DHL Western Province moved to the top of the Carling Currie Cup Premier Division standings after a hard-fought victory over the Cell C Sharks in Cape Town on Wednesday, but the New Nation Pumas can overtake the Capetonians in Nelspruit on Friday.
With less than three rounds completed, there are no unbeaten teams left in the competition, underlining the tight nature of the Carling Currie Cup.
Tim Swiel kicked 22 points in windy conditions at Cape Town Stadium and now top the list of points’ scorers in the competition with 37, followed by Eddie Fouche of the New Nation Pumas on 31 and DHL WP hooker JJ Kotze on 20, courtesy of his four tries in their first round clash with the Vodacom Bulls.
After three matches, DHL Western Province are on 11 points, followed by the Vodacom Bulls (10), Cell C Sharks (7 after two matches) and New Nation Pumas (6 after two matches).
Three First Division matches are scheduled for this weekend, with the Border Bulldogs on a bye. The Down Touch Griffons, Leopards, Valke and Boland Kavaliers will be aiming to keep their unbeaten status in tact.
DHL WP edge Cell C Sharks in Cape Town thriller
DHL Western Province returned to the top of the Carling Currie Cup log thanks to a thrilling 32-31 win over the Cell C Sharks in challenging conditions in Cape Town on Wednesday, with Tim Swiel (flyhalf) kicking 22 points to help steer his side to victory.
Rain was expected but never came, treating fans at home to an entertaining encounter that ebbed and flowed for the full 80 minutes. Despite being outscored by four tries to two, John Dobson’s charges dug deep to get the job done in their first Carling Currie Cup match at Cape Town Stadium.
The impressive Evan Roos (No 8) scored a superb try for DHL Western Province shortly after the break, while Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf) crossed twice for the visitors, but in the end it was Swiel who was the hero as his flawless kicking off the tee won it for the Capetonians, that earned him the Champion of the Match award.
DHL Western Province 32 (19) – Tries: Paul de Wet, Evan Roos. Conversions: Tim Swiel (2). Penalty goals: Swiel (6).
Cell C Sharks 31 (21) – Tries: Thembelani Bholi, Jaden Hendrikse (2), Fez Mbatha. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4). Penalty goal: Bosch.
Carling Currie Cup Premier Division
Tafel Lager Griquas will have their work cut out for them if they want to build on last weekend’s impressive Premier Division victory over the Toyota Cheetahs, when they travel to the Lowveld to take on the New Nation Pumas on Friday.
The men from Mpumalanga have had a great start to the competition, with a big win over the Lions in the opening round before they made the Vodacom Bulls sweat for victory in Pretoria, leaving Loftus Versfeld with a losing bonus point.
The last time the Peacock Blues travelled to Mbombela Stadium, in December last year, they lost by 22-17 and conceding a penalty try in the process, but Eduan Keyter will have fond memories of that match as the Tafel Lager Griquas flyer scored both his team’s tries.
The New Nation Pumas’ pack laid the foundation that night and they will be looking for more of the same on Friday night.
New Nation Pumas v Tafel Lager Griquas
Date: Friday, 2 July
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Griffin Colby
Assistant Referees: Local appointments
Television Match Official: Ben Crouse
Carling Currie Cup First Division
It’ still early days in the Carling Currie Cup First Division, but Friday’s match in Brakpan, where the Valke host the Leopards, is sure to have a big influence on the eventual standings.
The Leopards are unbeaten and occupy second spot on the log, but the Valke showed they will be a team to be reckoned with this season when they have SWD 50 points in their opener a few weeks ago.
SWD have another tough encounter when the Down Touch Griffons travel to George on Friday, with the team from the Northern Free State – losing finalists in 2019 – currently first on the log with a full-house of 10 points after two big wins in their opening matches.
The final match of the weekend is on Saturday in Despatch, where Eastern Province will be looking to reverse their fortunes against the impressive Boland Kavaliers.
The Elephants are still seeking their first win of the season while the Bolanders were very impressive in dismantling the Border Bulldogs in Wellington last weekend, when the flying Dylan Maart scored four of their eight tries.