Leopards, Bulls, Kavaliers celebrate wins

The Leopards qualified for a play-off in the quarterfinals of the Vodacom Cup competition on Friday night by beating the Wildebeest 37-32 in the Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

The Leopards scored five tries to move up to a possible third place on the log and a showdown with the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in two weeks’ time.

Leopards coach Chaka Willemse was proud of his tribe and particularly their rucking. “We rucked well for the first time in the competition and we took a few prisoners tonight,” said the big former lock forward.

Hooker Pellow van der Westhuizen, lock Rudi Mathee and the other forwards excelled in this department.

“I’m quite happy with our defence as well. The defenders started to understand how to set up points of contact for our forwards,” Willemse said. “I can honestly say it was the first time that the pack of forwards came to the party.”

The Leopards lost their captain and fetcher André Swanepoel with an ankle injury before half-time and luckily they had a specialist fetcher in Jaco Bouwer on the bench.

Wildebeest captain Alistair Hargreaves scored a try on full-time with Leopards lock Antonie Gronum on the bench to give the score more respectability for the local crowd.

Neil de Bruin, the Wildebeest scrumhalf and son of former Griquas coach Swys de Bruin, was the standout player in the Wildebeest side.

Bulls trounce Bulldogs

Playing structured rugby, the Blue Bulls romped to a 52-8 win over the Border Bulldogs in their match played at East London’s Absa Stadium.

The win, which earned the Blue Bulls a bonus point, shot them to the top of the north section log and they must now await the outcome of Saturday’s Griquas versus Western Province match.

The visitors commanded a 26-3 half-time lead from three goals and a try to a penalty booted by Bulldogs flyhalf Andisa Gqobo.

In the 24th minute of the first half, the Bulldogs had two players in the sin bin but strangely the Bulls failed to score while they were off.

Loosehead prop Rassie Janse van Vuuren got the scoreboard going for the Bulls as early as the sixth minute after half-time when he crashed over following a break by promising flyhalf Burton Francis. This was followed by a further three tries.

The Bulldogs had their moments on attack with former Springbok Solly Tybilika impressive at eighth man, but their opponents were too big and too strong in the set pieces.

By way of consolation, Bulldogs captain and fullback Russell Jeacocks rounded off a fine game with an unconverted try two minutes from full-time.

Home quarterfinal for Kavaliers

The Boland Kavaliers secured a home quarterfinal in the Vodacom Cup when they stunned the Lions 41-33 at Wellington on Friday. The Kavaliers led 29-13 at half-time and scored six tries to the Lions’ five.

The Kavaliers secured their bonus point for a fourth try in only the 23rd minute of the first half when right wing John Daniels won the race to the try line after a long kick downfield by scrumhalf Neil Papier.

Boland enjoyed 53% possession at half-time, but the Lions came back strongly in the second half with a possession percentage of 65%.

Boland always looked dangerous with the ball in hand and their enterprising play to run the ball from all corners paid some excellent dividends.

The home team also had the Lions’ scrums in sixes and sevens where strongman Janro van Niekerk and up-and-coming Jean Botha unsettled the visitors’ scrums time and again.

The Kavaliers also showed that they must be regarded as a dark horse for the title showdown—especially at home.

Lions captain Roland Bernard said three easy Boland tries punished his side in the second half. “We let Boland in because we made too many mistakes. It has been our problem for the entire season,” he said.

Boland captain Piet van Zyl said it was an important victory as his team played with huge confidence ahead of the play-offs.

Cheetahs move up

The Free State Cheetahs secured their place in the quarterfinals with a victory of 80-3 over their neighbours the Griffons at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein. The home side had a healthy lead of 33-3 at the break.

The Cheetahs scored 11 tries in the victory. With Kabamba Floors (flanker), Bernd Theisinger (outside centre), Jandré Blom (scrumhalf) and Nicky Steyn (replacement loose forward) all scoring braces. Blom also kicked six conversions for a tally of 22 points in the match.

Darron Nell opened the scoring for the Cheetahs in the 10th minute of the match with a try. Two minutes later, Theisinger scored the home side’s second try.

From there on, the Griffons did not stand a chance. The Cheetahs fielded Springboks Bevin Fortuin and Floors as well as Super 14 stars Nell and Flip van der Merwe in their starting line-up.

Shane Hancke, wing for the Griffons, was sent to the sin bin in the 71st minute after a dangerous tackle.

The Griffons had a disappointing Vodacom Cup, their only victory coming over the Border Bulldogs at the North West Stadium in Welkom.—Sapa

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