With two round of pool matches remaining in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, the top teams in the North and South Sections will be looking to consolidate their positions this weekend, while the teams in mid-table will aim for a final push to force their way into semi-final contention.
Top teams in the South descend on KwaZakhele
The South Section in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge will be highlighted by Sunday’s Rugby Festival in Port Elizabeth. The Wolfson Stadium in KwaZakhele township will host four of the top five teams on the log.
The match between the Toyota Free State Cheetahs XV and DHL Western Province should be of the highest quality, but a defeat could be detrimental to the men from Bloemfontein’s chances to make the semi-finals.
The Free Staters are currently ahead of Boland on the log because of their superior points’ difference, but the men from the Winelands are expected to have the better of Zimbabwe Academy when they clash in Wellington on Saturday, and should keep up the pressure on the two top sides.
Friday night’s clash in George is between SWD and Border, but neither can still qualify for the playoffs and only pride will be at stake at Outeniqua Park.
And in the final match on Sunday, the Cell C Sharks XV will have a tough outing against the Multisure EP Elephants at Wolfson Stadium, where the Durbanites will be looking to keep their semi-final chances alive.
Current standings – South Section:
1. DHL Western Province - 24
2. Toyota Free State XV - 20
3. Boland - 20
4. Cell C Sharks XV - 16
5. Multisure EP Elephants - 10
6. SWD - 7
7. Border - 5
8. Zimbabwe Academy - 2
Fixtures – South Section:
Friday 31 May:
SWD Eagles v Border Bulldogs
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Referee: Vusi Msibi
Saturday 2 June:
Boland Cavaliers v Zimbabwe Academy
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Sunday 3 June (Rugby Festival, Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth):
Toyota Free State Cheetahs XV v DHL Western Province
Referee: Stuart Berry
TMO: Christie du Preez
Multisure EP Elephants v Cell C Sharks XV
Referee: Paul Mente
TMO: Christie du Preez
Who will have the biggest bite in Brakpan?
In the North Section of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, all four matches are scheduled for Saturday, from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga to Leeudoringstad in the North West province.
However, the most significant match will be in Brakpan, between Valke and Vodacom Blue Bulls, where neither side can afford defeat to keep their outside chances of reaching the semi-finals alive.
The Xerox Golden Lions XV will have an opportunity to close the gap on Tafel Lager Griquas, currently in second position on the log, when they host the Down Touch Griffons in Johannesburg, while the men from Kimberley face a tough away challenge in Leeudoringstad against the Leopards.
The defending champions, the iSG Pumas, should have too much fire-power for the winless Windhoek Draught Welwitschias when they clash at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Current standings – North Section:
1. iSG Pumas - 25
2. Tafel Lager Griquas - 21
3. Xerox Golden Lions XV - 17
4. Vodacom Blue Bulls - 15
5. Valke - 13
6. Down Touch Griffons - 11
7. Leopards - 11
8. Windhoek Draught Welwitschias - 0
Fixtures – North Section:
Saturday 1 June:
Xerox Golden Lions XV v Down Touch Griffons
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco Pretorius
iSG Pumas v Windhoek Lager Welwitchias
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Archie Sehlako
Valke v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: Bosman Stadium, Brakpan
Referee: Ben Crouse
Leopards v Tafel Lager Griquas
Venue: Leeudoringstad Rugby Club
Referee: Jaco Kotze
Issued by SA Rugby Communications