Preview: Vodacom Cup, Round Two
Defending champions Western Province host the Sharks XV in an exciting South Section clash at City Park in Cape Town on Saturday, while the North West town of Orkney will also see some Vodacom Cup action this weekend.
The Capetonians will be keen to get their campaign back on track following their draw against the Boland Cavaliers in Ceres last weekend (17-17), but it will be a tough task against the Sharks XV, who crushed the Border Bulldogs in Durban last Friday (72-6), with Fred Zeilinga contributing 32 points to the KwaZulu-Natalians’ tally.
Only six players have scored more points in a Vodacom Cup match. Naas Olivier holds the record of 42 points for GWK Griquas against the Griffons in 2009.
Olivier is followed on the list of top scorers by Richard Jordaan (38 for EP Kings v Welwitschias, 2001), Justin Peach (36 for the Boland Cavaliers v SWD Eagles, 2006), Conrad Barnard (36 for Toyota Free State XV v Valke, 2004), Gaffie du Toit (35 for Griquas v EP Kings, 1998), Eric Herbert (33 for Griffons v Pumas, 2001) and Zeilinga.
The City Park ground in Crawford, Cape Town is the same venue where Western Province beat the Goldens Lions 58-34 in their Vodacom Cup quarter-final last year. They also beat the EP Kings at this venue in 2012.
In the North Section, the pick of the matches is probably the Blue Bulls against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld B in Pretoria on Saturday.
Both sides kicked off their 2013 campaigns with impressive victories last weekend – the Blue Bulls were too good for Griquas in Kimberley (40-32) and the Pumas crushed the Valke in Nelspruit (62-0).
Four-time champions Griquas face their neighbours, the Griffons, in Welkom.
An away-match at the North West Stadium is never easy, and this weekend the Northern Free Staters will play with even more confidence after they scored a half-century of points in their 50-14 dismantling of new boys, the Limpopo Blue Bulls last week.
The second round kicks off on Friday, when the Leopards XV host the Limpopo Blue Bulls at the Oppenheimer Stadium in Umzimuhle outside Orkney, where both teams will be looking for their first win of the season.
In Kempton Park, the Valke take on the Golden Lions at Barnard Stadium. It will be a difficult match for the home team against their neighbours – the Lions were far too good for the Leopards XV last weekend (45-15), after which the SWD Eagles take on the Pampas XV in George.
The other matches on Saturday in the South Section see the Free State XV take on Boland in Bloemfontein and a Southern Kings-derby in Mthatha between the Border Bulldogs and EP Kings.