The Currie Cup kicked off this weekend, with the so-called smaller teams showing their worth.
Here’s a wrap of the action.
WESTERN PROVINCE 20 – BLUE BULLS 5
The Currie Cup’s most famous derby failed to live up expectations on Saturday, but at least Province could claim bragging rights and a good start.
A combined 20 handling errors illustrated how stop-start proceedings were at Newlands.
In the end, Province’s superior finishing ability proved a clincher, particularly No 8 Juarno Augustus’ muscular finish early in the second half.
The Bulls certainly came to play and ensured a ferocious battle at the breakdown, but their attack lacked direction and accuracy.
What will please the Springboks though is that influential lock Lood de Jager put in a good shift and he was certainly missed after he was replaced.
National coach Rassie Erasmus has confirmed that he’ll featured against the Wallabies next week.
Western Province – Tries: Ruhan Nel, Juarno Augustus, Craig Barry. Conversion: SP Marais. Penalty: Marais
Blue Bulls – Try: Embrose Papier.
LIONS 38 – PUMAS 37
Madosh Tambwe dramatically reminded the Lions hierarchy and broader rugby public of his nose for the tryline as he bagged no less than four tries in this thriller on Saturday.
The 22-year-old winger showed rare finishing ability in headlining the home side’s comeback effort at Ellis Park.
Both sides weren’t too preoccupied with keeping things tight, though the usually more measured Pumas seemed on their way to yet another scalp in Doornfontein when they opened up a 16-point lead going into the final quarter.
But Jimmy Stonehouse’s charges, runners-up to Griquas in the SuperSport Challenge, made the mistake of not putting a lid on things, allowing the Lions to excel as the game continued to be loose.
And that’s their strength.
Given how youthful this Lions team is, this was a pretty decent effort in the end.
Lions – Tries: Madosh Tambwe (4), Tyrone Green, Shaun Reynolds. Conversions: Reynolds (4).
Pumas – Tries: Carel du Preez, Le Roux Roets, Etienne Taljaard, Morgan Naude. Conversions: Kobus Marais (4). Penalties: Marais (3).
SHARKS 13 – GRIQUAS 37
Brent Janse van Rensburg’s Griquas claimed a famous win at Kings Park on Friday night, looking every bit the well-drilled unit that won this year’s SuperSport Challenge.
The Peacock Blues played their kicking game to perfection, keeping the Sharks locked in their own half and eventually pouncing on the inevitable mistakes that were going to be made.
The home side didn’t help their cause with a listless performance in general as they played an attacking game that was ill-suited to the damp conditions, meaning new head coach Sean Everitt’s tenure started on a poor note.
By contrast, Griquas benefited from their stability and executed their game-plan superbly.
Reserve hooker Wilmar Arnoldi’s two tries from driving mauls illustrated their dominance up front.
Sharks – Try: Cameron Wright. Conversion: Curwin Bosch. Penalties: Bosch (2).
Griquas – Tries: Wilmar Arnoldi (2), Zak Burger, Michal Haznar. Conversions: George Whitehead (4). Penalties: Whitehead (3).