Battle For Currie Cup Premier Division Semi-final Spots Reaches Key Stage


The battle for Currie Cup Premier Division semi-final spots reaches a key stage this weekend, and by the end of the 12th round, the playoff picture will be a lot clearer, while the First Division and Mzansi Challenge continues with matches in Kempton Park, East London and Windhoek.

The Toyota Cheetahs, Cell C Sharks and the Airlink Pumas are currently jousting for first position in the Premier Division standings. DHL Western Province, Windhoek Draught Griquas and the Vodacom Bulls are still in the running for the playoffs, while the Fidelity ADT Lions have a slim chance of making the top-four cut.

The Cell C Sharks will be targeting a bonus-point win they travel to Welkom on Friday. The KwaZulu-Natalians have won their last five matches, and could shoot to the top of the log if other results go their way this weekend. By contrast, the NovaVit Griffons haven’t won a game since upsetting the Vodacom Bulls in the fourth round.

DHL WP beat the Northern Free Staters and the Airlink Pumas recently, and will go into their next fixture against the Fidelity ADT Lions on Friday with confidence and momentum. Nevertheless, they are under pressure to maintain their winning streak.

Currently in fourth position, the Capetonians may be overtaken if they lose to the team from Johannesburg, and if Windhoek Draught Griquas and the Vodacom Bulls win their respective matches.

The Toyota Cheetahs have lost their last two matches, and will be desperate to bounce back against their neighbours from Kimberley on Saturday. Depending on the result in Welkom, the Free Staters may need to win big in Bloemfontein in order to retain their position at the top of the standings.

Like the Toyota Cheetahs, the Airlink Pumas have suffered a slump in form over the past two weeks, with defeats to the Cell Sharks and DHL WP. Currently in third place, they could slip further down the log if they don’t see off the Vodacom Bulls in Nelspruit this Saturday.

The men from Pretoria have transformed since welcoming back a host of star players from Vodacom United Rugby Championship duty. After claiming the scalps of Windhoek Draught Griquas and the Fidelity ADT Lions, Jake White’s charges will be targeting a third-successive victory this Saturday.

Wins for DHL WP and the Vodacom Bulls this weekend could spell trouble for the Airlink Pumas. They may slip down to fourth in the standings, and may well be overtaken by the Vodacom Bulls in the final two rounds of the league phase.

Match information:

NovaVit Griffons v Cell C Sharks
Venue: Down Touch Investments Stadium, Welkom
Date: Friday, 26 May
Time: 15h00

DHL Western Province v Fidelity ADT Lions
Venue: Athlone Stadium, Cape Town
Date: Friday, 26 May
Time: 17h00

Toyota Cheetahs v Windhoek Draught Griquas
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Date: Saturday, 27 May
Time: 13h30

Airlink Pumas v Vodacom Bulls
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Date: Saturday, 27 May
Time: 15h35