FRIDAY WRAP: the Boland Cavaliers scored two tries in the last nine minutes of the match to overturn a 12-point deficit to edge the Falcons 24-22 in their match at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Friday.
Elsewhere, the experienced Scott van Breda opened and closed the scoring for Western Province at the Mbombela Stadium to edge the Pumas 27-20 in a tightly fought encounter.
Meanwhile, the Leopards cruised to a comfortable 42-17 win to condemn the Welwitschias to their seventh consecutive loss of the competition in Potchefstroom.
Also, the Free State XV chalked up a third consecutive victory when they beat Eastern Province Kings 35-15 at a cold and windy Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
We look at all Friday's action!
Falcons 22-24 Boland Cavaliers
Boland had looked dead and buried as the Falcons held a 22-10 lead after 71 minutes but the visitors displayed wonderful determination as flyhalf Adriaan Carelse went over for a converted try in the 71st minute before No.8 Zandre Jordaan crashed over for a try that levelled the score in the last minute.
Replacement back Theuns Kotze then slotted the conversion to give Boland the narrowest of wins.
The win was Boland's fifth in seven games and they maintain their place in second place on the log while the loss saw the Falcons slip to their fourth loss in six outings.
The Falcons fell behind due to a penalty from Boland fullback Nico Scheepers but they fought back well to take a 10-3 lead after 19 minutes, thanks to a converted try from lock Shane Kirkwood and a penalty from flyhalf Karlo Aspeling.
However, in something of a precursor to what would happen at the end of the match, Boland levelled the score on the stroke of half-time when outside centre Ryan Neil went over for a converted try.
The Falcons made a fine start with scrumhalf Anrich Richter dotting down for a converted try just five minutes after the resumption, before replacement fullback Etienne Taljaard grabbed an unconverted try in the 68th minute.
But Boland were not to be denied as they roared back in the closing minutes of the match.
For the Falcons:
Tries: Kirkwood, Richter, Taljaard
Cons: Aspeling 2
For Boland Cavaliers:
Tries: Neil, Carelse, Jordaan
Cons: Scheepers 2, Kotze
Falcons: 15 Damian Engledoe, 14 Kyle Hendricks, 13 Grant Janke, 12 Andrew van Wyk, 11 Coert Cronje, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Anrich Richter, 8 Reg Muller, 7 Ernst Ladendorf, 6 JP Mostert (captain), 5 Marlyn Williams, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Andries Schutte, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Henri Boshoff.
Replacements: 16 Dwight Pansegrouw, 17 Barend Steyn, 18 Isak Deetlefs, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Sinovuyo Nyoka, 21 Warren Potgieter, 22 Etienne Taljaard.
Boland Cavaliers: 15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Sergio Torrens, 13 Ryan Nell (captain), 12 Christopher Bosch, 11 Danwel Demas, 10 Adriaan Carelse, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Zandre Jordaan, 7 Shaun McDonald, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Ockert van Zyl, 4 Hanno Kitshoff, 3 Basil Short, 2 Chadley Wenn, 1 Francois Hanekom.
Replacements: 16 JC Genade, 17 Linda Thwala, 18 Ferdie Horn, 19 Wayne Wilschut, 20 Gerhard Jordaan, 21 Theuns Kotze, 22 Gerrit van Wyk.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
EP Kings 15-35 Free State XV
Free State were coming off back-to-back victories over the Lions and the Sharks while the Kings had suffered a heavy loss against Western Province in Cape Town in their previous match.
Eastern Province dominated the early exchanges and drew first blood with a seventh minute penalty slotted by flyhalf Michael Brink. But Free State hit straight back with a try by hooker Joseph Dweba from a driving maul off a lineout on 10 minutes. Flyhalf Sias Ebersohn slotted the conversion.
Another try from a lineout by Free State scrumhalf Ruan van Rensburg and an Ebersohn conversion from the corner, saw the visitors lead 14-3 after 19 minutes.
But the Kings narrowed the gap with a superb try by left wing Athi Mayinje who received the ball at pace in the midfield at halfway and jinked his way through the defence to score. Brink added the two points.
Dweba then got his second try after sustained Free State pressure on the stroke of half-time. Ebersohn was again on target with the conversion to take the teams into the break.
The first 20 minutes of the second half had Free State dominating proceedings but failed to make an impression on the scoreboard thanks to a spate of errors. The Kings also defended well but had their opponents' handling been better, they could have racked up a serious lead.
The Kings were dealt a blow when replacement front row forward Mzuvukile Sofisa was shown a yellow card. Free State took immediate advantage of their extra man and replacement hooker Tiaan Liebenberg mauled his way over for the team's fourth try. Ebersohn maintained his perfect record with the boot by slotting the conversion.
Minutes later, it was prop BG Uys' turn to cross the tryline for Free State when he picked a loose pass in the EP's 22 with eight minutes to play. Ebersohn had no trouble with his fifth conversion.
Kings centre Somila Jho scored a consolation try for the homes side just on full-time.
For Eastern Province Kings:
Tries: Mayinje, Jho
For Free State XV:
Tries: Dweba 2, van Rensburg, Liebenberg, Uys
Cons: Ebersohn 5
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Lindelwe Zungu, 14 Siphu Msutwana, 13 Somila Jho, 12 Riaan Esterhuizen, 11 Athi Mayinje, 10 Michael Brink, 9 Franswa Ueckermann, 8 Stephan Zaayman, 7 Sintu Manjezi (captain), 6 Lusanda Badiyana, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Mthetheleli Fuzani, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Warrick Venter, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Pierre Jamieson, 17 Mzu Sofisa, 18 Philip du Preez, 19 Gerrit Huisamen, 20 Sibusiso Ngcokovane, 21 Jordan Koekemoer, 22 Mabhutana Peter.
Free State XV: 15 Reinhardt Erwee, 14 Jean-Pierre Coetzee, 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 12 Gerrie Labuschagne, 11 Maphutha Dolo, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ruan van Rensburg, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Ntokozo Vidima, 5 Reniel Hugo (captain), 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Chase Morison, 18 Johann Grundlingh, 19 Musa Mahlasela, 20 JP Smith, 21 Darren Baron, 22 Lorenzo Gordon.
Referee: Rodney Boneparte
Pumas 20-27 Western Province
After a successful long range penalty in the first minute of the match, van Breda was successful with two more for an early lead for the visitors. Justin van Staden had the opportunity to add some points for the Pumas in the 15th minute, but pushed the ball to the left.
Two minutes later he added three points to the score board. In the 20th minute De-Jay Terblanche was yellow carded for not rolling away after several warnings and van Breda did the damage with a very accurate kicking boot. For the first 20 minutes of the match, it was all attack from the Province boys, but the Pumas kept their cool and managed to keep their defensive lines.
Ten minutes later Marcello Sampson showed a clear pair of heals with a great try under the uprights, converted by van Staden to put the Pumas back in the game. With five minutes left in the half, van Staden added another three points to the Pumas, to put them in the lead for the first time.
But in the last three minutes of the half, JP Lewies showed his stepping skills for WP's first five pointer. Van Breda couldn't add the additional points for the 17-13 lead at the break.
Carel Greeff rounded off a great session of interplay between forwards and backs with van Staden adding the two points in the first minute of the second half. But once again it was van Breda who kept his team in the loop.
He levelled the score in the 50th minute. For the next 15 minutes the two teams had a hard go at each other and produced awesome rugby at stages. JP Lewies clinched his team's victory try in the 75th minute with van Breda doing more damage to claim their fifth win.
For the Pumas:
Tries: Greeff, Sampson
Cons: van Staden 2
Pens: van Staden 2
For Western Province:
Tries: JP Lewis 2
Con: van Breda
Pens: van Breda 5
Pumas: 15 Heinrich Steyl, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Hennie Skorbinski, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Lambert Groenewald, 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Hugo Kloppers (captain), 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Marne Coetzee, 2 Francois Du Toit, 1 DJ Terblanche.
Replacements: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 Jacques Kotze, 18 Jannie Stander, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Marlou van Niekerk, 22 Tyler Fisher.
Western Province: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Scott van Breda, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Janco Venter, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Kyle Whyte, 18 Meyer Swanepoel, 19 Beyers de Villiers, 20 Damian Stevens, 21 Sibahle Maxwane, 22 Berton Klaassen.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Sharks XV 16-53 Golden Lions XV
More to follow...
For Sharks XV: TBC
For Golden Lions XV: TBC
Sharks XV: 15 Alrin Eksteen, 14 Sipho Mkhize, 13 Nkululeko Marwana, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Tristan Tedder, 9 Dylan Marcus, 8 Retief Marais, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Khaya Majola (captain), 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 David McDuling, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Mzamo Majola.
Replacements: 16 Andrew du Plessis, 17 John Meyer, 18 Ruan Kramer, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Jaywinn Juries, 22 Tristan Blewett.
Golden Lions XV: 15 JW Bell, 14 Koch Marx, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Jarryd Sage, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Ruaan Lerm (captain), 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 4 Robert Kruger, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Clinton Theron.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Nico Du Plessis, 18 Bobby De Wee, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Victor Sekekete, 21 Shaun Reynolds, 22 Ashlon Davids.
Referee: Egon Seconds
Leopards 42-17 Namibia
Right wing Rowayne Beukman scored two of the Leopards' six tries while fullback Rhyno Smith ended with a personal tally of 17 points after he scored a try and kicked six conversions as the Welwitschias losing streak continued.
The men from Namibia have now lost all seven of their matches and are rooted to the bottom of the table having collected just a single log point. The Leopards improved their record to four wins from seven games and moved up to fifth on the log.
The hosts opened the scoring in just the fourth minute when Beukman dotted down for a converted try before the visitors hit back with a penalty from flyhalf Shaun Kaizemi in the 25th minute. But the rest of the half belonged to the Leopards as they reached halftime holding a commanding 21-3 lead.
Loosehead prop Bruce Muller rumbled over in the 27th minute before Smith dotted down four minutes later.
The Welwitschias started the second half as the brighter of the two teams and they reduced the gap to 11 points, seven minutes after the restart, when lock Munio Kasiringua barged his way over for a converted score.
But the Leopards soon reasserted their dominance thanks to converted tries from left wing Bradley Moolman and inside centre Henko Marais. The Welwitschias did not give up the fight and their inside centre, Francois Wiese scored a try in the 58th minute.
However, the Leopards had the last say in the contest when Beukman collected his second try, two minutes before the final whistle.
For the Leopards:
Tries: Moolman, Muller, Marais, Smith, Beukman 2
Cons: Smith 6
Tries: Wiese, Kasiringua
Cons: Kaizemi 2
Leopards: 15 Rhyno Smith (captain), 14 Rowayne Beukman, 13 Johan Deysel, 12 Henko Marais, 11 Bradley Moolman, 10 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Marno Redelinghuys, 7 Loftus Morrison, 6 Molotsi Bouwer, 5 Danie Jordaan, 4 Ruan Venter, 3 Bart le Roux, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Bruce Muller.
Replacements: 16 Dane van der Westhuyzen, 17 Nhlanhla Ngcamu, 18 Tiaan Liebenberg, 19 Jaco Jordaan, 20 Malherbe Swart, 21 Cecil Dumond, 22 Gene Willemse.
Namibia: 15 Johann Tromp, 14 Russell van Wyk, 13 JC Greyling, 12 Francois Wiese, 11 Phillip Nashikaku, 10 Shaun Kaizemi, 9 JC Winkler, 8 Leneve Damens, 7 Joe Herrmann, 6 Rohan Kitshoff (captain), 5 Denzil van Wyk, 4 Munio Kasiringua, 3 Abel de Klerk, 2 Gerhard Lotter, 1 Casper Viviers.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Du Preez, 17 Quintin Esterhuizen, 18 Ruan Ludick, 19 Zayne Groenewaldt, 20 Camerol Klassen, 21 Justin Nel, 22 Heinrich Smit.
Referee: Sindile Ngcese