Griquas regained Currie Cup Premier Division status with a resounding 57-12 win over SWD in the final round of qualifiers in George on Saturday.
Knowing that nothing less than a bonus-point win would suffice, Griquas blew SWD off the park in the first 30 minutes. The hosts were starved of possession and territory and their defensive structures were in disarray.
By the half hour mark, Griquas had secured their four-try bonus point with scores from hooker Ryno Barnes, No 8 Carel Greeff, centre Jonathan Francke and wing Ederies Arendse. Greeff grabbed a second on the stroke of half-time, giving his side what proved to be an unassailable 31-0 lead.
The second half was a rather subdued affair compared to the first, but Griquas still managed to put a further four tries past their hosts through prop Maks van Dyk, flank Marnus Schoeman, Barnes and scrumhalf Tian Meyer.
SWD’s handling improved in the final quarter and they snuck in two late consolation tries through Christo du Plessis and Hentzwil Pedro.
Elsewhere, the Griffons staged a second-half comeback to defeat the Valke 29-20 in Welkom. The Valke led 10-7 at the break thanks to a converted try and a penalty from their impressive flyhalf Juan Kotze. Fullback Kyle Fredericks extended that lead with a five-pointer early in the second half, but three touchdowns by the Griffons fired them past Valke on the scoreboard and ultimately won them the match.
In Potchefstroom, the Leopards scored 15 tries on their way to a crushing 103-15 victory against Border. Both Leopards wings, Sylvian Mahuza and Luther Obi, scored four tries apiece, while flyhalf André Pretorius slotted 14 out of his 15 conversion attemps. However, the result meant little in the greater scheme of things as Griquas had already clinched the eighth and final place in the Premier Division by the time the Leopards' match ended.
Griquas (57) – Tries: Ryno Barnes (2), Carel Greeff (2), Jonathan Francke, Ederies Arendse, Maks van Dyk, Marnus Schoeman, Tian Meyer. Conversions: Francois Brummer (2), Nico Scheepers (4).
SWD (12) – Tries: Christo du Plessis, Hentzwill Pedro. Conversion: Elric van Vuuren.
Griffons (29) – Tries: Armandt Koster, Erik le Roux, Japie Nel (2). Conversions: Louis Strydom (2), Pieter-Steyn de Wet. Penalty: Strydom.
Valke (20) – Tries: Juan Kotze, Kyle Fredericks. Conversions: Kotze (2). Penalties: Kotze (2).
Leopards (103) – Sylvian Mahuza (4), Luther Obi (4), George Tossel (2), Dillion Smit, Francois Robertse, Kobus de Kock, Hoffman Maritz, Morné Hanekom. Conversions: André Pretorius (14).
Border (15) – Tries: Michael Makase, Bangi Kobese. Conversion: Masixole Banda. Penalty: Banda.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images