Currie Cup - Round 8 Review
Province upset Sharks in Durban
August 27, 2009
Chris Jack claims a line-out for The Bulls in Johannesburg, Golden Lions v Blue Bulls, Currie Cup, Ellis Park, Johannesburg, August 29, 2009
Former All Black lock Chris Jack claims a lineout for the Bulls in Johannesburg © Getty Images

Western Province overhauled the Sharks at the top of the Currie Cup standings with an impressive 21-9 victory at Kings Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Sharks had gone into the game as favourites, having won six games on the bounce since their opening-day loss to Province at Newlands. However, even though they had Juan Martin Hernandez and Rory Kockott back within their ranks, they struggled to contain a well-organised Province side who had tries from Tonderai Chavchanga and Chris Jack to thank for a fine away win.

Province had always looked the likely victors, too. Indeed, after Pietersen and Kockott had exchanged early penalties, the visitors took command of proceedings with a fantastic team try on 24 minutes.

Pietersen proved the catalyst, taking a quick tap inside his 22 which caught the Sharks napping. Juan de Jongh was released up the left flank and although his progress was eventually halted by the scrambling Sharks defence, Province secured quick ball off the floor, allowing Kockott to keep the momentum in an attack which ended with Duane Vermeulen putting Chavhanga over in the right corner.

Chavhanga almost bagged a second try moments later but the Television Match Official ruled - somewhat harshly - that he had been held up by Lwazi Mvovo. There was no denying that Province were dominating the game but they failed to make the most of their obvious superiority and Kockott's penalty right on the stroke of half time meant that the visitors led by just two points (8-6) at the interval.

Incredibly for Province four minutes of the restart they were behind, the otherwise ineffective Hernandez squeezing a 35-minute drop goal inside the right upright. That should have lifted the stuttering Sharks but it merely refocused Province and they deservedly went back in front just before the hour mark.

Luke Watson created the score, the No.8 showing a nice turn of pace on the outside before finding Gio Aplon. The latter was halted just short of the line but Jack was following up and the former All Black crashed over for a try which was promptly converted by Pietersen.

The Sharks needed to bite back but Pietersen extended Province's advantage with another penalty in the 66th minute and then put the outcome beyond all doubt with a well-taken drop goal with just over three minutes to go, thus ending the home side's hopes of securing the losing bonus point which would have kept them on top of the table.

The Golden Lions dented the Blue Bulls' hopes of a top-four finish by defeating the men from Pretoria 20-13 at Ellis Park.

The final scoreline flattered the visitors, who only really came to life in the final quarter. Indeed, they struggled to make any impression on the game for well over an hour.

After a rather nondescript opening 18 minutes, Herkie Kruger opened the scoring for the hosts with a well-struck penalty from wide on the right-hand side. The game continued to make for tough viewing thereafter but on 37 minutes, the Lions crafted a try of real quality.

Jano Vermaak and Franco van der Merwe combined superbly to take the home side deep into Bulls territory and, after the Lions worked the ball wide, stretching the Bulls defence to breaking point, Alwyn Hollenbach dummied his way inside and blazed through a gaping hole to score. Kruger added the extras and the hosts went in ten points to the good at the interval.

It was imperative for the Bulls to score first after the restart if they were to have any chance of turning the game around but it was the Lions who struck next. Again the excellent van der Merwe was involved, the flanker expertly chipping the ball down the line for Vermaak to collect and finish.

That was effectively game over but the Bulls did manage to claim a losing bonus point thanks to a late converted try from Jaco Pretorius and a penalty from Burton Francis just after the hooter had sounded.

Jongi Nokwe bagged a hat-trick as the Free State Cheetahs sensationally routed the Griquas 58-13 in Kimberley. The Springbok winger was in scintillating form throughout and created three other scores, for WP Nel, Nico Breedt and Frans Viljoen, who eventually ended with a brace.

Remarkably, it was the Griquas who scored the game's opening try, with Bjorn Basson crossing to help the home side into an early 8-6 lead. However, they capitulated thereafter, seemingly incapable of keeping tabs on Nokwe, who helped himself to a quick-fire treble.

His first effort arrived after a superb team move from the Cheetahs, while his second owed everything to his athleticism, Nokwe touching down after beating Egon Seconds to a cross-field kick. Nokwe struck again, from close range, shortly after half time, by which time the Griquas looked out on their feet.

His hat-trick complete, Nokwe then went about creating scores for others, which he did to devastating effect, laying the foundations for tries for Nel, Breedt and Viljoen. The latter added another try after a fine rolling maul from the visitors before the beleaguered Griquas managed a consolation score in the dying seconds through Rohan Kitshoff.

The Leopards notched their first win of the season in Potchefstroom, racking up a bonus point against relegation rivals Boland with a 50-16 victory on Friday night.

Boland's early lead from a Justin Peach penalty was cancelled out by a try from Bom Samaai, who raced on to a chip through after some smart turnover ball. Cecil Dumont was wide with the conversion, but he soon extended his side's lead with two penalties and a drop-goal.

With the score handily placed at 14-3, two lapses from the Leopards defence allowed Peach to close the score to 14-9. The two offsides looked to have sent Boland in with the momentum at the break, but Dumont's third penalty following a sweeping break extended the lead to 17-9.

No.8 Christo van Niekerk rammed home the Leopards' advantage with a mazy run to the line after some quick work from a lineout, but Boland struck back when Sarel Hoffman powered over from close range after a quick-tap penalty.

Moments later, Leopards scrum-half Michael Bondesio outstripped some flimsy Boland defence from the base of a scrum and notched his side's third try. Dumont wrapped up a bonus-point with an interception score and van Niekerk bagged his second after some fine offloading, sparked by Bondesio.

Boland lost Zandre Jordaan to a harsh sin-bin call after a high tackle, allowing Samaai to score his second and bring up the half century.


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