The Vodacom Bulls returned to the summit on the Carling Currie Cup log courtesy of a bonus-point victory over DHL Western Province in Pretoria on Wednesday night, after the Cell C Sharks and Airlink Pumas maintained their push for semi-final spots with good wins.
The Durbanites got back to winning ways with a hard-fought win over Windhoek Draught Griquas in Kimberley, while the Airlink Pumas were too strong for the Sigma Lions in Nelspruit.
With the unbeaten Toyota Cheetahs enjoying a bye, the defending champions grabbed the lead courtesy of six-try triumph at Loftus Versfeld to move to 30 points on the log. They are now four points clear of the Free Staters, who have played one less game than the Vodacom Bulls’ seven.
The Cell C Sharks remained in third place and although they improved their points tally to 22, they are four points behind the second-placed Toyota Cheetahs.
The race for fourth spot on the log is a tussle between Windhoek Draught Griquas and the Airlink Pumas. Although the Kimberley outfit (currently on 16 points) managed to hang onto fourth place despite their narrow home defeat to the Durbanites, the Lowvelders’ win over the men from Johannesburg means the gap between positions four and five has been reduced to just a single point.
DHL WP’s loss in Pretoria was their sixth in seven games and they find themselves second from bottom (with eight points), with the last-placed Sigma Lions still winless after seven starts.
Meanwhile, the Carling Currie Cup First Division continues on Thursday, when Eastern Province host Georgian outfit, Black Lion, from 19h00 at the NMU Madibaz Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay. SuperSport will broadcast this match, as well as Friday evening’s clash at Outeniqua Park in George between SWD and Boland.
As an added bonus, Saturday’s First Division clashes between the Down Touch Griffons and the Zimbabwean Goshawks in Welkom, and the Valke and Kenya’s Simbas in Brakpan, will be streamed live on the SuperSport Schools App and the SuperSport Schools YouTube channel – click here to access the YouTube channel.
To access the Carling Currie Cup First Division fixtures and scores, click here.
Vodacom Bulls grab top spot with win over DHL WP at Loftus
The Vodacom Bulls leaped into first place on the Carling Currie Cup log with a bonus-point 45-34 victory over arch-rivals DHL Western Province in their North-South derby at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Wednesday evening.
The clash exploded into a try-scoring festival in the second half as both teams turned on the style with some good attacking rugby.
This was after the hosts led by only 17-15 at the break after a slow start during which the visitors snuffed out a number of try-scoring opportunities by the men in light blue.
However, Gert Smal’s team eventually clinched the result via five tries plus a late penalty try, while DHL WP – despite scoring five tries themselves – were left lamenting their poor discipline, as they were shown three yellow cards which didn’t helped their cause.
Vodacom Bulls 45 (17) – Tries: Robert Hunt, Keagan Johannes, David Kriel (2), Lizo Gqoboka, Penalty try. Conversions: Morne Steyn (5). Penalty goal: Steyn.
DHL Western Province 34 (15) – Tries: JJ Kotze, Marcel Theunissen, Cornel Smit, Tristan Leyds, Angelo Davids. Conversions: Tim Swiel (2), Kade Wolhuter. Penalty goal: Swiel.
Cell C Sharks win tough arm wrestle in Kimberley
The Cell C Sharks returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 13-6 win over hosts Windhoek Draught Griquas in their Carling Currie Cup encounter in Kimberley on Wednesday evening. The team from Durban led 10-6 at the break.
After suffering two back-to-back losses in their previous outings, the KwaZulu-Natalians bounced back to beat a determined home side in a tough tussle played in excellent early evening conditions in the Northern Cape.
Cell C Sharks hooker Fez Mbatha grabbed the only try of the match when he dotted down after a lineout maul, while Joaquin Diaz Bonilla added the extras. The Cell C Sharks pivot also hit the target later on with an easy penalty goal attempt.
The second half was a real arm wrestle, with neither side able to gain the outright advantage. However, flyhalf Joaquin Diaz Bonilla had the final say when he easily kicked over a 76th minute penalty goal attempt to seal a tightly contested match.
Windhoek Draught Griquas 6 (6) – Penalty goals: George Whitehead (2).
Cell C Sharks 13 (6) – Try: Fez Mbatha. Conversion: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla. Penalty goals: Bonilla (2).
Airlink Pumas sink claws into Sigma Lions in Nelspruit
The Airlink Pumas made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they kicked off the second half of the Carling Currie Cup with a commanding 45-10 win over the Sigma Lions on a hot Wednesday afternoon in Nelspruit.
The Lowvelders shot out of the blocks and were ruthless as they wrapped up the four-try bonus point and snuffed out any hopes the Sigma Lions had of breaking their duck in just 28 minutes.
The shell-shocked visitors finally got a foothold in the fixture two minutes before half-time, hooker Jacques-Lois du Toit scoring from a driving maul to give them the faintest of silver linings to look at pushing on from trailing 26-5 at the break.
They did that to an extent but the hosts dotted down three more times to build on their 37-11 win over DHL Western Province.
Airlink Pumas 45 (26) – Tries: Eduan Swart, Sebastian de Klerk, Corne Fourie, Tinus de Beer, Devon Williams, Willie Engelbrecht, Alwayno Visagie. Conversions: Eddie Fouche (5).
Sigma Lions 10 (5) – Tries: Jacques-Lois du Toit, Sasko Ndlovu.