Gauteng rivals set Currie Cup pace

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In Durban, the Sharks opened their account with a win over the Eastern Province Kings, which means the Kings, Free State Cheetahs and the ORC Griquas are still searching for their first win after two rounds of Premier Division matches.

At Emirates Airline Park in Joburg, the Golden Lions survived a bruising battle against the Steval Pumas to win 44-27 (half-time 20-10) on Friday night. In another Friday evening clash Blue Bulls flyhalf Tian Schoeman contributed 21 points to steer his team to a 36-12 victory over Griquas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. Griquas led 12-6 at halftime.

Western Province beat the Free State Cheetahs 9-3 in driving rain on Saturday afternoon to hand new coach, John Dobson, his first Absa Currie Cup win at Newlands in Cape Town. In the late Saturday kick-off the Sharks fought off a determined challenge from the EP Kings to claim a 33-25 (half-time 18-10) victory at Growthpoint Kings Park.

The Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions have both collected the maximum 10 points on offer from two outings and the Gauteng rivals are closely followed by defending champions, Western Province, who have nine league points.

Golden Lions (20) 44 Steval Pumas (10) 27

The Pumas will reflect on their lack of discipline, which resulted in two penalty tries. However, they displayed a huge amount of fighting spirit and despite trailing 10-20 at halftime, they came out with an intent which was more than matched by the Golden Lions. The second half was a points feast while three yellow cards were also dished out in that period. Two of those were shown to the Lions as they withstood a final, desperate assault from the visitors.

However, perhaps more telling was the dismissal of Pumas flyhalf and ace-kicker, JC Roos, for a deliberate knock-down as the Lions stormed through. Not only did that concede a penalty try, but it deprived the Pumas of the chance to chip away at the lead as the Lions surrendered penalties under pressure. They went for line-outs and unfortunately came away with nothing from three attempts.

Harold Vorster (outside centre), Courtnall Skosan (leftwing) and Stokkies Hanekom (replacement centre) each scored a try for the Golden Lions in addition to the two penalty tries. Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff kicked five conversions, a drop goal and two penalties for a tally of 19 points with the boot. Lively Pumas flank Marnus Schoeman dived over for his third try in two matches, while Bernado Botha (right wing) and captain Stefan Watermeyer (inside centre) also crossed for a try each. Roos added three conversions and two penalties with the boot.

Scorers: Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Harold Vorster, penalty try, Courtnall Skosan, penalty try, Stokkies Hanekom; Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (5); Drop Goal: Boshoff; Penalties: Boshoff (2).

Steval Pumas – Tries: Marnus Schoeman, Bernado Botha, Stefan Watermeyer; Conversions: JC Roos (3). Penalties: Roos (2).

Blue Bulls (6) 36 ORC Griquas (12) 12

The Blue Bulls had to fight hard for their victory on Friday evening in Pretoria, which they achieved thanks to a much better second half performance and the four tries they scored after the visitors had crossed the line twice in the opening period.

Springbok Sevens flyer Ruhan Nel, moved from centre to right wing for this clash, scored a long-range intercept try while his wing colleague Ntabeni Dukisa swivelled out of a weak tackle to score in the corner with halftime fast approaching. The Blue Bulls had a try by fullback Warrick Gelant disallowed as the last pass was ruled forward.

Replacement prop Dayan van der Westhuizen, a 2014 Junior Springbok, scored an impressive try for the home side while flyhalf Schoeman, Francois Hougaard (scrumhalf) and Jamba Ulengo (wing) completed the bonus-point tally of four tries.

Scorers: Vodacom Blue Bulls: Tries: Dayan van der Westhuizen, Tian Schoeman, Francois Hougaard, Jamba Ulengo; Conversions: Schoeman (2); Penalties: Schoeman (4).

Griquas: Tries: Ruhan Nel, Ntabeni Dukisa; Conversion: Gouws Prinsloo.

Western Province (0) 9 Toyota Free State Cheetahs (3) 3

The heavy field and persistent rain made playing conditions difficult for both teams in Newlands. Province had an early try disallowed because of a double movement after a good build-up. A yellow card to Cheetahs winger Rayno Benjamin in the 32nd minute gave WP the man over on the attack, but they did not take full advantage.

WP had the option to kick at goal on three occasions in the first half, all of which were within striking distance for flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, but instead they chose to go for the corner. Cheetahs went into the break 3-0 thanks to a Fred Zeilinga penalty.

Two successful penalty kicks after halftime by Catrakilis handed the home team a slender 6-3 lead. A second yellow card, this time to replacement loose forward Gerhard Olivier, again left the Cheetahs one man short and with a six points deficit as Catrakilis slotted the resulting penalty for what would eventually be the winning score line.

Scorers: DHL Western Province – Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (3);

Free State Cheetahs – Penalty: Fred Zeilinga

Sharks (18) 33 Eastern Province Kings (10) 25

It was the Sharks’ first victory after their opening day loss away to the Pumas last weekend. The home team managed to stand firm in the closing stages and claimed five match points much to the relief of their supporters.

It was a promising effort by the Kings and the bonus point they earned for scoring four tries will give them much confidence heading into the remainder of the competition.

André Esterhuizen (leftwing), Lionel Cronjé (flyhalf), Daniel du Preez (flank) and Paul Jordaan (replacement centre) all scored tries for the home side with Joe Pietersen (fullback) adding two conversions and two penalties. George Whitehead (flyhalf), Tim Agaba (No 8), Steven Sykes (lock) and Enrico Acker (scrumhalf) were the EP Kings’ scorers. Whitehead also kicked a conversion and a penalty.

Scorers: Cell C Sharks – Tries: André Esterhuizen, Lionel Cronjé, Daniel du Preez, Paul Jordaan; Conversions: Joe Pietersen (2); Penalties: Pietersen (3)

EP Kings – Tries: George Whitehead, Tim Agaba, Steven Sykes, Enrico Acker; Conversion: Whitehead; Penalty: Whitehead.

– ANA

Original source: Gauteng rivals set Currie Cup pace

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