South Africa

Preview: First Division, Semifinals

Thu, 04 Oct 2012 14:35
Pumasjcroos Epkingshannesfranklin Firstdivisiontrophy

The stakes couldn't be higher

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The race for First Division honours reaches the do-or-die stage on Friday when the best four teams in this year's expanded eight-team competition meet in the semifinals, both of which will be televised live.

The stakes couldn't be higher, as this year's finalists will not only have a chance of being crowned First Division champions but also earn the right to play in a promotion-relegation match against the bottom team in the Premier Division.

In the first semifinal, the Pumas, who finished second on the final log behind the Eastern Province Kings, whom they drew against home and away, host the Griffons in Nelspruit in a repeat of last week's round-robin match at the same venue.

The Griffons came away from Mbombela Stadium with a morale-boosting 39-29 win last Friday to take them to third on the log and so ensure the men from Welkom would return to the Lowveld for a shot at playing in next Saturday's final.

In the second semifinal, the unbeaten Eastern Province Kings host the fourth-placed Leopards in Port Elizabeth, having beaten them 23-20 in Potchefstroom last week and 20-12 in the first-round match played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in August.

Leopards flyhalf André Pretorius finished top of the First Division point-scoring log after the round-robin stages, with 154 points made up of 44 conversions, 20 penalties and two drop goals.

Behind Pretorius in second place on 147 is Pumas flyhalf JC Roos, with SWD Eagles fullback third on 133.

Leopards wing Allister Kettledas finished top of the try-scoring table after the round-robin stages, with 13 touchdowns.

Behind him in second place was Eastern Province Kings eighthman Luke Watson with 12, with Pumas centre JW Jonker third on 10.

Semifinal fixtures:

Pumas v Griffons

Date: Friday, October 5
Kick-off: 16:30
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistants: Joey Salmans, Stefan Breytenbach
Television Match Official: Johan Greeff
 
Last meeting: Last Friday (28 Sept) in Nelspruit (Second round): Griffons won 39-29

Eastern Province Kings v Leopards
Date: Friday, October 5
Kick-off: 19:10
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Sindile Mayende
Assistants: Quinton Immelman, Christie du Preez
Television Match Official: Johann Meuwesen

Last meeting: Last Friday (28 Sept) in Potchefstroom (Second round): Kings won 23-20

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