A huge upset and two narrow, last -minute wins shake up the competition's log
WHILE Griquas took some well-deserved time off from their Currie Cup campaign, there was a huge upset and two narrow, last-minute wins that shook up the competition’s log.
All teams have now played six games and Griquas dropped down to fifth position having been leap-frogged by the Pumas who were relentless when they hosted the Bulls on Friday evening.
In fact former All Blacks coach John Mitchell could not have had a worse start to his coaching tenure at the Bulls when his side lost 51-15 to the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium.
Earlier this week, Nollis Marias had been sacked as the coach but this did not stop the Pumas from putting the Bulls away from eight tries to two, three of them going to Man of the Match Mark Pretorius, the hooker.
The Bulls were always going to battle in this game given that they gave away three yellow cards.
So one-sided was the match that the hosts already had a 22-10 lead at half-time; but they upped a gear in the second-half to steamroll the hapless visitors.
Then on Saturday the Sharks overturned a 17-14 half-time deficit with a strong second-half performance to clinch the narrowest of wins – 21-20 their victory margin in their clash at a chilly Newlands.
Western Province absorbed long spells of second-half pressure and at one stage it looked like their advantage at the break might be a match-winning one. But five minutes from the end, the Sharks made the breakthrough after a string of scoring chances went begging.
But the Sharks managed the breakthrough four minutes from the end when fullback Inny Radebe scored a try at the Railway Stand corner flag. Rhyno Smith goaled the pressure kick from the touchline to snatch victory for the KZN visitors.
In the last match of the weekend the Cheetahs returned to the summit of the Currie Cup Premier Division log when they scored after the hooter to secure a 30-24 win over the Golden Lions in Bloemfontein.
The Lions were leading 24-23 with time up on the clock, but the hosts showed composure and resolve to snatch the victory with the final play of the game as wing Sergeal Petersen dived over for a match-winning try.
The hosts led 13-7 at half-time, with tries coming from Andries Ferreira for the Lions and Gerhard Olivier for the home team.
Cheetahs flyhalf Robbie Petzer was on target with three penalties, before a Rosko Specman try moved his side into a 23-21 lead over the Lions with time winding down. In the 76th minute, however, Lions fullback Jaco van der Walt slotted a penalty to put the visitors into a 24-23 lead.
Ultimately, it would be the Cheetahs who would have the final say in a tightly contested match which either side could have walked away victorious.