Tries galore as SA Cup lifts off with a bang

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  • Post published:March 25, 2024

The four Currie Cup Premier Division sides all reigned supreme in the first round of the inaugural SA Cup, which was played over the weekend, while Eastern Province won a thrilling contest against the Valke in Gqeberha.

A total of 49 tries were scored at an average of just under 10 per game, with the biggest contributors Suzuki Griquas (14) – who also kept a clean sheet on defence – and the NovaVit Griffons (eight).

The NovaVit Griffons outplayed Border 52-8 in Welkom; the Toyota Cheetahs won their home tie 38-7 against the Sanlam Boland Kavaliers – now coached by former Cheetahs mentor Hawies Fourie – in Bloemfontein; the Airlink Pumas outscored Pangela SWD Eagles 43-22 in George; and Suzuki Griquas cruised to an 88-0 victory over the Leopards in Kimberley.

EP won their clash with Valke 31-27 after a strong comeback in the second half where they managed to erase a halftime deficit of 27-10.

The action continues this weekend with five more games scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Novavit Griffons too strong for Border Bulldogs

In Welkom, the NovaVit Griffons scored eight tries on their way to a comprehensive 52-8 triumph over the visiting Border Bulldogs at the Down Touch Investments Stadium on Sunday afternoon, following their 24-3 halftime lead.

Fullback Domenic Smit bagged a hat-trick of tries for the purple jerseys, while halfbacks Jaywinn Juries (scrumhalf) and Danrich Visagie (flyhalf) each succeeded with three conversions.

Border flyhalf Layron Milborrow scored a penalty goal in the first half and outside centre Awonke Sondishe dotted down a late consolation try.


NovaVit Griffons 52 (24) – Tries: Domenic Smit (3), Dandre Delport, Duren Hoffman, Gurshwin Wehr, Michael Benadie, HP van Schoor. Conversions: Jaywinn Juries (3), Danrich Visagie (3).

Border Bulldogs 8 (3) – Try: Awonke Sondishe. Penalty goal: Layron Milborrow.

EP down Valke with stirring second-half comeback

Spurred on by an enthusiastic home crowd at the Wolfson Stadium in Gqeberha, EP delivered a stirring second-half performance to defeat visiting Valke 31-27 on Saturday afternoon.

Outside backs Musa Tshabalala (2), Mosolwa Mafuma and Sergio Stalmeester (one each) scored four tries for the Valke in a dominant opening spell, while pivot Keegan Fortune kicked two conversions and a penalty goal to hand his side a comfortabe 27-10 lead at the break.

However, EP were another beast altogether after the interval as they not only wiped out the deficit by matching the Valke’s four tries, but also managed to keep their opponents scoreless in a stirring second-half comeback which had the locals wild with excitement.

Playmaker Darryle Kameel was on target with all four conversions and a penalty goal, and his kicking boot proved to be the difference in the end of an exciting encounter.


Eastern Province 31 (10) – Tries: Lubabalo Mtyanda, Athenkosi Manentsa, Davian Swanepoel, Gerrit Huisamen. Conversions: Darryle Kameel (4). Penalty goal: Kameel.

Valke 27 (27) – Tries: Musa Tshabalala (2), Mosolwa Mafuma, Sergio Stalmeester. Conversions: Keagan Fortune (2). Penalty goal: Fortune.

Toyota Cheetahs outpace Sanlam Boland Kavaliers

In Friday’s early evening clash in Bloemfontein, home side the Toyota Cheetahs – last year’s Currie Cup Premier Division champions – were far too strong for the 2023 Currie Cup First Division winners, the Sanlam Boland Kavaliers, winning by 38-7.

The more experienced Free Staters galloped into a 21-7 halftime advantage and scored six tries to one eventually for an easy win. Hooker Marnus van der Merwe went over twice while experienced former Springbok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar steered four conversions through the poles.

Boland’s only try was scored by loose forward Thurlow Marsh, with flyhalf Darian Hock adding the extras.


Toyota Cheetahs 38 (21) – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Ali Mgijima, Marnus van der Merwe (2), Sbu Nkosi, Sibabalwe Xamlashe. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (4).

Sanlam Boland Kavaliers 7 (7) – Try: Thurlow Marsh. Conversion: Darian Hock.

Airlink Pumas’ firepower too much for Pangela SWD Eagles

In the first of the two Friday games, the Airlink Pumas had too much firepower for the Pangela SWD Eagles as they inflicted a 43-22 loss on the home side at Outeniqua Park in George.

The Eagles struggled to contain the Lowvelders in the first half and were 31-3 down at halftime, however, they battled bravely in the second stanza to score 19 points, but that was not enough to stop the visitors from returning to Mpumalanga with a convincing win – the only away victory of the round.

Hooker Llewellyn Classen bagged two of the six tries for the winners and Clinton Swart was on target with three conversions. Right wing Mpho Ntsane was the pick of the bunch for the Eagles by scoring twice out wide, while inside centre Jade Stoffels landed two conversions.


Phangela SWD Eagles 22 (3) – Tries: Liko Ndiyalwa, Mpho Ntsane (2), Joshua Vermeulen. Conversions: Jade Stoffels (2).

Airlink Pumas 43 (31) – Tries: Llewellyn Classen (2), Sampie Swiegers, Andre Fouche, Tino Swanepoel, Etienne Janeke, Giovan Snyman. Conversions: Clinton Swart (3), Brandon Thomson.

Rampant Suzuki Griquas race away from Leopards

Suzuki Griquas overpowered the Leopards 88-0 in their Thursday afternoon clash in Kimberley, which was also the first match of the inaugural SA Cup.

The Peacock Blues scored 14 unanswered tries and led 45-0 at the interval, with right wing Marcqiewn Titus the pick with four tries.

Former Blitzbok Sako Makata, playing on the left wing, and Connor Mahoney (replacement fullback) bagged two tries each, while flyhalf George Whitehead, playing in his 100th match for the men from the Northern Cape, contributed 17 points via his try and six conversions.


Suzuki Griquas (45) 88: Try scorers: Janco Uys, Stephan Smit, Sako Makata (2), Tertius Kruger, Sango Xamlashe, Marcqiewn Titus (4), Thomas Bursey, Connor Mahoney (2), George Whitehead. Conversions: Whitehead (6), Lubabalo Dobela (3).

Leopards 0

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

Image supplied by the Toyota Cheetahs