Pukke and College Rovers will meet in the Final of this year’s national club championships after both sides recorded hard-fought semifinal victories at the Danie Craven Stadium on Thursday.
Rugby 365 reports that it is the second time in three years that the KwaZulu-Natal and Leopards champions will play in the Final – their last meeting in 2006 saw the North West University students beat the Durban team 33-21 to claim the title.
Pukke reached the Final with a nailbiting 23-20 victory over hosts and defending champions Maties, while Rovers beat Brakpan 23-15 in a tense first semifinal. Rovers will now look to become the first team from KwaZulu-Natal to win the national title since fellow Durban side Crusaders in 1994.
In the Plate semifinals played earlier, SK Walmers reached Saturday’s Final with an outstanding 80-0 win over Despatch, while SWD champions Bridgton beat Mpumalanga’s Nelspruit 27-21.
Boland’s Nova Wesbank club won the Bowl after a 34-22 victory over Barbarians.
Plate Final – SK Walmers v Bridgton, 11.00
Premier Final – Pukke v College Rovers, 13.00
Day Three reports:
SK Walmers (47) 80 Despatch (0) 0
Fullback Tangai Nemadire scored a hat-trick of tries and kicked five conversions as WP’s SK Walmers demolished Eastern Province champions Despatch in the first Plate semifinal.
Walmers saved their best performance for last against a team that was showing signs of strain after tough two tough matches against highly physical opponents earlier in the week.
The Bo-Kaap side scored 12 tries in total, with the remainder going to wings Raithaan Petersen and Zhahier Rylands, scrumhalf Ridhaa Damon (2), flank Gerhard Gerber, lock Jaco Nel, and replacements Fataag Jamalie, Charles Mndaweni and Steward Palmer. Flyhalf Adnaan Osman kicked two conversions and hooker Junior Leota three.
On this performance, SK Walmers will be firm favourites to retain their Plate title in Saturday’s Final.
Bridgton (15) 27 Nelspruit (15) 21
SWD champions Bridgton caused a minor surprise when they staged an excellent comeback against the Mpumalanga champions to qualify for the Plate final, against SK Walmers.
Nelspruit, as they did against Roses United on day one, raced to an early lead thanks to structured, low-risk rugby against a team prepared to run the ball from anywhere.
However Bridgton, as they were bound to do, struck back to level matters at half-time before scoring the decisive points with ten minutes remaining.
The rest of the match saw Nelspruit camped on their opponents’ line, but a string of poor option-taking robbed them of the chance to pull a rabbit out of the hat.
For Nelspruit, centre Jonathan Clack and flyhalf Pieter Prinsloo scored tries, while centre Gunther Swart kicked a conversion and three penalties.
Bridgton’s points came from two tries by Hadley Arries, and one each from centre Craig Booysen and left wing Constand Fortuin. Fullback Brian Jonathan kicked two conversions and a penalty as Bridgton finally put to rest their disappointing 2006 Club Champs campaign, which saw them unable to win a game.
Nova Wesbank (19) 34 Barbarians (12) 22
Wesbank were popular winners of the Bowl title with an exciting win over Mossel Bay side Barbarians.
Try-scorers for the Malmesbury club were fullback Martin Lesch (2), right wing Jose Baardman, No.8 Emgee Fredericks and flyhalf Jannie Barendse, who also kicked three conversions and a penalty.
For Barbarians, left wing Shannon Robertson, hooker Raymorty du Preez and replacement Zany Gelderblom scored tries, while flyhalf John Cooper kicked a penalty and two conversions.
Eersterust (0) 7 Gardens (15) 29
Gardens finished off their Bowl campaign on a high when they scored five tries against Blue Bulls side Eersterust, who failed to win a match in the competition.
For the Uitenhage team, right wing Warren du Toit scored a brace of tries, with the rest going to flanks Johannes Maart and Archie Gans, and replacement back Simon Lovemore.
Flyhalf Ashwell Maart kicked two conversions.
Eersterust’s points came from a try by lock Winston McNab, converted by Craig van Rooy.
Welkom (5) 25 Raiders (6) 30
Golden Lions team Raiders scored a consolation victory over the Griffons champions, scoring four tries in the process through fullback Muneeb Moos, right wing Tebogo Madibane, centre Heini Pedro, and reserve flank John Matroos.
Moos also kicked two conversions and two penalties.
For Welkom, left wing WP van Vuuren, flank Lee van Zyl, lock Tiaan van der Heever and replacement forward Dewald Botha crossed for tries, while flyhalf Hugo Kleynhans kicked a penalty and a conversion.
UJ (17) 38 Roses United (21) 45
Boland champions Roses United scored a morale-boosting upset against the Johannesburg students, in a high-scoring match that dished up 13 tries and little in the way of meaningful defence.
It was yet another disappointing tournament for UJ, who had the misfortune of drawing Pukke in the quarterfinals, while Roses ended their campaign in fine style after losing to Maties in the last eight.
For Roses, fullback Denvor Fortuin (2), flank Randal Hefke, hooker Pieter Burger and reserve wing Alvin Hugo (3) scored tries, while centre Cornel Hendricks kicked five conversions.
UJ’s six tries were scored by wing Deon Assegaai, centre Juan Pretorius, eighthman Gerhard van Schalkwyk, lock Matt van Zyl, hooker Brett Claassens and prop Dewald Coetzee. Flyhalf Arno Coetzee kicked four conversions.
Buffalo (14) 24 Kimberley Police (10) 10
Border champions Buffalo, who have played some enterprising rugby this year, finally got the win they deserved against luckless Griquas champions Police, who leave Stellenbosch without a win.
For Buffs, scrumhalf Josh Fowles, eighthman Warrick Nel and tighthead prop Andrew Cawthorn crossed for tries, while fullback Jeff Taljaard kicked two conversions and centre Stewart Vickers one conversion and one penalty.
For Bobbies, centre Jaco Erwee and hooker Moses Botha scored tries, both of which were unconverted.
CUT Ixias (7) 12 Tukkies (7) 31
Tukkies finished off a disappointing tournament on a good note when they outscored their student rivals by five tries to two in a fast and open game.
The University of Pretoria team, who lost unexpectedly to College Rovers in the quarterfinals, scored tries through centre Franco Booysen, flanks Francois Barnard and Gert Lubbe (2), and lock Bosman Grobler. Flyhalf Chandré Boshoff kicked three conversions.
Ixias replied with tries by centre Bushi Bushwala (who also kicked a conversion) and replacement Hugo Roodt.Tweet