North shut South out

Sun, 04 May 2014 10:39
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Griquas scored the biggest playoff victory in the history of the Vodacom Cup as all four teams from the North Section progressed to the semifinals.

Griquas scored the biggest playoff victory in the history of the Vodacom Cup as all four teams from the North Section progressed to the semifinals.

With three of the winning margins over the weekend between one and seven points, Griquas' 84-15 victory over the SWD Eagles perhaps best illustrated the dominance the North had over the South.

The previous biggest victory in a playoff match also involved the team from the Northern Cape, when they lost 73-7 to the Golden Lions in the 1999 Final.

The Golden Lions and Blue Bulls, with eight Vodacom Cup titles between them, had to travel for their quarterfinals, while the Pumas and Griquas won their playoffs at home.

This means that for a second successive year the winner of the Vodacom Cup will come from the North Section - last year the Golden Lions proved too strong for the Pumas in the Final in Nelspruit.

On Friday afternoon in Durban, the Golden Lions repeated their feat from 2013 when they beat the Sharks XV, then also the top team in the South Section, on KP2 at Kings Park in Durban in the first quarterfinal.

The home team had the better start. After 20 minutes they were in front by 13-3, but the visitors clawed their way back to cut the Sharks XV's half-time lead to 13-10. Johan Meyer, for the KwaZulu-Natalians, and the Golden Lions' Stokkies Hanekom were the try scorers in the first half.

The bulk of the second half belonged to the Golden Lions, who added two more tries in the second quarter - by Wynand Willis and Stephan de Wit - to basically ensure they progress to the semifinals.

A try at the death by former Springbok flyer Jongi Nokwe gave the Sharks XV a late boost, but it wasn't enough as they crashed out in similar fashion to 2013.

Wet conditions in Nelspruit made handling difficult as the Pumas, runners up in 2013, did enough to knock 2012 champions, Western Province, out of the Vodacom Cup. The final score was 13-8 after a scrappy match where both sides managed to score only one try each - JW Bell for the home team and Rohan Kitshoff for the visitors.

Had Pumas flyhalf JC Roos worn his kicking boots, the team from Mpumalanga could have sealed the victory earlier, but he didn't and the Capetonians almost snuck through after lifting their game towards the end of the match.

On Saturday, four-time Vodacom Cup champions Griquas proved far too strong for the SWD Eagles when they won this one-sided quarterfinal by 84-15 at GWK Park in Kimberley.

The home team were in control in the first half and led by 30-15 at the break, but they really pulled away in the second half, which they "won" by 54-0 for their biggest victory of the season. Griquas fullback Gouws Prinsloo converted 10 of their 11 tries and added three penalty goals for a personal haul of 29 points.

At the same time, 160km to the south east, the Blue Bulls qualified for their 12th Vodacom Cup semifinal when they edged out the Free State XV at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

The visitors from Pretoria needed a penalty goal by Tony Jantjies three minutes from time to ensure they emerge victorious in this tight and very even contest. The home team scored two tries, by Maputha Dolo and Zingisa April, to Lohan Jacobs' one try for the visitors, but in the end the Free State XV just didn't have enough in the tank to ensure they stay in the competition.

Vodacom Cup semifinals (venues, dates and kick-off times TBC):

Pumas v Griquas - Nelspruit
Golden Lions v Blue Bulls - Johannesburg

All the scores and scorers:

Sharks XV 20-27 Golden Lions

For the Sharks:
Meyer, Nokwe
Cons: Van Tonder, Campbell
Pens: Van Tonder 2

For the Golden Lions:
Hanekom, Willis, De Wet
Cons: Du Plessis 3
Pens: Du Plessis 2

Pumas 13-8 Western Province

For the Pumas:
Con: Roos
Pens: Roos, Van Wyk.

For Western Province:
Pen: Van Aswegen

Griquas 84-15 SWD Eagles

For Griquas:
Meyer 2, Jansen, Schoeman, Francke 2, Adendorf, Dames, Prinsloo, Van der Westhuizen 2, Arendse
Cons: Prinsloo 10
Pens: Prinsloo 3

For SWD Eagles:
: Raubenheimer, Pedro
Con: Aspeling
Pen: Aspeling

Free State XV 21-22 Blue Bulls

For Free State XV:
Dolo, April
Con: Smit
Pens: Smit 3

For Blue Bulls:
Con: TSchoeman
Pens: Schoeman 2, Jantjies 3