The Carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week got off to a gripping start at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday as Boland, the Pumas, SWD, the Blue Bulls, and Golden Lions registered convincing victories on a day where 40 tries were scored in the seven matches.
Boland registered the biggest win of the day as they cruised to a 71-0 victory against the Falcons, while the Pumas defeated KwaZulu-Natal 39-5, SWD beat Eastern Province 33-8, the Blue Bulls outplayed Free State 32-0 and hosts, the Golden Lions, defeated the Griffons 29-12. In total 259 points were scored in an entertaining day’s action.
The Carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week was established in 2013 and is a joint venture between SA Rugby and the SA Rugby Legends Association. The tournament offers players from rural, lower-league and non-traditional rugby schools an opportunity to participate in a high-level provincial competition with the objective of creating a pathway for them to advance through SA’s rugby structures.
The competition will continue on Tuesday, while the players will have Wednesday off to rest and recover before the final day’s play on Thursday.
Boland were in fine form against the Falcons as they set the field alight with their innovative and skilful play. The match was particularly memorable for fullback Elfranco Julies who scored four of his team’s 11 tries. In total eight players crossed the tryline for Boland. So dominant were the Wellington side, they went into the break 38-0 ahead and they continued to look threatening every time they had the ball, which saw them increase their try tally to double figures for a rewarding 71-0 victory.
The Pumas’ ability to take full advantage of their point-scoring chances, meanwhile, steered them to a convincing 39-5 victory against KwaZulu-Natal. Two tries in two minutes early in the first half pushed the Nelspruit side into the lead, but the Durbanites hit back with their first and only try of the match. The Pumas added two penalties before the break to take a 20-5 lead. They built on this with an impressive run of three tries in 11 minutes in the second half, while they put their bodies on the line on defence to secure a 39-5 win.
SWD also dominated their clash against Eastern Province thanks to their hard running on attack and ability to get over the advantage line. This paid off with a 33-8 victory. Eastern Province opened up the scoring with an early try, but SWD found their rhythm and touched down twice before halftime, which handed them a narrow 12-8 lead. They built on this with a strong second-half showing, which saw them cross the tryline three more times for an impressive 33-8 victory.
The Blue Bulls got off to a strong start in their clash against the Free State thanks to their effective attack and ability to convert their chances into points. They scored three tries in the first 13 minutes and added another before halftime to take a 20-0 lead at the break. Two more tries after the break allowed them to increase their score to 32 points, while they maintained their solid defence to deny the Free State from scoring a single point.
Hosts, the Golden Lions, started their clash against the Griffons strongly two tries in the first seven minutes as they ran hard on attack and did well to force their way over the advantage line. But the Griffons hit back with two tries of their own, one of which was converted, which saw them trail 14-12 going into the break. The opening exchanges of the second half were tight as the teams both gave everything on attack but battled to breach the defence. However, the hosts did well to snuff out the gaps in the defence in the last 10 minutes and touched down three times to secure a 29-12 victory.
Defending champions, Western Province, were involved in a tight tussle with the Leopards as both teams ran hard on attack and put their bodies on the line on defence. The Cape side broke through for a converted try in the first half to take a 7-0 lead, while a hot streak in the second half in which they scored three tries in four minutes saw them take a 24-0 lead. With the clock running down the Leopards opted for a penalty goal to get on the scoreboard and had to settle for a 24-3 defeat.
The closest game of the day was between Griquas and Border as both teams tried hard to make their presence felt on attack and supported this with rock-solid defence. Such was the close nature of the game, the only points scored was a second-half penalty goal by Griquas, which earned them a 3-0 victory.
Carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week day-one results (Monday, 3 October):
Blue Bulls 32-0 Free State
SWD 33-8 Eastern Province
Border 0-3 Griquas
Western Province 24-3 Leopards
Pumas 39-5 KZN
Boland 71-0 Falcons
Golden Lions 29-12 Griffons
Carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week day-two fixtures (Tuesday, 4 October):
09h30 – Falcons v Griffons (B Field)
10h00 – Griquas v KZN (A Field)
10h35 – Leopards v Eastern Province (B Field)
11h05 – Free State v Border (A Field)
11h40 – Golden Lions vs Western Province (B Field)
12h10 – Blue Bulls vs Pumas (A Field)
13h15 – Boland vs SWD (A Field)