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Last throw of the dice in First Division

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    Posted: 03-Oct-2018 at 11:22am

The pool stages of the Currie Cup First Division will reach an exhilarating conclusion this weekend, with the semi-final venues and the last team to book their place in the top four set to be determined.

 

With six teams still mathematically in the semi-final race, and the top three teams all in contention to finish at the top of the log, a number of permutations could come into play in the competition, sponsored by DirectAxis Financial Services and Nashua.

 

With the second-placed Leopards – who trail log leaders, the SWD Eagles, by a point – taking on the third placed Hino Valke in their final pool match on Friday, the men from George will in all likelihood secure one of the home semi-finals.

 

The Leopards and Hino Valke will kick off the weekend’s action in Potchefstroom, where neither team is expected to give an inch. A victory for the hosts will guarantee them a home semi-final, while the Hino Valke need to win the match while denying the opposition a bonus point, or they have to register a bonus-point win to secure a semi-final in Kempton Park.

 

Interestingly, the Hino Valke have been the best attacking side this season with 264 points in five matches – 98 points more than the Leopards – and they will look to use this aspect of their game to put them on the front foot. They have, however, conceded 44 more points than the hosts.

 

The action continues in East London on Friday night where the Border Bulldogs host defending champions, the Down Touch Griffons, in a vital match for both sides. A victory for the Welkom outfit will see them progress to the semi-final, but the Border Bulldogs could also still be in with a chance if they win the match with a bonus point.

 

Both sides have won two of their five matches so far this season, but the Down Touch Griffons will count on their superior attack and defence to bump them into the top four.

 

Eastern Province will host the SWD Eagles in the final pool match at Despatch Rugby Club on Saturday where the visitors will be the overwhelming favourites given their impressive form this season in which they suffered only one defeat.

 

With Eastern Province entering the match with nothing to lose after failing to register a victory this season, however, SWD will be wary of writing them off.

 

That said, Eastern Province will have to deliver their best performance of the season to create an upset, and their defence, in particular, will have to be watertight, as their struggle in that department has been a big contributing factor to their poor season.      

 

Currie Cup First Division Round 7 fixtures:

 

Friday, 5 October

 

Leopards v Hino Valke

Venue: Fanie du Toit Sports Ground

Kick-off: 17h00

Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni

Assistant RefereesEduan Nel and local appointment

 

Border Bulldogs v Down Touch Griffons

Venue: BCM Stadium, East London

Kick-off: 19h00

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Assistant Referees: Local appointments

 

Saturday, 6 October

 

Eastern Province v SWD Eagles

Venue: Despatch Rugby Club, Port Elizabeth

Kick-off: 15h00

Referee: AJ Jacobs

Assistant Referees: Local appointments

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