Four teams are locked in a battle for first place on the Absa Currie Cup standings after yet another exciting weekend in South Africa’s premier domestic competition.
The Sharks suffered a 35-14 loss to a rampant Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening, while, earlier, the Cheetahs went down 9-3 to Western Province at a wet Newlands to lose the two remaining unbeaten records.
Those results have left the Sharks, the Blue Bulls, WP and the Cheetahs all tied on nine points after three rounds of matches, leapfrogging to the top of the log on points difference. The Bulls have a positive points difference of 26, followed by WP (12), the Sharks (7) and the Cheetahs (2).
It wasn’t a very high-scoring weekend – with the inclement weather in the Cape putting paid to any thoughts of free-flowing rugby – but the Lions’ Earl Rose produced the best individual showing of the weekend, scoring 30 of his team’s 35 points as they beat the Falcons 35-23 at Ellis Park on Friday evening.
It was the Lions’ first win of the season, Eugene Eloff’s team having suffered losses to the Bulls (21-7) and the Cheetahs (22-18) last Saturday and the week before.
Rose is now the leading points-scorer in the competition with 50 points from three matches, just five ahead of WP’s Willem de Waal, who kicked all his team’s points in their 9-3 win over the Cheetahs.
De Waal – who was an injury-doubt ahead of the weekend – starred for WP yet again, helping his new team record an important victory over the defending Absa Currie Cup champions. WP’s win over the Cheetahs, and the Sharks’ loss to the Bulls, means there are now no unbeaten teams in the tournament.
“Willem de Waal knows how to win Currie Cups, and he did very well again today,” said WP coach Allister Coetzee afterwards.
When asked about his team’s performance on the day, Coetzee replied: “The conditions weren’t conducive to a running game. It was a one-pass, kick affair, and the kick chase had to be good.
“The way we put pressure on them in this respect gave us the edge.
“I’m very happy to have the four points, and if you’d told me at the start of the season I’d have beaten two of the big three teams in the first three games, I’d definitely have taken it.”
WP travel to Kimberley next weekend for a meeting with the Griquas – the only side in the Currie Cup yet to have registered a victory this season. The men from Kimberley, however, are always a tough proposition at Absa Park.
Griquas and the Boland Cavaliers, who are in fifth place on the Absa Currie Cup log, played to a 9-9 draw at Boland Stadium in Wellington on Friday afternoon – the first draw in the 2008 Currie Cup.Tweet