It was three from four for teams from the north, but the undoubted highlight of the Vodacom Cup quarter-final round was the Vodacom Blue Bulls’ stunning last-gasp win over the Sharks XV in Durban on Saturday.
DHL Western Province will host the Ford Pumas in Cape Town and the Vodacom Blue Bulls will travel to Kimberley to take on GWK Griquas in next weekend’s two Vodacom Cup semi-finals as these four teams emerged victorious from their quarter-finals this weekend.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls, last season’s runners up, won a humdinger in Durban when they scored two converted tries in the last four minutes of the match to clinch a thrilling 37-36 victory over the Sharks XV at Mr Price Kings Park.
With less than three minutes left on the clock, the visitors were behind by 36-23, replacement winger Chris Jordaan’s try in the 73rd minute seemingly sealing the win for the KwaZulu-Natalians. But the Vodacom Blue Bulls didn’t give up, especially when Sharks XV hooker Kyle Cooper was sin-binned. First fullback Ulrich Beyers crashed over and SA Under-20 flyhalf Tony Jantjies quickly added the extras.
Then the Vodacom Blue Bulls took the restart and started attacking from deep in their own half when another SA Under-20 player, midfielder Jan Serfontein, outstripped the Sharks XV defence to score alongside the posts. Another two points by Jantjies, under immense pressure, sealed an unlikely win for the visitors.
In Saturday’s second match, unbeaten DHL Western Province had way to much fire power for the MTN Golden Lions as they won this quarter-final by 58-34 at City Park in Cape Town. The home team scored eight tries to the four of the visitors.
DHL WP fullback Kurt Coleman got a hat-trick for his team, while opensider Rohan Kitshoff added a brace. It’s only the third time ever that the Capetonians have reached the semi-finals of the Vodacom Cup – and on both previous occasions (in 2000 and 2008) they got knocked out before the final.
On Friday afternoon in Kimberley, the defending Vodacom Cup champions, the Pampas XV, crashed out against GWK Griquas by 26-18.
GWK Griquas fullback Rudi Vogt scored 21 points through seven penalty goals as the Argentineans’ discipline let them down at GWK Park.
The home team though had to withstand a strong fightback from the Pampas XV – they lead 23-6 with less than 30 minutes to go, but then the visitors launched a strong comeback and actually closed the gap to only five pounts before Vogt put the result beyond any doubt with his seventh penalty goal in the 70th minute.
The Ford Pumas progressed to the semi-finals on Friday evening when they beat an injury depleted EP Kings side by 30-19 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
The team from Mpumalanga never looked like losing and outscored the visitors from the Eastern Cape by four tries to one. The Ford Pumas were simply too physical and solid on defence, while they also used their opportunities better.
Note: The dates, times and venues for the two semi-final matches will be confirmed by the South African Rugby Union in due course. They will appear on www.sarugby.co.za.
All the scorers:
GWK Griquas 26 (17) Pampas XV 18 (6)
GWK Griquas – Try: Ligtoring Landman. Penalties: Rudi Vogt (7).
Pampas X – Tries: Gabriel Ascarate, Benjamin Madero. Conversion: Madero. Penalties: Madero (2).
Ford Pumas 30 (17) EP Kings 19 (7)
Ford Pumas – Tries: Ashley Buys, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Jaco Bouwer, Corne Fourie. Conversions: JC Roos (2). Penalties: Roos (2).
EP Kings – Try: SP Marais. Conversion: Justin van Staden. Penalties: Van Staden (4).
Sharks XV 36 (19) Vodacom Blue Bulls 37 (13)
Sharks XV – Tries: Francois Kleinhans, Sibusiso Sithole, Chris Jordaan. Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo (3). Penalty goals: Prinsloo (5).
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Courtnall Skosan, Ulrich Beyers, Jan Serfontein. Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (2), Tony Jantjies (2). Penalty goals: Dunlop (2). Drop-goal: Beyers.
DHL WP 58 (27) MTN Golden Lions 34 (20)
DHL WP – Tries: Kurt Coleman (3), Rohan Kitshoff (2), Hilton Lobberts, Nick Fenton-Wells, Quinn Roux, Tyrone Holmes. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (5). Penalty goal: Catrakilis.
MTN Golden Lions – Tries: Francois du Toit, Garth April, JR Esterhuizen, Robert de Bruyn. Conversions: Guy Cronje (4). Penalty goals: Cronje (2).