The Top 3 teams in the North Section of the Vodacom Cup have all but secured their playoff spots, but the South Section is still wide open with only 2 rounds of pool action remaining.
2 Of the Xerox Golden Lions, Steval Pumas and Vodacom Blue Bulls will host Quarter-Finals this year, with the 2 teams from Gauteng in the inside lane as they have 1 game in hand.
The Steval Pumas finished their pool obligations with a solid 28 / 22 win over the Hino Valke in Nelspruit on Friday evening and the Xerox Golden Lions trounced the Leopards XV by 63 / 10 in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon.
1 Of the Down Touch Griffons, who recorded a good 40 / 28 win over the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls in Welkom on Saturday, Leopards XV and Hino Valke will probably take the remaining place in the playoffs in their section, but mathematically the FNB Welwitschias and Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls can also still sneak in.
DHL Western Province, who beat GWK Griquas by 21 / 14 in a replay of the 2012 final in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon, are now the only unbeaten team left in the South Section.
The Toyota Free State XV and SWD Eagles both recorded good away victories this weekend, over the Border Bulldogs in East London (14 / 10) and the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth (31 / 10) respectively.
The teams from Bloemfontein and George are looking like the likely candidates to progress to the Quarter-Finals, although the Cell C Sharks’ big win over the Boland Cavaliers in Empangeni (52 / 12) means they can’t be written off yet.
Griffons (13) 23 / 21 (16) Valke (Final Score)
The Down Touch Griffons and Valke did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Dirst Division Final at
North West Stadium, Welkom at 15:30 SA Time (13:30 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.
There will be a lot more than prize money and bragging rights at stake for the Down Touch Griffons and Valke in the Absa Currie Cup First Division final in Welkom on Friday as the teams meet in the final for the first time in the competition’s history.
The Down Touch Griffons have won the title only once since the competition’s inception in 2000, and that was against the Leopards in 2008, while the Valke, Vodacom Cup champions in 2006, will make history if they were to emerge victorious as it would mark their maiden First Division title.
The winner will walk away with R1,054m, while the runner up will receive a cheque of R527000 for their efforts this season. The First Division final will be preceded by the Absa Under-19 B Division final between the Valke and Boland and the Absa Under-21 B Division final between the EP Kings and SWD respectively.
In the main game, the teams will be careful to underestimate one another as they will enter the final with a win a piece in their round-robin matches this season. In their first meeting in July, the Down Touch Griffons registered a 29-20 victory against the Valke in Welkom, while the Valke won the second match 36-27 in Kempton Park last month.
There will be no promotion-relegation matches in 2014, but the the winners of this year’s Currie Cup First Division will bag R1,054m for their efforts.
The First Division final will be contested between the Griffons and Falcons in Welkom next Friday evening.
The runners up will receive R527 000.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed that there will be no promotion-relegation matches this year, but should Griquas or the Pumas finish in seventh spot on the Currie Cup Premier Division log, then there will again be a qualifying competition in 2015 between the six First Division teams as well as the seventh-place team in the Premier Division.
Looking at the pivotal position of flyhalf, the Cheetahs were derailed last year, by the long term injury to Johan Goosen, and the sudden loss of confidence by replacement Sias Ebersohn. The knock on effect for the Cheetahs was debilitating, to say the least. A repeat must be prevented.
The Cheetahs started their preparations for the 2013 Super 15, with fitness assessments today. All the injured players, and new signings were present, except Cornal Hendricks, who the Cheetahs have contracted, but SARU maintain he is still contracted to them.
Three players in Naka Drotske’s 2013 Super Rugby wider training group, have been selected to play 7’s rugby with Paul Treu’s Blitzbokke. Robert Ebersohn, Kevin Luiters, and Hansi Graaff will be available for the Dubai, and Port Elizabeth legs of the IRB Sevens Tournament.
Amongst all the frenetic activity on the international scene, the silly season has gone into full swing. So lets see what the player accquisitions are for the Cheetahs, looking ahead to 2013. In addition lets look at some players that are making waves.
The Cheetahs played with fits and starts vs the Griffons. According to Jóhann Thormählen of Volksblad. Riaan Smit was one of the few players that impressed. Tries were scored by Phillip Snyman, Rayno Benjamin, and Jean Stemmet, scored in the first half, and Hercu Liebenberg, and Sias Ebersohn (2) in the second half.
The breakdowns were again a problem, as promising Cheetahs attacks were thwarted, when the ball was pilfered by the Griffons. The question of depth, particularly in the backline was answered, with all of the backline fringe players playing well.
Hopefully the next few weeks will bring clarity as to the composition of the SA Super 15 teams, as injuries to several frontline players already having a profound impact!
First my commiserations to all who suffered losses during the terrible floods in Limpopo, and Mpumalanga! The power of nature, though beautiful to behold, is humbling indeed. I hope that all affected, will soon have their lives returned to normal. Especially guys like Superbul in Hoedspruit.
In this, the penultimate article in the series that looks at contenders for the Cheetahs Super Rugby squad of 2012, I am going to look at the midfield. Things have been a tad quiet on Rugby-Talk. Come on people bring out the handbags!
Must say the Cheetahs seem to have more than useful cover in this position too.
Hallo all rugby addicts! It’s good to see the blogging intensifying, as prep for the 2012 Super 15 has started in earnest at all the franchises. Rassie’s antics has stolen my thunder momentarily, but I’M BACK!
Anyway, back to my series of articles on contenders for the Cheetahs 2012 Super squad. Tall Timber is next. An area where the Cheetahs have not had dominance since David de Villiers’ departure. We have had some good locks, guys like Braam Els, Flippie, Rory Duncan, and Barend Pieterse, but we need some staunch players to really get the powerful Cheetahs scrum to become destroyers!
Auckland 3 / South Africa 6
The third tour match against Auckland at Eden Park was disastrous for many reasons and had in many ways a lasting negative impact on the tour. This match changed the perception the New Zealand public had about the Springboks essentially leaving the kiwis very negative about the touring side. Warwick Roger recalls how -as he walked home after having watched the match as an 11 year old- the realisation dawned on him that the Springboks were not gods at all and how in the ensuing weeks they started kicking each other on the rugby field like the Springboks did against Auckland. An Article in the Star stated on the Monday after the match that: ‘It was a rubbishy, unintelligent game… rugby at its most depressing… exactly the sort of game that makes league fans out of rugby supporters.’
All accounts of this fixture assert to the fact that is was an awful match with both teams being incredibly, humiliatingly bad and more concerned to brawl, kick, punch and shoulder charge than to play rugby.