Cheetahs keep up perfect start in Currie Cup

Rosco Specman Gerhard Steenkamp/BackpagePix

Defending champions the Free State Cheetahs claimed a second bonus-point victory in as many weeks to continue their perfect start to the new Currie Cup Premier League season with a 30-17 victory over Western Province on Sunday.

A try early on from Sevens star Roscoe Specman put the home side into the lead, and when flyhalf Niel Marais added two more penalties they led 11-3 past the half-hour mark. WP narrowed that to a single point when Justin Phillips crossed for a try, but the Cheetahs took an 18-10 halftime lead when William Small-Smith scored.

They then took a grip on the game in the 10 minutes after the break when skipper Francois Venter and wing Makazole Mapimpi grabbed tries. They held onto their lead comfortably with WP earning a consolation score late on through Stephan de Wit.

The Golden Lions edged a Griquas side that just wouldn't quit with a 48-43 success at Ellis Park on Saturday; a match that served as the curtain-raiser to the Super Rugby semifinal later in the day.

Zaire-born wing Madosh Tambwe ran in two tries as the Lions scored seven, one more than their plucky opponents. Pieter Jansen, Jacques Nel, Jarryd Sage, Aphiwe Dyanti and Jaco van der Walt were the other scorers for the Lions, who made up for a first round 43-36 loss to the Pumas.

Griquas were in the game until the final hooter as Christiaan Meyer (two), George Whitehead, Ederies Arendse, Enver Brandt and Renier Botha crossed the line for them. After a 51-45 loss to the Bulls in their opener, there have now been 187 points scored in their two games so far this season, with much work needing to be done on defence.

At the opposite end of the scale are the Sharks, who achieved a shut-out against the Pumas with a 29-0 bonus-point victory at King's Park. The home side narrowly led 3-0 at halftime of a game that was low on quality in slippery conditions, despite the home side fielding a number of their Super Rugby stars.

The Sharks took control of the game in the second period and managed four tries through Lukhanyo Am, Sbusiso Nkosi, Kobus van Wyk and Jeremy Ward.

Next weekend's action sees the Sharks host Griquas on Friday, before WP entertain the Pumas on Saturday and there is a Jukskei Derby as the Blue Bulls welcome the Golden Lions to Loftus Versfeld