It was a Carling Currie Cup weekend to cherish for the two teams from the Free State as the Toyota Cheetahs broke their Premier Division duck, while the Down Touch Griffons put some distance between them and the chasing pack on the First Division standings.
The men from Bloemfontein beat the New Nation Pumas by 17-16 on Friday afternoon, their first win of the season, which cost the Lowvelders an opportunity to move to the top of the Premier Division standings.
Despite their midweek defeat, DHL Western Province remain at the top of the log in the Premier Division with 12 points after four games, followed by the New Nation Pumas (11 after four), Tafel Lager Griquas (10 after four), Vodacom Bulls (10 after three), Cell C Sharks (seven after two), Sigma Lions (five after two) and Toyota Cheetahs (four after three).
In the First Division, the Down Touch Griffons recorded a big win over the Valke, while the Boland Kavaliers and Border Bulldogs were also victorious, with the men from East London registering a big win over their Eastern Cape neighbours, their first of the season.
With no midweek matches scheduled for this week, the action will resume again on Friday.
Cheetahs edge Pumas in Bloemfontein nail-biter
The Toyota Cheetahs clinched a morale-boosting win when they pipped the New Nation Pumas 17-16 in a Carling Currie Cup cliff-hanger in chilly Bloemfontein on Friday afternoon.
Having endured a hammering at the hands of Tafel Lager Griquas in their opening encounter following a bye in round one and seen their fixture against the Vodacom Bulls scrapped due to COVID-19 protocols, the Free Staters were desperate to open their account and had it all to do as they were without 16 players as well as head coach Hawies Fourie.
Tafel Lager Griquas’ stunning 30-28 upset victory over DHL Western Province on Wednesday opened the door for the Lowvelders to leapfrog the Capetonians at the top of the table, but the Toyota Cheetahs slammed it shut as two second-half tries paved the way for a thrilling victory.
Toyota Cheetahs 17 (3) – Tries: Ruan Pienaar, Lesley Botha. Conversions: Pienaar (2). Penalty goal: Pienaar.
New Nation Pumas 16 (6) – Try: Penalty try. Penalty goals: Eddie Fouché (3).
The Down Touch Griffons took firm control of the standings in the Carling Currie Cup First Division with a comprehensive 32-3 victory over the Valke in Welkom on Saturday, opening up an eight-point gap at the top of the log.
The men from the Northern Free State are on 19 points after four games, followed by the Leopards (11), the Boland Kavaliers and Valke (both on 10), but all three of these teams have a game in hand on the Down Touch Griffons.
The Border Bulldogs recorded their first win of the season in the Eastern Cape derby, when they beat Eastern Province by 41-20 in East London, with Litha Nkula (right wing) contributing 21 points, while the Kavaliers returned to winning ways with a 28-21 win over the SWD Eagles.
Boland Kavaliers 28 SWD Eagles 21
Boland Kavaliers – Tries: Kelvin Fikster, Dylan Maart, Andre Manuel (2). Conversion: Garrick Mattheus. Penalty goals: Mattheus (2).
SWD Eagles – Tries: Kirsten Heyns, Eldrid James. Conversion: JP Duvenhage. Penalty goals: Duvenhage, Shane Ball (2).
Down Touch Griffons 32 Valke 3
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Doctor Booysen, Lindokuhle Welemu, Morne Joubert, Granwill Matthys, Domenic Smit. Conversions: Jaywinn Juries (2). Penalty goal: Juries.
Valke – Penalty goal: Anrich Richter.
Border Bulldogs 41 Eastern Province 20
Border Bulldogs – Tries: Thabo Ntunja, Billy Dutton, Yamnkela Mzozoyana, Lwandile Mapuko, Litha Nkula (2). Conversions: Nkula (4). Penalty goal: Nkula.
Eastern Province – Tries: Davian Swanepoel (2), Riaan Arends. Conversion: Luvo Claassen. Penalty goal: Josh Allderman.