There are no undefeated teams left in the Absa Under-21 Provincial Championships, and with five teams having suffered only one defeat this far, there are no clear favourites either after four rounds of play.
The MTN Golden Lions, Vodacom Blue Bulls and KwaZulu-Natal all scored good wins this past weekend, with the latter beating log leaders Toyota Free State in Bloemfontein.
The coastal team won 36-25 after a 10-8 lead at the break. Nine tries in all were scored, with both teams earning their bonus point try.
KZN held a slender lead at the break, mainly due to poor goal kicking from Free State fullback Marco Mason, who missed three penalty kicks.
The second half saw a much more fluent effort from both sides and with the game opening up, some great tries were scored.
The Free State were leading 25-22 with less than ten minutes to go, but tries by Andrè Esterhuizen and Guy Alexander not only secured the bonus point, but also the win.
Toyota Free State 25 (8). Tries: JJ de Klerk, Neil Claassen, Philip Botha, Tertius Kruger. Conversion: Noel Marx. Penalty. Marco Mason.
KZN 36 (10). Tries: Andrè Estehuizen (2), Brendan Cope, Guy Alexander, Johan Meyer. Conversions: Cope, Robert du Preez (3). Penalty: Cope.
The Border Bulldogs shocked the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their opening match last year, but there was no fairy tale this time against the defending champions in East London on Saturday.
The visitors scored ten tries in their 66-14 romp, with Travis Ismaiel getting a brace and Tony Jantjies scoring 17 points.
The former Junior Springbok pivot kicked six conversions and scored a try.
The Blue Bulls scored five tries in the first half and had a 35-7 lead at the break.
Border Bulldogs 14 (7). Tries: Juan Bester, Johan Wagenaar. Conversions: Janco Lehmann.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 66 (35). Tries: Travis Ismaiel (2), Tony Jantjies, Christopher Bosch, Damian van Wyk, Hencus van Wyk, Jaco Visagie, Jade Stiglingh, Paul Willemse, Roelof Smit. Conversions: Jantjies (6), Malcolm Theo (2).
In a nail-biting affair in Potchefstroom, the MTN Golden Lions squeezed past the Leopards with a 24-23 win after former Junior Springbok fullback Marais Schmidt kicked a late penalty.
The half-time score was 10-9 in favour of the home side.
The only try in the first 40 minutes belonged to the Leopards, with highly-rated no8 Jaco Buys scoring, and the visitors replying via the accurate boot of Schmidt, who kicked three penalties.
In the second stanza a yellow card to Golden Lions hooker Mark Pretorius gave Warren Gilbert a chance to extend the Leopards lead and he kicked another before the hooker returned.
A try by Albert Smith, converted by Schmidt, drew the scores level after an hour’s play. The Leopards again nudged ahead when Erno Nagy was worked over and had his try converted.
Jacques Nel ‘s try with ten minutes to play left the visitors short after Schmidt pulled his conversion, but a successful penalty attempt by the fullback in the last couple of minutes got his side past the line.
Leopards 23 (10). Tries: Erno Nagy, Jaco Buys. Conversions: Walter Gilbert (2). Penalties: Gilbert (3).
MTN Golden Lions 24 (8). Tries: Albert Smith, Jacques Nel. Conversion: Marais Schmidt. Penalties: Schmidt (4).