Progress and Swallows became the first two teams to book their places in the semi-finals of the lucrative Eastern Cape Super 14 Rugby Competition. Both teams have won five out of five matches. The competition itself have been a revelation and the level of competitiveness in both groups have been immense.
Breakers were simply blown out of the park in front of their supporters at Thobi Kula Stadium by an unforgiving Progress outfit, hammering the home side 68-3 in a flawless display of attacking rugby. The class of the EP champions was evident as they recorded their bonus point within the first half, after racing to a 28-3 lead. Breakers seems content to avoid a whitewash and never really seems to fight for a win, but disappointingly, instead resorted in trying to defend the inevitable. That seems to play in the hands of the visitors, who ran them riot with the home team chasing shadows for most of the afternoon with Progress scoring a mammoth 10 tries.
Progress lead Group A on 23 points. Since the inception of the competition the Uitenhage based team have never won the prestigious tournament with a couple of heart-breaking final appearances. Talking to coach Eric Toring after the match and his feelings how his team can get that monkey off their back he said, “ We came here today to do what we do best and our main aim was to collect a bonus point, it was never in our mind to put up a score of 100 or 50. We respect Breakers as a team just like we respect all our opponents. We have a group of 35 players, and we want to keep all of them in top form and motivated hence we rotated our playing squad and they showed dedication. We are not focused on the semis for now but have our attention firmly on our next opponents which is Young Leopards. It’s obviously a big burden on our shoulders to have never won this competition before. We as a club have come together during pre-season, with the coaches and executive and we have made this Super 14 a priority, it’s a must win for us.” When pressed to choose between Bombers and Swallows in the semi-final, the coach politely answered, “Anyone of them”.
Swallows had to dig deep to beat Kruisfontein 38-36 in a pulsating match in Humansdorp, in the proses cementing their place in the knockouts. The Border champs must be wary of their second half performances as they tend to let teams come back into the game. The same happened again this weekend after leading 28-3 at halftime. At a point Kruisfontein
lead 36-35 before a penalty saved them from their blushes. Swallows are on top on 22 points. Ncerha Leopards continue their good run and have virtually secured their spot in the semi-final after beating their closest contender, Harlequins 28-18 to put them on 18 points.
Mathematically they need 2 points to secure safe passage with Black Eagles to play. Park registered an easy 24-3 win against Eagles while Trying Stars recorded their first win after beating Old Selbornians 18-12. It’s just the opposite in results for another Uitenhage outfit as Gardens recorded a fifth straight loss, this time beaten by Police 32-17. The much-anticipated tie between Swallows and African Bombers is at the NU1 Stadium in Mdantsane tomorrow. Both teams have been red-hot with the winner set to top the Group B and possibly avoid Progress in the semi-finals, but most importantly secure home ground advantage. It’s a match everyone has been waiting for and fireworks is expected. Progress
take on Young Leopards with Breakers travelling to Park. Harlequins host Black Eagles with Old Boys also at home to Kruisfontein. Trying Stars travel To East London to face Police. Ncerha Leopards and Gardens are bye.