The Leopards and Steval Pumas continued to assert their authority in the Absa Currie Cup First Division this weekend as they registered their second victories in as many weeks to remain the only unbeaten teams in the competition.
The EP Kings and Regent Boland Cavaliers on the other hand bounced back from their first round defeats, which allowed them to close in on the early pace setters.
The Leopards started their clash against the Valke strongly thanks a to a hat-trick of tries by right wing Edmar Marais in the first 20 minutes at Profert Olen Park, which laid the foundation for their 50-25 bonus point victory.
The Valke, however, fought back with scrumhalf Anrich Richter making a sniping run for their first try in the 27th minute to add to Wesley Roberts’ two penalties for a 22-13 half-time score. The hosts then took back control of proceedings in the second half and ran riot with three tries in nine minutes to push the match out of reach for the Valke.
The visitors managed to salvage some pride thanks to a determined effort on attack in the last quarter as they crossed the tryline twice. But Leopards and SA Under-20 fullback Sylvian Mahuza’s debut try took their score to 50 points. Leopards flyhalf Adriaan Engelbrecht also had a memorable day with the boot thanks to his six conversions and one penalty goal for a total of 15 points.
The Steval Pumas, meanwhile, had to fight all the way for their 23-16 victory in an arm-wrestle of a clash against the Border Bulldogs at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening.
The Bulldogs produced a fine first half performance with hooker Dean Muir opening up the scoring with a try in the 16th minute thanks to a clever box kick by scrumhalf Sinovuya Nyoka. A penalty goal by Bulldogs’ fullback Karlo Aspeling and two by Pumas flyhalf Carl Bezuidenhout late in the first half, however, saw the Bulldogs take a 10-6 lead at the break.
The second half was equally tense as the forwards continued their domination. Aspeling scored the first points of the second half thanks to another penalty goal, but this was cancelled out as Pumas’ flank Jaco Bouwer crashed over the tryline to take the score to 16-13. Another penalty by Aspeling levelled the scores at 16-16 with 13 minutes play.
But the Pumas had the last say two minutes from time as the forwards put in the hard yards on attack to work Corné Steenkamp into position for the winning try.
The Regent Boland Cavaliers also showed character in their clash against the SWD Eagles to overturn a 14-7 deficit at the break for their invaluable 22-17 away-victory in George on Friday evening.
In Welkom on Saturday afternoon, a fantastic first-half showing by the EP Kings, which earned them their bonus point try before the break and an encouraging 29-14 half-time lead, placed them in a comfortable position to weather a second-half fight back by the Down Touch Griffons and secure a 37-21 victory.
Absa Currie Cup First Division Round 2 results:
Down Touch Griffons 21-37 EP Kings
Steval Pumas 23-16 Border Bulldogs
SWD Eagles 17-22 Regent Boland Cavaliers
Leopards 50-25 Valke