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Comeback kings fly into Gold Cup final

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    Posted: 03-Oct-2023 at 2:11pm

The tenacious Heineken College Rovers and Naka Bulle fought back from half-time deficits to win their respective semi-finals and qualify for the African Rainbow Community Gold Cup final, which will be staged in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon.

 

Northam Rhinos travelled to Durban for their semi-final with a fearsome attacking reputation, having scored 50 or more points in each of their previous fixtures. The Limpopo-based club put two early tries past College Rovers, and with a 14-0 lead at half-time, they looked to be on course for yet another emphatic victory.

 

Rovers rallied after the break, scoring three tries through scrumhalf Sino Nyoka, centre Alwayno Visagie and reserve hooker Byron van der Nest. Former Sharks flyhalf Inny Radebe nailed three conversions to clinch a remarkable 21-19 victory for the hosts.

 

The second semi-final in Pretoria was no less dramatic. Crusaders from SWD led 21-14 at half-time, before the Naka Bulle shifted through gears to score 38 points and six tries in the second stanza.

 

Scrumhalf Etienne Storm scored a brace for the hosts, while flyhalf Hansie Graaff slotted six conversions. Naka Bulle finished with eight tries, with the game producing 13 overall.

 

The Pretoria-based side will host the Rovers in the African Rainbow Community Gold Cup final at Naka Bulle Rugby Club on Saturday. SuperSport will broadcast the match live.

 

The last time these two sides met, was at the same venue at an Easter Festival in 2021, when Naka Bulle won. In fact, the Pretoria club’s home ground is somewhat of a fortress as they’ve lost only twice in their last 50 matches in Rietfontein.

 

However, Rovers will travel to Pretoria with confidence after already knocking over two Carlton Cup clubs in Centurion and Northam Rhinos. If they can achieve the hat-trick against Naka Bulle, it will cap off a perfect Gold Cup campaign.

 

Semi-final results:

Heineken College Rovers 21 Northam Rhinos 19

Naka Bulle 52 Crusaders 33

 

African Rainbow Community Gold Cup final

Naka Bulle vs Heineken College Rovers

Venue: Naka Bulle Rugby Club, Pretoria

Date: Saturday, 7 October

Time: 16h00

Broadcast: Live on SuperSport

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