Vodacom Cup Preview: Round Seven
Permutations galore typify the final round of the Vodacom Cup before the playoffs start, with only three teams - GWK Griquas and Ford Pumas in the North Section, and DHL Western Province in the South - assured of their quarter-final spots.
The MTN Golden Lions, who have a bye this weekend, will in all likelihood make the playoffs, but where they finish on the North Section log is not in their hands.
On the balance of probability, GWK Griquas (at home against the Valke) and the Vodacom Blue Bulls (away against the Griffons) should win and make the playoffs.
Funnier things have happened in the past, but it’s not been the greatest season for the Northern Free Staters or the East Randers, who won the Vodacom Cup in 2006.
They occupy the bottom two positions on the North Section log and will have to play out of their skins to finish the season on a victorious note.
The big game up north takes place in Witbank on Saturday evening, when the Ford Pumas host the Leopards at the Puma Stadium.
The team from Potchefstroom still has a slim outside chance of making the quarter-finals, but for that to happen, the Griffons have to beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls and they have to beat the Pumas.
If the Blue Bulls win in Welkom, the Leopards have to smash the Pumas by more than 31 points and score four tries. They will then move from 12 to 17 log points to finish level with the MTN Golden Lions, but will have a better points’ difference.
The South Section is far more complicated.
DHL Western Province will finish top of the log, come what may. They host the Toyota Free State XV in Durbanville on Saturday and the team from Bloemfontein will want to finish a disappointing season with a victory against the pace-setters and only unbeaten team this year.
Teams two to five - the Sharks XV (21 log points, points difference of +79), Pampas XV (20, +41), EP Kings (20, +26) and Regent Boland Kavaliers (20, -3) - all play each other in two mouth-watering clashes in Port Elizabeth and Stellenbosch.
One of these teams will drop out of the quarter-finals, which will probably see them throw all caution to the wind as they try to rack up as many points as possible in 80 minutes, while keeping their opponents as close to 0 as they can.
For the SWD Eagles their 2012 campaign will finish in East London against the Border Bulldogs. The Valke, Griffons and Toyota Free State XV will also play their final Vodacom Cup matches of the season.
Tjovitjo moves to Queenstown!
Vodacom Cup schools activations take place in Port Elizabeth, Welkom and Queenstown this weekend. The South African Rugby Union and the Tag Rugby Association will be hosting clinics with local schools, where the kids will be taught the basics of rugby and encouraged to set up local Tag leagues, to further hone the skills they learn.
At the end of the competition one school will win a 15-seater Toyota Quantum minibus in a random draw. The 10 schools from the province that will host the Vodacom Cup final and that participated in the Tag Rugby activation will go into the lucky draw and one lucky headmaster will drive away in the Q.
Vodacom Cup Fixtures – Round Seven
Thursday, April 26 2012
GWK Griquas v Valke
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Friday, April 27 2012
Griffons v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: North West Stadium, Welkom
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
EP Kings v Regent Boland Kavaliers
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Saturday, April 28 2012
Pampas XV v Sharks XV
Venue: Markotter Stadium, Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Border Bulldogs v SWD Eagles
Venue: Queen’s College, Queenstown (Note: the venue has been changed from the Mlungisi Rugby Field)
Referee: Matt Kemp
DHL Western Province v Toyota Free State XV
Venue: Durbanville Rugby Club, Durbanville
Referee: Tiaan Jonker
Ford Pumas v Leopards
Venue: Puma Stadium, Witbank
Referee: Ben Crouse
Bye: MTN Golden Lions