Currie Cup

Points difference separates the leaders

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Only points difference separates the Sharks and Western Province at the top of the Currie Cup log at the conclusion of round nine in this season’s competition.

The reigning champions moved back into pole position following their 48-3 victory over the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington on Friday afternoon.

While Western Province, who dropped to second on the log due to an inferior points difference to the Sharks, produced a stunning 25-19 win to defeat the Blue Bulls in Cape Town on Saturday.

Province fullback Joe Pietersen added 20 points with the boot in the traditional north/south derby and steered his side to their seventh victoryof the competitioni.
 
Pietersen kicked six penalties and a superb conversion after Luke Watson scored the only try of the match for the hosts in a game that boasted the biggest crowd attendance (43 000) of the season.

For the Blue Bulls, flyhalf Burton Francis kicked four penalties and converted their only try which was scored by centre Jaco Pretorius in the first half of the game. The visitors ended the weekend in fourth position on the log and gained a vital bonus point for finishing within seven points of the Cape side.

“I think it was a good game of rugby,” said Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke. “In the second half we couldn’t get the field position we needed, but it was still a great performance from our side as well.

“In the first half we played in their half of the field and scored the points. Maybe in the second half we could’ve bounced back better, but that’s the nature of the game. We lost field position and they capitalised on that.

“Both teams played positively. It was a very tactical game, so that comes down to your kicking, set pieces, discipline and penalties, and Province used their opportunities a bit better than us.”

The Free State Cheetahs continued their amazing run and recorded their fifth consecutive victory of the competition with a 20-16 win over the Lions in Bloemfontein on Saturday. WP Nel and Frans Viljoen were the only players to cross the try line for the hosts.

Flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter added the other points for Free State by kicking two penalties and converting the tries scored by Nel and Viljoen.

Derick Minnie was the only Lions player to add his name to the try-scoring sheet with his five-pointer converted by flyhalf Herkie Kruger, who also kicked three penalties.

Meanwhile, on Friday afternoon the Sharks were in rampant mood as they outclassed the Boland Cavaliers 48-3 in Wellington. The reigning Currie Cup champions scored eight tries and their opponents scored none.

Flanker Jacques Botes scored a hat-trick with the other five-pointers coming from Keegan Daniel, Craig Burden, Charl McLeod, Lwazi Mvovo and Monty Dumond.

Flyhalf Juan Hernandez kicked three conversions for the visitors while centre Riaan Swanepoel also converted a try. The Cavaliers’ only points came from a penalty by flyhalf Elgar Watts.

In Potchefstroom, the Griquas returned to winning ways and defeated the Leopards 34-33 on Friday night.

The Kimberley-based team, who are currently in third position on the log, bagged maximum points from the fixture and ran in four tries to edge out the Leopards which resulted in the hosts conceding their eighth defeat of the season.

Trompie Nontshinga, Ryno Barnes, Barry Geel and Bjorn Basson were the try-scorers for the Griquas. Flyhalf Naas Olivier converted all four tries and kicked a conversion while fullback Riaan Viljoen also kicked a penalty.

Explosive winger Shuaib Samaai and Danie Dames scored tries for the Leopards.

Cecil Dumond kicked seven penalties and one conversion to end the game with a personal haul of 23 points.

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