the Down Touch Griffons in East London on Friday evening. The defeat means Border will finish in the last position on the log.
With just one point separating the two top teams, all eyes will now be on the deciding round of fixtures this coming Saturday. Leopards face the Border Bulldogs in Potchefstroom while the Griquas face a more daunting task at Outeniqua Park against the SWD Eagles. The Griffons and Valke clash in the other fixture while Boland have already completed their six matches.
Griquas 40 - Valke 25
Griquas started at a steady pace, but it was the Valke who got on the scoreboard first with flyhalf Juan Kotze kicking a drop goal in the early exchanges. It was not long before the attacks paid off and Griquas flanker Marnus Schoeman scored the first try of the afternoon for the hosts. Flyhalf Francois Brummer converted to give the Kimberley based side a lead of 7-3.
Schoeman was awarded with his second try of the afternoon shortly after, rounding off a good passage of play, with Brummer converting to stretch the lead to 11 points. Kotze replied with a penalty. Griquas lock Boela Serfontein then barged over and Brummer converted (halftime 21-6).
Griquas No 8 Burger Schoeman scored the vital bonus point try just after halftime, which Brummer converted. However, the Valke hit back with their first try when winger Riaan Arends dotted down. Kotze, who slotted the conversion, then crossed for the Valke’s second try. Griquas answered with a Tian Meyer (scrumhalf) try after some exciting attacking rugby.
Meyer got his second try in the 56th minute after a well-executed lineout. A lapse in concentration on Griquas side allowed Valke in for their third try by centre Andrew van Wyk.
Griquas 40 (21): Tries: Marnus Schoeman (2), Boela Serfontein, Burger Schoeman, Tian Meyer (2); Conversions: Francois Brummer (5).
Valke 25 (6): Tries: Riaan Arends, Juan Kotze, Andrew van Wyk; Conversions: Juan Kotze (2); Penalty: Juan Kotze; Drop Goal: Juan Kotze
Boland 23 - Leopards 55
The visitors were again in rampant mood and ran in nine tries to the hosts’ two. They secured the all-important bonus point try on the stroke of halftime.
Dillon du Preez, the Leopards’ live-wire scrumhalf, gave the visitors the perfect start when he side-stepping past two defenders to score after just six minutes. Former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius easily converted. Flanker Juan Language then rounded off a good move for the Leopards after a powerful forward maul. Pretorius converted from the touchline.
Three penalties by Morne Hugo brought the home team back into the game, but the hosts then fell apart with just five minutes remaining in the half. Smit took a quick tap penalty and charged up field before sending fullback Hoffman Maritz over. Junior Bok wing Luther Obi then crashed over to give the Leopards a 15-point lead at halftime.
The second stanza began with a flurry as the Leopards ran riot with three tries inside ten minutes. Mahuza scored his sixth try of the campaign from a floating Pretorius pass. Smit crossed for his second try and Obi also dotted down again after poor defending. Replacement flyhalf Christian Rust finally scored Boland’s first try. The home side were to score again through their captain, Franzel September, but his try was sandwiched in between the Leopards’ tries of Language and Kobus de Kock.
Regent Boland 23 (9) – Tries: Christian Rust, Franzel September; Conversions: Eric Zana (2); Penalties: Hugo (3).
Platinum Leopards 55 (24) – Tries: Dillon Smit (2), Juan Language (2), Hoffman Maritz, Luther Obi (2), Sylvian Mahuza, Kobus de Kock; Conversions: Andre Pretorius (4), Maritz.
Border Bulldogs 15 - Griffons 41
Wing Norman Nelson barged over after a strong break by prop Elndre Huggett to put Griffons on the scoreboard. Flyhalf Pieter de Wet converted and added a penalty a few minutes later. Griffons lock Werner Lourens scored the visitor’s second try after good forward play. After 28 minutes Abrahams scored a superb individual try which De Wet converted.
Just before halftime and against the run of play, Border No 8 Rynardt van Wyk scored a fine try with Banda slotting the conversion. Griffons flank Armandt Koster, who had played a storming game, forced his way over and after De Wet had added two points, it left the home team adrift by 19 points at halftime.
The Griffons continued their strong showing in the second half with tries by centre Joubert Horn and fullback Tertius Maarman. Centre Lundi Ralarala scored a consolation try for Border after an excellent break. Border flyhalf Thembani Mkokeli celebrated a rare achievement, reaching his 100th cap in the game.
Border 15 (10) - Tries: Rynardt van Wyk, Lundi Ralarala. Conversion: Coyi Banda. Penalty: Banda.
Griffons 41 (20) - Tries: Norman Nelson, Werner Lourens, Boela Abrahams, Armandt Koster, Joubert Horn, Tertius Maarman. Conversion: De Wet (2). Penalty: De Wet (2).
Currie Cup Premier Division Qualifying log after Round 5:
1. Griquas 23 points
2. Leopards 22
3. SWD Eagles 15
4. Griffons 13
5. Boland 12
6. Valke 10
7. Border Bulldogs 2