CURRIE CUP WRAP: Western Province continue their good form in the Currie Cup qualifying competition, as they edged closer to the table-topping Griquas.
Griquas are top of the standings with 51 points, while Province are on 47 - but they have a game in hand.
The Lions bagged 66 points in their thriller against Griffons, seeing them move up to fifth.
Free State Cheetahs hung on to a six-point lead against the Falcons and will look to outrun the Lions who are ahead of them by one point.
Western Province 45-17 Eagles
Western Province ran in six tries to two as they thumped the Eagles 45-17 (half-time 21-7) at City Park in Cape Town on Saturday.
Province, who were sitting third before kick-off, bagged a bonus point along the way to move into second position on the log with their 10th victory in 11 starts.
The home side drew first blood with a try by outside centre Johnny Kotze under the poles after a tense opening period which flyhalf Robert du Preez converted.
Shortly afterwards, hook Chad Solomon barged his way over the line after a driving maul from the Province forwards and with Du Preez slotting the conversion, the home fans were in a good mood with their side 14 points up.
But the Eagles found their feet and got themselves into the game with left wing Daniel Roberts bursting over for the Eagles' opening try which was converted by fullback Jacquin Jansen.
The home side though rounded off a good opening 40 minutes when left wing Sibahle Maxwane finished off an excellent counter-attack on the stroke of half time, which was started by right wing Viljoen. Du Preez converted to give WP a 21-7 lead at the break.
The Eagles began the second stanza the stronger of the two sides and were first to score through replacement hook, Karl Haupt. Jansen converted to bring the Eagles to within seven points of their hosts.
Both sides traded penalties with Du Preez extending the lead to 10 points before Jansen replied with a long-range effort.
Inside centre Tim Whitehead landed the bonus point try for Province after a great offload from Du Preez, who then slotted the conversion to give the hosts a 14-point advantage.
Another powerful maul from the Province forwards resulted in their fifth try with flank Luke Stringer standing up with the ball.
Captain and lock Chris van Zyl then put the cherry on the top with an intercept try to round off a cold, but perfect afternoon for coach John Dobson's men with Du Preez finishing off a perfect day with the boot.
For Western Province:
Tries: Solomon, Van Zyl, Kotze, Stringer, Maxwane, Whitehead.
Cons: Du Preez 6
Pen: Du Preez
Tries: Roberts, Haupt
Cons: Jansen 2
Western Province: 15 Dennis Cox, 14 EW Viljoen, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Luke Stringer, 6 Beyers de Villiers, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 David Ribbans, 3 Kyle Whyte, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Wesley Chetty.
Replacements: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Christo van Wyk, 18 Jurie van Vuuren, 19 Dale Wilson, 20 Eital Bredenkamp, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Alvin Brandt.
Eagles: 15 Jacquin Jansen, 14 Carlo Radebe, 13 Kirsten Heyns, 12 Martin du Toit (captain), 11 Daniel Roberts, 10 Hansie Graaff, 9 Dillin Snel, 8 Christo Du Plessis, 7 Thor Halvorsen, 6 Janneman Stander, 5 Lodewyk Uys, 4 Marco Kruger, 3 Nemo Roelofse, 2 Mark Pretorius, 1 Juandre Digue.
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Pieter Stemmet, 18 Andisa Ntsila, 19 Buran Parks, 20 Johan Steyn, 21 Thomas Kean, 22 Clinton Wagman.
Referee: Ben Crouse
Eastern Province Kings 12-29 Griquas
Griquas scored four to two to maintain their position at the top of the standings as they beat Eastern Province Kings 29-12 (half-time 22-0) in their new provincial tournament fixture at Nelson Mandela stadium, Port Elizabeth, on Saturday.
The home team's troubles off the field are well known but on Saturday it was their on-field play which came under heavy scrutiny once again. They had only won two of their previous 10 matches coming into the game.
Griquas, by contrast, had been flying high at the top of the table and were chasing all five points in an effort to pull clear of Boland and Western Province in second and third place respectively.
Although EP came back in the second half with a strong performance, Griquas did enough in the first to earn to the victory quite easily.
Griquas wasted no time in getting on the board as wing Ntabeni Dukisa dotted down a fifth-minute try following some good early pressure. Their flyhalf Andre Swarts tugged the conversion but landed a penalty shortly after that.
The visitors then added a second try with a full flowing backline movement for left wing Alshaun Bock to score. Swarts was successful from the kicking tee.
Dukisa strolled over for his second try on 32 minutes, Swarts added the two points and Griquas were good value for their 22-0 lead at half-time.
The Kings looked a different team after the break and surprised by dominating the first 10 minutes. During that time No.8 Lusanda Badiyana was able to force his way over the line for flyhalf Garrick Mattheus to convert.
That stung Griquas back into action and they made sure of the bonus point when Swarts scored the easiest of tries midway out. He converted his own try.
Hook JP Jamieson scored a consolation try for Eastern Province in the dying minutes.
For EP Kings:
Tries: Badiyana, Jamieson
Tries: Dukisa 2, Bock, Swarts
Cons: Swarts 3
EP Kings: 15 Jaco van Tonder, 14 Matjikinyane Molapo, 13 Somila Jho, 12 JP du Plessis, 11 Lindelwe Zungu, 10 Garrick Mattheus, 9 Rouche Nel, 8 Lusanda Badiyana, 7 Sintu Manjezi (captain), 6 Stephanus Nieuwoudt, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Mthetheleli Fuzani, 3 Mzu Sofisa, 2 Warrick Venter, 1 David Murray.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Pierre Jamieson, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Rob Lyons, 19 Juan Jonck, 20 Sibusiso Ngcokovane, 21 Simon Bolze, 22 Siphu Msutwana.
Griquas: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Ntabeni Dukisa, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Kyle Lombard, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Andre Swarts, 9 Tiaan Dorfling, 8 Jason-Collin Fraser, 7 RJ Liebenberg (captain), 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Jono Janse van Rensburg, 4 Sias Koen, 3 Devon Martinus, 2 Sidney Tobias, 1 Luxolo Koza.
Replacements: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 Teunis Nieuwoudt, 18 Thabo Mabuza, 19 Steven Meiring, 20 Christiaan Meyer, 21 Ederies Arendse, 22 JW Jonker.
Referee: Jaco Van Heerden
Welwitschias 18-76 Border Bulldogs
The Border Bulldogs opened up the floodgates against the Welwitschias, registering an emphatic 76-18 (half-time 19-13) bonus-point thumping in a provincial tournament clash at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday.
The men from East London ran in 12 tries with outside centre Makazole Mapimpi running in four tries while replacements Sonwabiso Mqalo and Athenkosi Khethani both scoring a brace. Fullback Logan Basson notched up 19 points of his own with seven conversions and a try.
Despite the mauling, it was the home side who started brightly, with fullback Riaan van Zyl slotting a penalty as early as the third minute but the visitors gained the lead when Mapimpi dashed over for his first try.
Van Zyl reduced the deficit to just one point with his second penalty but Mapimpi was over for his second score midway through the first half as the Bulldogs gained a 12-6 lead with Basson missing the conversion from the touchline.
With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, tighthead prop Johannes Jonker rumbled over for the third try which Basson converted.
The home side scored their first try on the stroke of half-time as flyhalf Mahco Prinsloo sliced his way through the defence to score with Van Zyl converting.
The floodgates then opened in the first ten minutes of the second stanza, with the visitors running in three tries through Basson, Mapimpi and Mqalo to extend their slender six-point half-time lead to 25 points.
The Welwitschias found some purchase when they scored their second try midway through the second period as right wing Phillip Nashikaku dived over in the corner for an unconverted score.
Khethani rumbled over for his first try before the home side's left wing, Russell van Wyk, was shown a yellow card by referee Egon Seconds. With the Welwitschias down to 14 men, the Bulldogs were able to run in a further three scores with Mqalo and Khethani registering their second tries while left wing Michael Makase scoring his team's 10th try.
The visitors finished off the game in style with replacement flyhalf Nkululeko Ndlovu diving over the line and Mapimpi scoring his fourth try on the stroke of full time.
Tries: Prinsloo, Nashikaku
Con: Van Zyl
Pen: Van Zyl 2
Tries: Mapimpi 4, Mqalo 2, Khethani 2, Jonker, Basson, Makase, Ndlovu
Con: Basson 7, Banda
Welwitschias: 15 Riaan van Zyl, 14 Phillip Nashikaku, 13 Handre Bezuidenhout, 12 Francois Wiese (captain), 11 Russell van Wyk, 10 Mahco Prinsloo, 9 Camerol Klassen, 8 Egon Cloete, 7 Johan Luttig, 6 Zayne Groenewaldt, 5 Wikus Davis, 4 Thomas Kali, 3 Antonio Tripodi, 2 Shaun Du Preez, 1 Arno Von Wielligh.
Replacements: 16 Daniel Van Vuuren, 17 Schalk Bergh, 18 Grant Nash, 19 Petri Burger, 20 JC Winkler, 21 Shaun Kaizemi, 22 Malcolm Moore.
Border: 15 Logan Basson, 14 Sipho Nofemele, 13 Makazole Mapimpi, 12 Lunga Dumezweni, 11 Michael Makase, 10 Masixole Banda, 9 Zukisani Tywaleni, 8 Nkosi Nofuma, 7 Siya Mdaka (captain), 6 Billy Dutton, 5 Wandile Putuma, 4 Lindokuhle Welemu, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Mihlali Mpafi, 1 Blake Kyd.
Replacements: 16 Mbeko Kota, 17 Siyamthanda Ngande, 18 Athenkosi Khethani, 19 Athenkosi Manentsa, 20 Bangi Kobese, 21 Sonwabiso Mqalo, 22 Nkululeko Ndlovu.
Referee: Egon Seconds
Golden Lions 66-19 Griffons
The Lions scored 10 tries as they cantered to a resounding 66-19 victory over the Griffons at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg to move up to fifth on the Currie Cup Qualifiers log.
Before anyone in the crowd or watching at home had a chance to get comfortable, the Lions opened the scoring. Straight from the kick-off, several clutch offloads (the best of all coming from Anthony Volmink) saw centre Jacques Nel cross the whitewash.
The Griffons responded immediately with a try of their own, Vuyo Mbotho finishing off a move that involved several forwards showing off some great handling skills.
The game promised to be a cracker with both clearly in the mood for running the ball. Unfortunately, that was just about as good as it got for the visitors from Welkom.
The Griffons defence was woeful and seamed either incapable or unwilling to stand up to their clearly larger opponents.
Size is obviously a huge advantage in this sport, but diminutive players can overcome their physical shortcomings with heaps of heart. With exception of fullback Selvyn Davids, not one player in purple and white showed any today.
Kwezi Mkhafu, the Griffons hook, took one for his team when he received a yellow card for his side's repeated infringements at close quarters. While he sat on the naughty chair, his teammates shipped 19 unanswered points, effectively ending the contest.
After just 20 minutes the Lions had already secured their bonus point with tries from Nicolaas Hanekom, Clinton Theron (his first in Currie Cup rugby), Stephan de Wet and the brilliant Ruaan Lerm.
Lerm will face tougher defences in his career, but the Lions captain and No.8 possesses an explosive running game to go along with silky handling skills.
Fans of the Lions' Super Rugby side can rest easy knowing that Warren Whitely has a very capable deputy hovering around the fringes.
The first half fizzled out with errors abounding from both teams. Marnitz Boshoff was taken off the field with a suspected concussion after a sickening head clash.
The second half began just as the first with two quick tries. Poor tackling and efficient running combined yet again for Hanekom and Lerm to double their try tallies on the day.
By the time Lions' wing Koch Marx crashed over from short range on the hour mark, to bring up the half century, the Griffons players were already thinking about their two and a half hour bus ride down the N2.
Selvyn Davids finally got the try he deserved, gathering the ball just inside the halfway line and accelerating with pace, chipping, gathering, and skipping over the line in the best piece of individual play of the game.
He added some gloss to his own performance with another score on the siren.
Two further tries for the Lions courtesy of Jarryd Sage and JW Bell brought the total to ten: a thorough decimation.
For the Lions:
Tries: Nel, Hanekom 2, Theron, Lerm 2, De Wit, Marx, Sage, Bell
Cons: Boshoff 4, Davids 4
For the Griffons:
Tries: Williams, Davids 2
Cons: Herbert 2
Lions: 15 JW Bell, 14 Koch Marx, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Jacques Nel, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff (captain), 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 Robert Kruger, 4 Bobby De Wee, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Clinton Theron.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Hendrik Smit, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Jarryd Sage, 22 Ashlon Davids.
Griffons: 15 Selvyn Davids, 14 Warren Williams, 13 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 12 Japie Nel, 11 Vuyo Mbotho, 10 Tertius Maarman, 9 Boela Abrahams, 8 De Wet Kruger, 7 Boela Venter, 6 Siward Mavundla, 5 Gavin Annandale, 4 Wayne Ludick, 3 Heinrich Roelfse, 2 Khwezi Mkhafu, 1 Daniel van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Hennie Venter, 17 Gerard Baard, 18 Vincent Maruping, 19 Willmar Groenewald, 20 Louis Venter, 21 Colin Herbert, 22 Norman Nelson.
Referee: Christian du Preez
Free State XV 33-27 Falcons
In a Currie Cup Qualification match played on a sunny but extremely cold afternoon, the Free State Cheetahs just pipped the Falcons 33-27 in an entertaining game at the Free Stadium in Bloemfontein.
It was an eight-try romp, with the home team winning the try-scoring by five to three.
The Falcons virtually camped in the Cheetahs' half for the first 10 minutes of the match but some superb defensive work kept the visitors out.
A penalty to the Falcons some 20 metres out was easily kicked over by their flyhalf Warren Potgieter after ten minutes to open the scoring.
Thereafter the ball travelled to both sides of the field, with the Falcons perhaps showing more flair in attack. Wing Etienne Taljaard in particular put in some strong runs and looked most impressive.
About halfway through the first stanza the Falcons were hanging on grimly in an attempt to keep the Cheetahs out when, four metres from their line, the ball moved to left wing Grant Janke, who pinned his ears back and showing a clean pair of heels, he evaded three or four inept tackles, sold a dummy and dived under the posts for an excellent try which was converted by Potgieter.
The Cheetahs were given a penalty for offside five metres out and dead in front of the posts and instead of taking the three points, they opted for a scrum.
From the scrum outside centre Tertius Kruger ran strongly to score a try just to the right of the posts. Cheetahs flyhalf Sias Ebersohn, however, missed the conversion, leaving the half-time score at 10-5 to the Falcons.
Cheetahs took the lead immediately after the break when after a full line-out movement, fullback Jean-Pierre Coetzee joined the line and barged over in the left-hand corner. Ebersohn converted with a beautiful kick.
But within minutes the Falcons retaliated twice. Potgieter put over a penalty from about 30 metres out and then, attacking strongly through a great run by Taljaard, a melee on the Cheetahs line saw the heavily-built flank Adr-Dwight Pansegrouw barge over. Potgieter converted.
But Cheetahs fought back. Replacement back Reinhardt Erwee skipped through for a converted try, and the lead changed hands a number of times.
Flank Ntokozo Vidima then followed up a kick to dot down, Ebersohn converted and the Free State XV were ahead 26-20.
The Falcons then followed up with some strong running by Taljaard, who scored after a fine run along the left touchline. Potgieter converted and with time running out, the visitors were one point ahead.
However, the Cheetahs did not give up and they scored their fifth try when, from a line-out, centre Ali Mgijima bustled his way through to dive over under the posts for Ebersohn to convert to give the home side a well-deserved but close victory.
Tries: Kruger, Coetzee, Erwee, Vidima, Mgijima
Con: Ebersohn 4
Tries: Janke, Pansegrouw, Taljaard
Cons: Potgieter 3
Pens: Potgieter 2
Cheetahs: 15 Jean-Pierre Coetzee, 14 Lorenzo Gordon, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Maphutha Dolo, 10 Sias Ebersohn (captain), 9 JP Smith, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Ntokozo Vidima, 5 Johann Grundlingh, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Gunther Janse van Vuuren, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Gert Kotze.
Replacements: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Erich de Jager, 18 Gopolang Molefe, 19 Victor Maruping, 20 Ruan van Rensburg, 21 Darren Baron, 22 Reinhardt Erwee.
Falcons: 15 Christian Rust, 14 Grant Janke, 13 Andrew van Wyk, 12 Ruan Allerston, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Warren Potgieter, 9 Johan Pretorius, 8 Ernst Ladendorf, 7 JP Mostert (Captain), 6 Dwight Pansegrouw, 5 Marlyn Williams, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Andries Schutte, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Henri Boshoff.
Replacements: 16 Gihard Visagie, 17 Barend Steyn, 18 Friedle Olivier, 19 Thabo Mamojele, 20 Etienne Storm, 21 JP du Plessis, 22 Damian Engledoe.
Referee: AJ Jacobs