By Brendon Atwell
Round six of the Currie Cup First Division saw the EP Elephants concede over 100 points against the Hino Valke while the SWD Eagles downed the Boland Cavaliers to go top of the First Division to set up a mouth-watering final round of matches.
In Kempton Park, the EP Elephants suffered their worst defeat of the season when they were trampled 101-29 (halftime 47-17) by the Hino Valke at the Barnard Stadium. The home side ran in no less than 15 tries with centre Etienne Taljaard crossing four times while flanker Thabo Mabuza, Number 8 Friedle Olivier and right wing Coert Cronje all scored a brace each.
Hooker Marco Klopper, centre Lundi Ralarala and replacements Martin Sithole, Andrew van Wyk and Andrew Volschenk all added their names to the try column with scrumhalf Anrich Richter landing 11 conversions, and missing two while fullback Andries Truter added a further two conversions.
Despite the mauling, the visitors managed to walk away from the game with a bonus-point, having scored four tries of their own through scrumhalf Ruan van Rensburg, lock Anele Lungisa, right wing Mike Makase and fullback Ruben de Dos. De Dos also landed two conversions and a penalty while Makase converted his own try.
The victory moves the Valke into third place on the First Division log with 17 points from five games, trailing the unbeaten Leopards by two points and two points ahead of the fourth-placed Cavaliers, with Boland having completed their matches and the Leopards having two matches to play. EP on the other hand confirmed their wooden spoon status for the season, trailing the Down Touch Griffons by six points with only one match left to play.
Outeniqua Park in George saw the Eagles run in seven tries to record a bonus-point 54-28 (halftime 36-14) victory over the Cavaliers with seven different players crossing the whitewash. Flanker Nicolaas Immelman, hooker Jacobus Vermaak, fullback Leighton Eksteen, right wing Marlo Weich, lock Ruben Schoeman and replacements Johannes Stander and Kirsten Heyns all added their names to the try scorers sheet and flyhalf Divan Nel landing five conversions and three penalties.
The men from Wellington could only manage three tries of their own with flanker Tapiwa Tsomondo grabbing a brace and replacement Wayne Smith adding the third while seasoned flyhalf Elgar Watts landed three penalties and two conversions.
Both sides had to play with 14 men during the first half with the Eagles having tighthead prop Mzuvukile Sofisa sin-binned while Boland had their tighthead prop, Clinton Theron, spending 10 minutes on the side lines five minutes before the halftime whistle sounded. The Eagles though were reduced to 14 men again in the second stanza with Immelman being pinned by referee AJ Jacobs.
The victory moves the Eagles to the top of the log with 21 points from five matches but the Leopards have a chance to regain their top-spot when they face the Griffons at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium on Saturday. The Leopards though will have the more difficult final game when they host the Valke at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds next Friday while the Eagles travel to the Despatch Rugby Club next Saturday to face the hapless EP Elephants.