Western Province came from behind to claim a 24-24 draw with the Boland Cavaliers, while there were also wins for the Sharks XV, Griquas, Blue Bulls, SWD Eagles and Golden Lions XV in the Provincial Rugby Challenge.
Undefeated Western Province almost came unstuck in Worcester, when Boland raced to a 24-7 lead at the break at Esselen Park. Three tries, including a brace by former Junior Springboks Player of the Year, Juarno Augustus, helped the Capetonians to a hard-fought draw.
The defending champions are still clear in the South Section, but Boland and SWD are neck and neck for the second spot on the log and an automatic quarter-final spot.
The Eagles had to travel to East London and survive a strong start by the Border Bulldogs to prevail with a strong finish to win 23-17.
The Free State XV suffered their first defeat of the competition, losing 27-19 to neighbouring Griquas in Bloemfontein, and after the Sharks XV beat the Leopards 52-24 in Piet Retief, the Central Section is becoming more and more competitive as the tournament progresses.
The leaders are only three points ahead of the men from Kimberley, and six ahead of the KwaZulu-Natalians, both of whom have a game in hand.
The North Section leaders, the Pumas, had a bye this weekend, but still hold the aces. The Blue Bulls had a narrow escape in Pretoria, beating the Valke 37-32 to stay second on the log.
The Golden Lions XV were ruthless in their execution of the Welwitschias, winning 89-10 in Johannesburg. They scored 42 points in the first half and continued on their merry way in the second.
Round 8 results:
Sharks XV (52) – Tries: Khutha Mchunu, Aphelele Fassi (2), Lubabalo Mtembu, Andrew du Plessis, Jeremy Ward, Leolin Zass. Conversions: Danrich Visagie (5), Aphelele Fassi (2). Penalty: Danrich Visagie.
Leopards (24) – Tries: Frans Botha, Dane van der Westhuizen, Chriswell September, Bradley Moolman. Conversions: DP de Lange (2).
Free State XV (19) – Tries: Daniel Jordaan, Jasper Wiese, Sango Xamlashe. Conversions: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (2).
Griquas (27) – Tries: Pieter Jansen van Vuuren, Christopher Bosch. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalties: Whitehead (5).
Boland Cavaliers (24) – Tries: Elgar Watts, Sergio Torrens (2), Charles Mayeza. Conversions: Watts (2).
Western Province (24) – Tries: Dan du Plessis, Edwill van der Merwe, Juarno Augustus (2). Conversions: Joshua Stander (2).
Border Bulldogs (17) – Tries: Somila Jho, Siphosenkosi Nofemele. Conversions: Aphiwe Stemele, Xolela Payi. Penalty: Stemele.
SWD Eagles (24) – Tries: Marlou van Niekerk, Johan Steyn, Adri Jacobs. Conversions: Leighton Eksteen (3). Penalty: Eksteen.
Golden Lions XV (89) – Tries: Wayne van der Bank (2), Phumzile Moqondwana (2), Siyabonga Masuku, Selom Gavor, Anthony Volmink, Stephen Bhasera, Eduard Fouche, Darrien-Lane Landsberg, Austin Davids, Morne van den Berg, Penalty try. Conversions: Alwyn Cilliers (6), Masuku (5).
Welwitschias (10) – Try: JC Winkler. Conversion: DJ van Weidts. Penalty: Aurello Plato.
Blue Bulls (37) – Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, Earll Douwrie, Jano Venter, Lian du Toit, Nqoba Mxoli. Conversions: Douwrie (3). Penalties: Douwrie (2).
Valke (32) – Tries: Gert Alberts, Marco Klopper, Robey Leibrandt, Siphiwe Sithole. Conversions: Andre du Plessis (3). Penalties: Du Plessis (2).
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images