It’s tough at the top, the saying goes, and that is true for the Currie Cup, where Griquas surged to the number one spot on Wednesday, but could see it slip away again in the coming days.
The men from the Northern Cape won their second big game on the road when they beat a 14-man Sigma Lions side in Johannesburg, but they are not in action this weekend and a number of teams will have their eyes on the top spot on the log.
Eduan Keyter’s try-scoring exploits at Emirates Airline Park equalled the Tafel Lager Griquas record of four tries in a match, that is jointly held by Dave Prins, Jearus Nicholas and Bjorn Basson.
In Wednesday’s other match, the Toyota Cheetahs had too much fire-power for DHL Western Province and won their second match on the trot in Bloemfontein, bagging a try-scoring bonus point in the process.
Six teams are in action this weekend, with big matches scheduled to take place in Bloemfontein (Totoya Cheetahs v Cell C Sharks), Nelspruit (New Nation Pumas v DHL WP) and Pretoria (Vodacom Bulls v Sigma Lions).
SA Rugby also announced a decision on points allocation for the cancelled match between the Cell C Sharks and Vodacom Bulls – the score will be recorded as 0-0 and both teams will be awarded four log points each.
The Vodacom Bulls have also agreed to move their scheduled home fixture against the Cell C Sharks, on Friday 6 August, from Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria to Jonsson Kings Park in Durban, after the KwaZulu-Natalians have already had three of their home games cancelled this season.
Meanwhile, two crucial First Division matches will take place in the Eastern Cape for Friday afternoon, with Border and Eastern Province looking to keep alive their chances of reaching the semi-finals.
The Bulldogs host the Valke in East London (14h00), and the Elephants take on the SWD Eagles in Despatch (15h00), and on Saturday, the Leopards travel to Wellington to face the Boland Kavaliers (14h00) in an encounter that could determine who gets home ground advantage in the playoffs.
The Toyota Cheetahs made it back-to-back Carling Currie Cup wins when they trumped DHL Western Province 38-21 in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, with the Free Staters’ captain, Ruan Pienaar, contributing 21 of their points.
Having secured their first win of the season against the New Nation Pumas in their previous outing – a nail-biting 17-16 triumph – tries by Duncan Saal, David Brits, Pienaar and Cohen Jasper saw the men from Bloem continue their upward curve in a big way.
Exceptional defence and the counter-attacking brilliance of Champion of the Match Clayton Blommetjies set them up for success and while they’re still at the bottom of the log and left with plenty of catching up to do, the emphatic upset keeps the Toyota Cheetahs in the hunt.
DHL WP failed to convert territorial supremacy into points in a first half they dominated but finished scoreless, didn’t get enough reward for the lion’s share of possession they had in the second stanza as well and slipped far too many tackles.
Toyota Cheetahs 38 (11) – Tries: Duncan Saal, David Brits, Ruan Pienaar, Cohen Jasper. Conversions: Pienaar (2), Reinhardt Fortuin. Penalty goals: Pienaar (4).
DHL Western Province 21 (6) – Tries: Evan Roos (2), Thomas Bursey. Conversions: Tim Swiel (2), Sacha Mngomezulu.
Tafel Lager Griquas wing Eduan Keyter scored four tries as his side claimed their second successive big scalp away from home with a 41-31 victory over the Sigma Lions in a high-scoring Carling Currie Cup match in Johannesburg on Wednesday afternoon.
The bonus-point win at Emirates Airline Park – two weeks after they beat DHL Western Province in Cape Town – shot Tafel Lager Griquas to the top of the Carling Currie Cup Premier Division log.
Three of Keyter’s four tries came after the home team were reduced to 14 men when EW Viljoen (fullback) was red carded for a dangerous tackle in the 54th minute.
Tafel Lager Griquas took their opportunities, defended well and hit back by scoring almost every time they conceded points, while the Sigma Lions enjoyed the upper hand upfront, but could not make it count, while their discipline also let them down.
Sigma Lions 31 (12) – Tries: Morne van den Berg, Sti Sithole, Rabz Maxwane, Ruan Dreyer, Travis Gordon. Conversions: Jordan Hendrikse (3).
Tafel Lager Griquas 41 (17) – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Eduan Keyter (4). Conversions: George Whitehead (5). Penalty goals: Whitehead (2).