Free State beat KwaZulu-Natal 22-15 on the second day of Craven Week in East London.
Cheetahs centre Piet Lindeque scored his side’s third try with five minutes remaining to seal the result after they had trailed for large parts of the encounter.
KZN surged to a 12-0 lead in the first half with a strong wind at their backs. The Cheetahs lacked discipline in that period, which gave KZN flyhalf Fred Zeilinga the chance to slot four penalties.
Free State flanker Jean Cook was then yellow-carded, but despite being one man down prop Stephanus Pretorius scored to bring his team back into the match.
Cheetahs flyhalf Johannes Goosen struggled with the boot but managed to slot a penalty early in the second stanza. Replacement Siphosetu Tom then scored a great team try as Free State claimed the lead for the first time.
Zeilinga slotted another monster kick into the breeze to draw the scores level at 15-15.
KZN unsuccessfully tried to run the ball back into opposition territory, while Goosen and fullback Riaan Britz attempted several drop kicks for Free State, which all sailed wide.
Lindeque then burst through a gap in KZN’s defence to score the match-winning try.
Blue Bulls 52 Boland 0
The Blue Bulls downed a 14-man Boland by scoring seven unanswered tries.
Boland were dealt an early blow as centre Heinrich Schlunz was red carded for a spear tackle in the 15th minute. The Bulls dominated open play with the numerical advantage, but could only score two tries in the opening half.
Wing Leroy Africa broke the line to set up fullback Jacques Lombard – who scored a hat-trick – while centre Jacobus de Goede scored another to make it 14-0 at half-time.
Boland’s resistance eventually broke as the Bulls ran in a further five tries. Lombard claimed another couple as prop Juan Schoeman, lock Jose Julies, and Anton Kruger all claimed one each.
SA Academy 44 Zimbabwe 20
The Academy side controlled proceedings from the opening whistle as they scored five tries in the first half.
A polished team display saw wing Ayanda Foley and centre William Small-Smith each grab a brace, while captain Kobus Porter scored the fifth try from a quick tap penalty. Winger Tererai Nyabonda claimed Zimbabwe’s only try of the stanza to make it 34-7 at the break.
Zimbabwe took the early momentum in the second half as No 8 Justin Coles scored his team’s second try, while they gave a better defensive effort as they restricted SA Academy from extending their lead.
However, the Academy XV were able to score one more try as wing Ushimen Panteni went over in the corner late in the game.
Limpopo Blue Bulls 47 Griffons 13
Griffons flyhalf Ryno Venter kicked an early penalty, but Limpopo took charge with lock JJ Breet scoring a hat-trick in 10 minutes.
Centre Danie Ludick claimed Limpopo’s fourth try, before the Griffons scored 10 points against the run of play via a converted try by hooker Lenro Vergotinni and another penalty by Venter. That made the score 22-13 at half-time.
However, Limpopo continued to dominate in the second half, running in three more tries through centre Gideon Blignaut, Breet and fullback Christian Buys.
Leopards 27 Eastern Province CD 20
EP CD raced into an early 13-0 lead after a try from wing Brian Skozana and two penalties by centre Hanro Louw.
The Leopards hit back through an interception try from centre Janus Jonker, who scored under the posts, and another try from wing Johan Meyer. Flyhalf Drehan Marais was successful with one of the conversions, which saw the Leopards ahead 14-13 at half-time.
EP CD regained the lead in the 50th minute as Skozana ran over for his second try, but Marais levelled the scores with two penalties.
The game was in the balance as both teams attacked fiercely, but Meyer’s second try gave the Leopards the win.
Border CD 17 SA LSEN 5
Border CD looked good with ball in hand as they ran in three tries via fullback Athenkosi Mbongwe, centre Ntlahla Rala and wing Aphiwe Makala to lead 17-0 at the break.
SA LSEN gave a better defensive performance in the second half, and prevented Border CD from scoring. However, they were unable to capitalise on all of their opportunities and only scored one try through hooker Daniel Botha.
By Gareth Duncan