By Brendon Atwell
The Hino Valke and the Down Touch Griffons secured semi-final spots in the Currie Cup First Division victories on Friday evening with wins over the Leopards and Border Bulldogs respectively. Despite going down by six points, the Leopards still secured a semi-final spot but lost out on securing a home semi-final, which the Valke secured, pending the outcome of the EP Elephants vs SWD Eagles match which takes place on Saturday.
At the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds in Potchefstroom, the Valke secured a 41-35 (halftime 28-21) Currie Cup First Division victory over the Leopards to secure a home semi-final, finishing on 22 points after securing a bonus-point. The Leopards also finished on 22 point after scoring four tries and losing by less than seven points but the points difference favours the Valke, who began the match trailing the Leopards by three-log points.
The visitors scored five tries through left-wing Etienne Taljaard, centres Lundi Ralarala and Grant Janke, Number 8 Friedle Olivier and scrumhalf Anrich Richter, who also landed four conversions and a penalty for a personal tally of 16 points. Flyhalf Errol Jaggers also landed a drop-goal 13 minutes from time to give the men from Benoni a 13-point cushion heading into the last ten minutes.
The home side had Dean Stokes to thank as the left wing scored a hat-trick of tries with right wing Lungelo Gosa and replacement hooker, Marius Stander adding their name to the try scoring column. Flyhalf Schalk Hugo landed all five conversions but the defeat leaves the Leopards in the position of possibly having to face the Valke again the semi-final with the SWD Eagles, currently on 21 points, facing off against the hapless EP Elephants on Saturday.
Leopards – Tries: Dean Stokes (3), Lungelo Gosa, Marius Stander; Conversions: Schalk Hugo (5).
Hino Valke – Tries: Etienne Taljaard, Lundi Ralarala, Friedle Olivier, Grant Janke, Anrich Richter; Conversions: Richter (4); Penalty: Richter; Drop-goal: Errol Jaggers.
The BCM Stadium in East London saw the visiting Griffons score seven tries en-route to a comprehensive 40-7 (halftime 15-7) victory over the Border Bulldogs with hooker Anrich Alberts scoring a hat-trick of tries. The victory moved the Griffons into fourth spot on the First Division log and will await their semi-final opponents which is dependant on the out come of the final round-robin game between the EP Elephants and the SWD Eagles, which takes place on Saturday.
A victory for the Eagles will see the Griffons travel to George for a match-up against the Eagles while an unlikely victory for the Elephants will see the Griffons travel to Benoni for a semi-final against the Valke.
Alberts’ hat-trick was complimented with tries from flanker Jean Pretorius, centre Nkululeko Marwana, flyhalf Duan Pretorius and replacement Thato Mavundla with Pretoius adding just a single conversion and penalty. The flyhalf had an offnight with the boot, missing no less than five converions while replacement Neill Stanford missed his only shot at goal.
Border Bulldogs – Try: Billy Dutton; Conversion: Aphiwe Stemele.
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Anrich Alberts (3), Jean Pretorius, Nkululeko Marwana, Duan Pretorius, Thato Mavundla; Conversion: Pretorius; Penalty: Pretorius.
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