Another great day of rugby with the last game between the Valke and SWD the definite highlight of the day. The victory of SWD over the reigning champions the Valke meant that a new champion will be crowned on Thursday ending the Valke's reign of two years.
The Golden Lions kept their clean slate intact with a well-deserved 38-12 win over the Pumas on day two of LSEN Week in Bloemfontein. The Gauteng side had control of the match from the start, leading 26-7 at the break and crossing the Pumas line six times. Three of those came from the hard-running centre, Mendes Vengu, while winger Tshepang Selelane dotted down twice. The Pumas could not sustain the effort that saw them past Free State yesterday and were playing catch-up rugby from the start.
Golden Lions: Tries: Vengu (3), Selelane (2), Ngoie. Conversions: Kangudja (3). Penalty: Kangjuda.
Pumas: Tries: Sokela, Nhlabathi. Conversion: Oosthuizen.
The Gauteng XV side had their flags lowered by Eastern Province, who scored a 25-17 win to register their first victory in Bloemfontein. It was a hard-fought affair with a brace by No 8 Gregan Williams edging the Eastern Cape side home. The half-time score was only 13-10 to EP, but they played with more purpose in the second half and deserved the win.
Eastern Province: Tries: Williams (2), Britz, Ovayo. Conversion: Ovayo. Penalty: Webb
Gauteng XV: Tries: Barns, van Wyk. Conversions: Dicks (2). Penalty: van Wyk.
Both the Sharks and Golden Lions EE were keen to rebound following big losses on Monday, and it was the Gauteng side who came out tops in this encounter. In fact, they dominated their coastal opponents and won 37-5, leading 22-0 at the break. Their dominance is best illustrated by the seven tries to one they managed over the Sharks, who have found the going pretty tough so far in the Free State capital.
Sharks: Try: Dauth.
Golden Lions EE: Tries: Oosthuizen, Mazibuko (2), vd Westhuizen, Billa, Stoltz, Hendrikz. Conversions: vd Westhuizen.
The Leopards were pretty unlucky on Monday, being edged by the Golden Lions, and they came back with a bang today, scoring eight tries against the Free State Cheetahs to post a solid 53-24 win. Miquel Engelbrecht (No 8) was again busy and scored a hat-trick of tries, while Lesego Seikaneng (scrumhalf) and Tshwanelo Batshe (fullback) each grabbed two five-pointers in a strong second-half showing. For the home side, two tries from No 8, Tsekiso Makhele, gave them early hope and the Bloem boys were still leading 19-13 at the break before they were overwhelmed in the second stanza.
Leopards: Tries: Engelbrecht (3), Seikaneng (2), Batshe (2), Skhosana. Conversions: Seikanenh (5). Penalty: Seikaneng.
Cheetahs: Tries: Mokhele (2), Macalagh, Moloi. Conversions: Abrahams (2).
Penalties kicks were far and few this week, but the two kicked by Blue Bulls flyhalf, Luan Gouws, proved to be decisive in their close-fought match against Boland. Both sides scored two tries, with the two Gouws efforts the difference in the 18-14 win for the Pretoria team. They held a slender 8-7 lead and with Gouws also converting centre Jaco Nel’s try, the gap proved to be wide enough for their first win.
Blue Bulls: Tries: vd Bank, Nel. Conversion: Gouws. Penalties: Gouws (2).
Boland: Tries: Prins, Arends. Conversions: le Fleur.
DHL Western Province delivered another strong performance to keep their undefeated status going, this time beating Griffons 48-17. The Cape side scored seven tries, three of those in the first half for a 21-3 lead at the break. The Griffons managed two tries in the second half to the four of their opponents, including a brace by prop Rique Harmse and No 8, Dimitri Gossmann. Western Province surprised many with their game plan after the first day. They used their big forwards to great effect and only spread the ball wide when the work up front was done. Western Province is definately a serious contender to win this tournament on Thursday.
Western Province: Tries: Harmse (2), Gossman (2), Kongolo, Ngcwama, Pikeur. Conversions: Davids (5). Penalties: Davids.
Griffons: Tries: Mochesane, vd Westhuizen. Conversions: Jacobs (2). Penalty: Steenkamp.
The clash between SWD and Valke delivered the spectacle it promised as the two undefeated teams tried to outplay each other. There was another big performance from Keano Brown, the SWD stand-out centre, with the points-machine scored two of his side’s five tries. The star of the show though was No 8, Ashley Guide, who dotted down three times in the 29-17 win. At halftime, the teams were still tied at 10-10, but the playmakers in the SWD side prevailed and they finished undefeated after two outings while the rules regarding the use of players biting the Valke at the end. This game should perhaps have been the final on Thursday.
SWD: Tries: Gentle (3), Brown (2). Conversions: Brown, Edwards.
Valke: Tries: van Buuren (2). Conversions: Fourie, Booysen. Penalty: Fourie.