The Free State Cheetahs extended their lead at the top of the log, while there were big wins for Griquas, the Pumas and the Sharks in the ninth round of the Currie Cup.
The Free Staters fired late in Bloemfontein on Saturday to claim a bonus-point 26-21 win against Western Province, and are now two points clear of the second-placed Pumas, the defending champions, in the standings.
The title-holders got the job done when hosting basement dwellers, the Griffons, in Nelspruit, securing a full house of five log points with a resounding 45-25 win. They remain in the race for top spot, and are six points clear of the third-placed Sharks.
The Durbanites recorded an impressive six-try 41-27 victory against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld – a result that has strengthened their bid for a semi-final place.
On Friday, Griquas claimed an important win against the Lions to finish the round in fourth place. Last season’s losing finalists, the men from Kimberley still have some work to do if they’re going to catch the Sharks, who are five log points ahead at this stage.
Six points separate the fourth- and seventh-placed teams and WP and the Lions could both finish the next round in the top four, providing that both teams win and that other results go their way.
Looking ahead to round 10, the Griffons face Province on Friday in Welkom (3pm), before the Pumas host the Sharks at Mbombela Stadium (5:05pm). In the remaining fixtures of the weekend, Griquas entertain the Bulls on Saturday (1pm), with the Cheetahs and the Lions set to lock horns at Free State Stadium (5:05pm).