The Vodacom Cup competition resumed this past weekend with satisfying results for teams in Central South Africa.
After enjoying a break over the Easter weekend, the Toyota Free State XV convincingly came away with a bonus point win against the Sharks XV in Kokstad. It was their first win over the coastal side since 16 April 2005.
The win ensured that Free State leapfrogged the Sharks XV into third behind Western Province and Griquas, with two wins out of three.
The men from Bloemfontein will now face the Eastern Province Kings, who have only won one match thus far at the Free State Stadium, on Saturday.
Meanwhile the defending champions Griquas joined Western Province as the only unbeaten side in the south section, after the men from Kimberley ran home with a 37-25 win over Border in Hartswater on Saturday.
Border made life difficult for the Griquas in the second half, with the Kimberlites scoring tree tries in 30 minutes, but couldn’t quite capitalize from there on.
Coach Peter Engeldow told Courant there isn’t really a secret behind Griquas’ impressive form thus far, but he did pay huge credit to his players.
“No secret there. Hard work, a solid foundation, good team culture and, of course, the input from the players have been decisive for us thus far,” Engeldow said.
Captain Jaco Nepgen who went for knee surgery on Friday will miss 5-6 weeks of rugby with Hugo Klopper and Francois Brummer the possible captaincy replacements. Centre JW Jonker and flanker Burger Schoeman will both see specialists in Bloemfontein this week after sustaining injuries against Border.
Griquas will next face Boland. Engeldouw emphasised they will want to be more accurate and execute better come Saturday.
Unfortunately, the Griffons suffered their second loss of the season with a 38-17 defeat to the Valke in Welkom on Friday. To hand the vistors their first win of the season.
The Griffons find themselves sixth on the log with five points after one win in three matches with the Lions still comfortably leading proceedings in North Section with 23 points. The Johannesburg side is still unbeaten after five matches.
Results from the weekend:
11 EP Kings 13 – 19 DHL Western Province Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
11 Cell C Sharks XV 18 – 35 Toyota Free State XV Kokstad Rugby Club
11 GWK Griquas 37 – 25 Border Bulldogs Hartswater
11 Steval Pumas 16 – 24 Xerox Golden Lions Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
10 FNB Welwitschias 0 – 44 Vodacom Blue Bulls Hage Geingob Stadium, Windhoek
10 Boland Cavaliers 34 – 26 SWD Eagles Boland Park, Worcester
10 Down Touch Griffons 17 – 38 Hino Valke HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom
*Leopards XV enjoyed a bye