Currie Cup

Currie Cup Premier Division Preview – Final Round



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The final round of the Currie Cup Premier Division is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing in years, with the spectre of possible relegation hanging over the same four teams who are still in the running for the two remaining semi-final places.

In an unprecedented scenario, even Western Province, currently in third, could find themselves last on the six-team log by the end of the weekend, should they lose at home to the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday and the results of the other two matches conspire against them.

In contrast, the Sharks, on 30 points, and the second-placed Golden Lions, on 28, are guaranteed of hosting home semi-finals in Durban and Johannesburg next weekend, but who their opponents will be is impossible to predict – as is the identity of the wooden-spoonists, who will have to fight for their Premier Division lives against the Eastern Province Kings in a promotion-relegation battle.

Only two points separate WP (20) and the bottom-placed Blue Bulls (18) heading into the final round. And such is the range of permutations that not even a win for the Blue Bulls, or the fifth-placed Cheetahs for that matter, will guarantee that they don’t finish last.

The Sharks will want to seal top spot on the log – and a possible home final, should they get that far – when John Plumtree’s men host Griquas in Durban on Friday night. For the visitors, tied on 20 points with WP but with a poorer points differential, victory will tie up one of the remaining semi-final slots, leaving WP, the Cheetahs and Blue Bulls to fight it out for the other on Saturday.

A win for Griquas, coupled with a victory for WP against the Cheetahs in Saturday’s first game, in Cape Town, will confirm the four semi-finalists but leave the final match, between the defending champion Lions and Blue Bulls in Johannesburg, as a possible battle to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.

But the above is but one of a number of scenarios, with a Cheetahs or Blue Bulls victory – or both! – leading to a completely different outcome. And if this season’s matches to date are anything to go by, nothing is certain and no team is safe.

Blue Bulls flyhalf Louis Fouche tops the Premier Division point-scoring log after Round 9, with 135 points made up of 12 conversions, 35 penalties and 2 drop goals. Behind Fouche in tied second place on 110 is Griquas flyhalf Francois Brummer, with Sharks centre Meyer Bosman third on 106.

Cheetahs wing Raymond Rhule tops the try-scoring table after Round 9 with eight touchdowns, with Sharks wing Odwa Ndungane and Griquas wing Rocco Jansen tied for second place, with seven tries apiece.

Sharks 9 6 3 0 250 230 27 18 2 4 30
Lions 9 6 3 0 256 229 24 23 0 4 28
WP 9 4 5 0 236 211 23 17 2 2 20
Griquas 9 4 5 0 247 271 28 30 1 3 20
Cheetahs 9 3 6 0 253 269 24 28 4 2 18
Blue Bulls 9 4 5 0 230 262 19 29 1 1 18

This weekend’s fixtures – Round 10:

Sharks vs Griquas
Date: Friday, 12 October
Kickoff: 19:10
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistants: Ben Crouse, Reuben Rossouw
Television Match Official: Shaun Veldsman
Last meeting: 8 September in Kimberley (First round): Griquas won 22-15

Western Province vs Free State Cheetahs
Date: Saturday, 13 October
Kickoff: 17:05
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistants: Marius Jonker, Linston Manuels
Television Match Official: Deon van Blommenstein
Last meeting: 8 September in Bloemfontein (First round): WP won 29-22

Golden Lions vs Blue Bulls
Date: Saturday, 13 October
Kickoff: 19:10
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistants: Lourens van der Merwe, Stefan Breytenbach
Television Match Official: Johan Greeff
Last meeting: 8 September in Pretoria (First round): Lions won 32-23

Round 9 results:
Blue Bulls 26-13 Western Province
Griquas 37-21 Golden Lions
Free State Cheetahs 30-37 Sharks

Round 8 results:
Sharks 13-12 Blue Bulls
Free State Cheetahs 35-20 Griquas
Western Province 9-22 Golden Lions

Round 7 results:
Western Province 45-21 Griquas
Blue Bulls 34-30 Free State Cheetahs
Golden Lions 28-22 Sharks

Round 6 results:
Sharks 43-27 Western Province
Free State Cheetahs 23-38 Golden Lions
Griquas 49-34 Blue Bulls

Round 5 results:
Free State Cheetahs 22-29 Western Province
Blue Bulls 23-32 Golden Lions
Griquas 22-15 Sharks

Round 4 results:
Golden Lions 32-42 Griquas
Sharks 34-32 Free State Cheetahs
Western Province 42-6 Blue Bulls

Round 3 results:
Blue Bulls 42-31 Sharks
Golden Lions 26-23 Western Province
Griquas 16-29 Free State Cheetahs

Round 2 results:
Free State Cheetahs 32-18 Blue Bulls
Sharks 30-14 Golden Lions
Griquas 20-25 Western Province

Round 1 results:
Blue Bulls 35-20 Griquas
Golden Lions 43-20 Free State Cheetahs
Western Province 23-25 Sharks

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