DHL Western Province, the Sharks XV (South Section), GWK Griquas and the Ford Pumas (North) will host the four Vodacom Cup quarterfinals next weekend after all of them finished the league phase of the competition with victories.
The team from Cape Town finished the season unbeaten – the only side no to lose a game thus far in 2012. They concluded their league fixtures with a good 42-32 win over the struggling Toyota Free State XV in Durbanville on Saturday, with flanker Rohan Kitshoff getting a hat-trick, and will host the MTN Goldens in the quarterfinal round.
GWK Griquas, who crushed the Valke by 83-3 in Kimberley on Thursday afternoon to clinch top spot in the North Section. They scored 11 tries and finished the season with 35 tries scored – the most of all the teams. Griquas will host the defending champions, the Pampas XV, in the playoffs.
The Pampas XV snuck into the quarterfinals thanks to a losing bonus point after going down by 30-24 to the Sharks XV in Stellenbosch on Saturday. This meant the Argentineans ended on 21 log points, the same as the Regent Boland Kavaliers, but they advance to the playoffs thanks to a better points’ differential.
Sharks XV wing Sibusiso Sithole, one of the attendees of the second Springbok Planning Camp in Pretoria last weekend, scored twice as the Sharks XV cemented second spot on the log. The Vodacom Blue Bulls will have to travel to Durban to take on the KwaZulu-Natalians.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls, runners up last year, only needed a win against the Griffons in Welkom to advance to the quarterfinals, which they did in some style, scoring eight tries as they beat the team from the Northern Free State by 50-28 at the North West Stadium on Friday.
On Saturday evening, the Ford Pumas made sure they finished second in the North Section thanks to an emphatic 46-10 win over the Leopards in Witbank. Coenie van Wyk scored three tries for the home team, with Jaco Bouwer adding a brace for the impressive Mpumalangans.
The EP Kings booked their spot in the Vodacom Cup quarterfinals when they beat the Regent Boland Kavaliers by 29-24 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday. The Bolanders produced a spirited second-half performance which gave the home side a slight scare, but in the end, the Kings had done enough in the first half to secure the all-important victory.
For the SWD Eagles, a disappointing season ended in their seventh defeat of 2012 when they were beaten by 47-31 by the Border Bulldogs in Queenstown on Saturday. The went down early to a superb individual try by SWD speedster Clinton Wagman, and conceded two more tries in the first half, but after that the team from East London put foot down to record a solid victory over their Kings partners.
The final dates, times and venues for the four quarterfinal matches will be confirmed by the South African Rugby Union in due course.