It was a scrappy game in Kimberley, probably as a result of both teams knowing what was at stake.
THE TAFEL Lager Griquas wobbled a bit, but ultimately managed to book their spot in next week’s 2021 Currie Cup semi-finals. The Kimberley team had to dig deep at Tafel Lager Park on Saturday to claim a 13-13 draw against the New Nation Pumas.
The Pumas still had a chance of sneaking in via the back door had the Sharks beaten Western Province in Durban, but the Cape Town team made the most of chilly conditions in Durban to take a well-deserved bonus point win and secure the last semi-final spot.
In a scrappy game in Kimberley, probably as a result of both teams knowing what was at stake, the Pumas took a narrow 5-3 lead into half-time. By the end of the game, the visitors had crossed the whitewash twice, scoring two tries through Tapiwa Mafura and Sebastian de Klerk.
Griquas, however, hit back with a late try from outside centre Chris Hollis taking the score to 13-all.
Strangely, the Pumas had a chance at the death to win the game with a penalty, but opted instead to attempt to score a try.
Perhaps this was understandable since the visitors had missed two conversion attempts in the game and it is possible that their confidence in their kicker was not as high as it could have been.
Griquas’ defence, however, held firm and the Pumas would live to rue their decision.
• Elsewhere in the Currie Cup, though they were a bit shaky at times, the Bulls proved why they are the best team in South Africa by holding off the Cheetahs 39-36 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night to top the Currie Cup log.
Both teams ran in five tries, but the Bulls clinched first position at the end of the league phase of the competition to secure a home semi-final and possible final in Pretoria.
And as mentioned earlier, the icy weather at Jonsson Kings Park didn’t stop the Sharks and Western Province from producing a thriller in the very last match of the Currie Cup round-robin stage, with the Capetonians’ 35-24 bonus-point win sneaking them into next week’s semi-finals.
This means the Bulls will host Province in a Loftus semi-final, while the Sharks will face Griquas at Kings Park next Saturday.
Griquas 13 (3) – Try: Chris Hollis. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalties: Whitehead (2)
Pumas 13 (5) – Tries: Tapiwa Mafura, Sebastian de Klerk. Penalty: Eddie Fouche
Additional reporting by Mike Greenaway and Ashfak Mohammed
The Currie Cup semi-finals will play out in Pretoria on Friday and Durban on Saturday.
In the first semi-final, the Bulls will host Western Province at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, where kick-off is scheduled for 7pm on Friday, September 3.
The second semi-final kicks off at 5pm on Saturday, September 4 at Park in Durban, between the Sharks and Griquas.
The Currie Cup Final is scheduled for Saturday, September 11.
The Bulls finished the campaign on top of the standings. The Sharks ended in second place, while Griquas secured third place with their 13-all draw with the Pumas. Western Province sneaked into fourth place after their 35-24 bonus-point win over the Sharks on Saturday.
Friday, September 3
Bulls vs Western Province
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Saturday, September 4:
Sharks vs Griquas
Venue: Kings Park, Durban