A mixed bag in the opening round of this year’s Million Rand Vodacom Cup challenge, with defending champs Griquas and Western Province winning handsomely. Not so fortunate were the Bulls and Wildebeest, both of whom were soundly beaten by unfancied opposition.
Western Province opened their campaign in fine style with a 51-7 thrashing of the hapless Griffons in Belville. Province flanker Conraad Britz had a superb game, scoring twice in the first half to contribute to a handy 32-0 lead at the break. A hat trick of tries by right winger Terry Jacobs in the second half sealed the result for the home team.
In Port Elizabeth, the Mighty Elephants did well to hold the visiting Leopards to 14-all at half time, before ultimately capitulating 32-14. The Leopards forwards were superior throughout the game and fullback Anvor Schooney came through for the vistors, scoring twice in the second half. Further tries to Riaan Swanepoel, Andre Swanepoel and former Sharks hooker Pellow van der Westhuizen saw the Leopards win the try-count convincingly, five to one.
In Wellington on Saturday afternoon, the Boland Cavaliers took the points on offer, by beating the visiting Valke 31-22. The home side were never really convincing and at one stage trailed the visitors by 12 points. They came back and scored 21 unanswered points to take the spoils, with the evergreen Jutsin Peach proving deadly with the boot.
In Durban, the highly-rated Wildebeest team, packed with Shrks reserves and a number of internationals, were humiliated 30-10 by the lowly Pumas. The home side scored first through centre Andries Strauss, but never took control of the game, despite the big names on show. The visitors fought back to turn at 10-all, and then turned on the gas to score 20 unanswered points in the second half, leaving the hapless Wildebeest to look in in dismay.
In the lowest-scoring game of the opening round, defending champs Griquas downed the Border Bulldogs by 15-5 in East London. The visitors led 8-0 at the break, but a seeming inability for either side to grasp the new laws (the full set of ELV’s are being trialled in the Vodacom Cup this year) saw a flurry of yellow cards in the second half. The game ceased to be a spectacle as a result.
In the other matches this weekend, a young Blue Bulls team went down 33-27 to SWD in George, while the Free State prevailed in thrilling encounter to beat the Golden Lions by 42-36 in Bloemfontein.
Here are all the results:
Boland Kavaliers 31 – 22 Valke
Vodacom WP 51 – 7 Griffons
BA Mighty Elephants 14 – 32 Platinum Leopards
Wildebeest 10 – 30 Pumas
Border 5 – 15 Wildeklawer Griquas
SWD 33 – 27 Vodacom Blue Bulls
Free State 42 – 36 Golden Lions