The Down Touch Griffons were given a stern test of their championship credentials and overcame them as they emerged victorious against the Eastern Province Elephants in their Carling Currie Cup first division clash on Saturday afternoon, while there were also wins for the Leopards and Eagles.
GRIFFONS DEFEAT ELEPHANTS
In a table topping clash between the competitions two form teams it was the Griffons who claimed a 23-13 (halftime 10-6) win over the EP Elephants at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Gqeberha.
The start of the match was a kicking duel as EP fullback Masixole Banda knocked over two penalties, either side one from Griffons scrumhalf Jaywin Juries, giving the hosts a 6-3 lead after 18 minutes.
The visitors however soon hit the front as in the 22nd minute flyhalf Duann Pretorius went over for the game’s opening try, with Juries conversion putting them 10-6 up.
Juries missed a 27th minute penalty to put his side further ahead, with them holding that four point lead at the halftime break.
The Griffons then got off to a strong start in the second half as prop Buhle Nojekwa crashed over for a converted score in the 48th minute, while another Juries penalty six minutes later put them further ahead 20-6.
In the 61st minute EPgave themselves a chance of getting back into the match as lock Jaco Willemse went over for their only try of the game, with Banda’s extras reducing the deficit to seven points.
The Griffons then made sure of the result with a 74th minute penalty to Juries to cement their place at the top of the first division log, with them now the team to beat.
LEOPARDS CRUSH GOSHAWKS
The Leopards were in devastating form to completely shut out the Zimbabwe Goshawks and claim a one sided 35-0 (halftime 25-0) win in their match at City Park stadium in Athlone.
Two successful penalties from Leopards fullback Duren Hoffman had the Leopards up 6-0 after 27 minutes, before a crazy nine minute spell saw them run in three tries to surge into a massive halftime lead.
Inside centry Vuyo Mboto, outside centre Andries Truter and hooker Robey Leibbrandt all went over for tries, with Hoffman knocking over two of the conversions to put them in a powerful position at the break.
Eight minutes into the second half and Hoffman went over for his own try, but was unable to convert, putting them 30-0 ahead.
Another unconverted try to right wing Pienaar van Niekerk in the 64th minute then closed out the scoring for the match with the Leopards enjoying a comfortable bonus point win.
EAGLES FIGHTBACK TO BEAT SIMBAS
The South Western District Eagles recovered from a halftime deficit to power to a 24-7 (halftime 5-7) win over the Kenyan Simbas at City Park in Athlone.
It was a low scoring first half, but it was the Simbas who got on the board first with right wing Timothy Ejakait dotting down and flyhalf Dominic Coilson converting for a 7-0 lead after 11 minutes.
Eagles hooker Stephen Leonard then responded with an unconverted try in the 25th minute, with the score remaining the same for the remainder of the half.
The Eagles took the lead for the first time in the match with a 52nd minute unconverted try to right wing Andre Manuel.
The forwards then kicked into gear towards the end of the match as replacement hooker Keano Hendricks went over for two tries in the final 13 minutes, both converted by flyhalf Gene Willemse to give the Eagles a solid win in the end.