The Free State XV beat the Golden Lions XV 29-15 in round five of the Currie Cup qualifiers, while there were also wins for the EP Kings, Sharks XV, Griquas, Griffons, Boland and Pumas.
Free State had only won a single match coming into this encounter, but they were too good for their opponents in Randburg with flyhalf Sias Ebersohn marshalling their attack.
Ebersohn and his opposite number Shaun Reynolds traded early penalties, before two quick tries by wing Maphutha Dolo and Ebersohn pushed the Cheetahs out to a 15-3 lead. The Lions got over the tryline on the half-time hooter to narrow the deficit.
Free State's line was breached again early in the second half when winger Koch Marx scuttled in for a converted effort to draw the Lions level.
However, two tries in the space of five minutes by hooker Joseph Dweba and No 8 Jasper Wiese secured an unexpected victory for the visitors. Ebersohn kicked both conversions, before putting in a superb tactical kicking display in the final quarter to pin the hosts inside their own half.
In one of the most surprising results of the round, the EP Kings stunned the Blue Bulls 19-14. The Bulls outscored the Kings two tries to one, but flyhalf Garrick Mattheus slotted four penalty goals and a conversion to deny the Bulls.
In Durban, the Sharks XV ended Western Province’s three-match winning streak with a hard-fought 24-16 win after trailing 11-10 at the break.
Meanwhile, Griquas made it five from five with a 21-12 victory against the Border Bulldogs, George Whitehead’s 15-point haul guided the Griffons to a 30-14 triumph over the SWD Eagles, the Boland Cavaliers beat the Leopards 43-31 in an 11-try thriller, and hooker Francois van Wyk bagged a hat-trick as the Pumas thumped Namibia's Welwitchias 47-7.
Golden Lions XV (15) – Tries: Koch Marx, Ashlon Davids. Conversion: Shaun Reynolds. Penalty: Reynolds.
Free State XV (29) – Tries: Sias Ebersohn, Maphutha Dolo, Joseph Dweba, Jasper Wiese. Conversions: Ebersohn (3). Penalty: Ebersohn.
EP Kings (19) – Tries: Liam Hendricks. Conversion: Garrick Mattheus. Penalties: Mattheus (4).
Blue Bulls (14) – Tries: Dean Greyling, Joshua Stander. Conversions: Stander (2).
Sharks XV (24) – TBC
Western Province (16) – TBC
Griquas (21) – Tries: Rudi van Rooyen, Jonathan Francke, AJ le Roux. Conversions: Francke, Clinton Swart, Ntabeni Dukisa.
Border Bulldogs (12) – Tries: Wandile Putuma, Masixole Banda. Conversion: Banda.
Griffons (30) – Tries: Selvyn Davids (2), Daniel Pretorius. Conversions: George Whitehead (3). Penalties: Whitehead (3).
SWD Eagles (14) – Tries: Mark Pretorius, Daniel Roberts. Conversions: Hansie Graaff (2).
Leopards (31) – Tries: Johan Deysel (2), Jeandré Rudolph (2), Gene Willemse. Conversions: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (2), Schalk Hugo.
Boland Cavaliers (43) – Tries: Theuns Kotze, Sergio Torrens (2), Ryan Nell, Edwin Sass, Christopher Bosch. Conversions: Kotze (5). Penalty: Kotze.
Pumas (47) – Tries: Francois du Toit (3), Nardus van der Walt (2), Hennie Skorbinski, DJ Terblanche. Conversions: Justin van Staden (5), Marlou van Niekerk.
Welwitchias (7) – Try: Russel van Wyk. Conversion: Justin Nel.
Photo: Charl Devenish/Gallo Images