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Currie Cup sides reign supreme in SA Cup's opening round

ROUND ONE WRAP: The four Currie Cup sides all reigned supreme in the first round of the inaugural SA Cup, which was played over the weekend, while Eastern Province won a thrilling contest against the Falcons in Gqeberha.

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A total of 49 tries were scored at an average of just under 10 per game, with the biggest contributors Griquas (14) – who also kept a clean sheet on defence – and the Griffons (eight).

The Griffons outplayed Border 52-8 in Welkom; the Cheetahs won their home tie 38-7 against Boland – now coached by former Cheetahs mentor Hawies Fourie – in Bloemfontein; the Pumas outscored SWD Eagles 43-22 in George; and Griquas cruised to an 88-0 victory over the Leopards in Kimberley.

EP won their clash with the Falcons 31-27 after a strong comeback in the second half where they managed to erase a half-time deficit of 10-27.

The action continues this weekend with five more games scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Griffons too strong for Bulldogs

In Welkom, the Griffons scored eight tries on their way to a comprehensive 52-8 triumph over the visiting Bulldogs on Sunday, following their 24-3 half-time lead.

Fullback Domenic Smit bagged a hat-trick of tries for the purple jerseys, while halfbacks Jaywinn Juries (scrumhalf) and Danrich Visagie (flyhalf) each succeeded with three conversions.

Border flyhalf Layron Milborrow scored a penalty goal in the first half and outside centre Awonke Sondishe dotted down a late consolation try.

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The scorers:

For Griffons:
Tries: Domenic Smit 3, Dandre Delport, Duren Hoffman, Gurshwin Wehr, Michael Benadie, HP van Schoor
Cons: Jaywinn Juries 3, Danrich Visagie 3

For Border Bulldogs:
Try: Awonke Sondishe
Pen: Layron Milborrow

EP down Falcons with stirring second-half comeback

Spurred on by an enthusiastic home crowd at the Wolfson Stadium in Gqeberha, EP delivered a stirring second-half performance to defeat visiting Falcons 31-27 on Saturday.

Outside backs Musa Tshabalala (2), Mosolwa Mafuma and Sergio Stalmeester (one each) scored four tries for the Falcons in a dominant opening spell, while pivot Keegan Fortune kicked two conversions and a penalty goal to hand his side a comfortabe 27-10 lead at the break.

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However, EP were another beast altogether after the interval as they not only wiped out the deficit by matching the Falcons’s four tries, but also managed to keep their opponents scoreless in a stirring second-half comeback which had the locals wild with excitement.

Playmaker Darryle Kameel was on target with all four conversions and a penalty goal, and his kicking boot proved to be the difference in the end of an exciting encounter.

The scorers:

For Eastern Province
Tries: Lubabalo Mtyanda, Athenkosi Manentsa, Davian Swanepoel, Gerrit Huisamen
Cons: Darryle Kameel 4
Pen: Kameel

For Falcons:
Tries: Musa Tshabalala 2, Mosolwa Mafuma, Sergio Stalmeester
Cons: Keagan Fortune 2
Pen: Fortune

Cheetahs outpace Boland

In Friday’s early evening clash in Bloemfontein, home side the Cheetahs – last year’s Currie Cup champions – were far too strong for the 2023 First Division winners, Boland, winning by 38-7.

The more experienced Free Staters galloped into a 21-7 half-time advantage and scored six tries to one eventually for an easy win. Hooker Marnus van der Merwe went over twice while experienced former Springbok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar steered four conversions through the poles.

Boland’s only try was scored by loose forward Thurlow Marsh, with flyhalf Darian Hock adding the extras.

The scorers:

For Cheetahs:
Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Ali Mgijima, Marnus van der Merwe 2, Sbu Nkosi, Sibabalwe Xamlashe.
Cons: Ruan Pienaar 4

Boland:
Try: Thurlow Marsh
Con: Darian Hock

Pumas’ firepower too much for SWD Eagles

In the first of the two Friday games, the Pumas had too much firepower for the SWD Eagles as they won 43-22 at Outeniqua Park in George.

The Eagles struggled to contain the Lowvelders in the first half and were 3-31 down at half-time. However, they battled bravely in the second stanza to score 19 points, but that was not enough to stop the visitors from returning to Mpumalanga with a convincing win – the only away victory of the round.

Hooker Llewellyn Classen bagged two of the six tries for the winners and Clinton Swart was on target with three conversions. Right wing Mpho Ntsane was the pick of the bunch for the Eagles by scoring twice out wide, while inside centre Jade Stoffels landed two conversions.

The scorers:

For SWD Eagles:
Tries: Liko Ndiyalwa, Mpho Ntsane 2, Joshua Vermeulen.
Cons: Jade Stoffels 2

For Pumas:
Tries: Llewellyn Classen 2, Sampie Swiegers, Andre Fouche, Tino Swanepoel, Etienne Janeke, Giovan Snyman
Cons: Clinton Swart 3, Brandon Thomson

Rampant Griquas race away from Leopards

Griquas overpowered the Leopards 88-0 in their Thursday afternoon clash in Kimberley, which was also the first match of the inaugural SA Cup.

The Peacock Blues scored 14 unanswered tries and led 45-0 at the interval, with right wing Marcqiewn Titus the pick with four tries.

Former BlitzBok Sako Makata, playing on the left wing, and Connor Mahoney (replacement fullback) bagged two tries each, while flyhalf George Whitehead, playing in his 100th match for the men from the Northern Cape, contributed 17 points via his try and six conversions.

The scorers:

For Griquas:
Tries: Janco Uys, Stephan Smit, Sako Makata 2, Tertius Kruger, Sango Xamlashe, Marcqiewn Titus 4, Thomas Bursey, Connor Mahoney 2, George Whitehead
Cons: Whitehead 6, Lubabalo Dobela 3

For Leopards: None

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