South Africa

The heat is on in the North

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:01
Pumas-v-bulls-vodacom-cup Khaya-majola-sharks-xv Blue-bulls-vodacom-cup
Front-runners in the South Section face tricky away fixtures
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The North Section of the Vodacom Cup - resuming after the Easter break - will have a proper shake-up this weekend when the top six teams clash in Kimberley, Pretoria and Welkom.

Northern log leaders, the Pumas (one of only two unbeaten teams left in the competition along with the Sharks XV) have the tough task of travelling to Kimberley where they will face four-time champions, Griquas, on Friday.

Griquas are currently in third place on the log and will not want to lose another home game as the race to the quarterfinals heats up.

The team from the Northern Cape will go into the match on a high after crushing the Limpopo Blue Bulls by 124-5 two weekends ago.

It was a new Vodacom Cup record for the biggest victory (119 points) and most points by a team in a match (124).

A week earlier, the Leopards XV's win by 113-3 raised the previous record mark, set in 2001 by the EP Kings when they beat the Welwitschias by 110-17.

Griquas' 20 tries also bettered the 17 scored by the Leopards XV and EP's 16 in 2001. Marnus Schoemand and Rocco Jansen, who scored five each in the romp against Limpopo, equalled the record jointly held by Stephen Brink (Sharks XV v Griffons in 1998) and Jannie van der Walt (Golden Lions v Welwitschias in 2001).

The second crunch match in the North Section will take place in Welkom on Friday when the Golden Lions travel 250km south to the North West Stadium to take on the Griffons. These two teams are fifth (Lions) and sixth (Griffons) on the log and defeat will be a serious blow to either side's progress to the quarterfinals.

And on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld B in Pretoria, the Blue Bulls host the Leopards XV. They currently occupy positions two (Bulls) and four (Leopards) on the Northern log and will want to remain amongst the top four, with the group stages passing the halfway mark this weekend.

The two front-runners in the South Section face tricky away fixtures this weekend.

The table-topping Sharks XV travel to George, where the SWD Eagles - sixth on the log after one win from their first three matches - await them in what promises to be a tough encounter on Friday.

The Pampas from Argentina, Vodacom Cup champions in 2011, travel to Wellington to play the Boland Cavaliers, while Western Province, currently third on the Southern log, will face the Border Bulldogs down the road in Paarl. Both of these matches are on Saturday.

In Bloemfontein, a mid-table South Section clash between the Free State XV and the EP Kings should produce fireworks. Both are on seven league points, with the Free Staters ahead on points' difference.

The Limpopo Blue Bulls, on the receiving end of some big defeats lately, will be aiming for their first win of the season when they host the Falcons in Tzaneen on Saturday.

Round Four fixtures:

Friday, April 5

Griquas v Pumas
Kick-off: 15.00
Venue: Park, Kimberley

Griffons v Golden Lions
Kick-off: 18.30
Venue: North West Stadium, Welkom

SWD Eagles v The Sharks XV
Kick-off: 19.00
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Saturday, April 6

Free State XV v EP Kings
Kick-off: 14.45
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Blue Bulls v Leopards XV
Kick-off: 15.00
Venue: Loftus Versfeld B, Pretoria

Limpopo Blue Bulls v Falcons
Kick-off: 15.00
Venue: Hans Merensky HS, Tzaneen

Western Province v Border
Kick-off: 15.30
Venue: Paarl RFC, Paarl

Boland Cavaliers v Pampas
Kick-off: 16.00
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington

Vodacom Cup standings (under headings played, won, drawn, lost, points for, points against, points difference, tries for, tries against, bonus points and points):

North Section
1 Pumas 3 3 0 0 170 49 121 26 6 3 15
2 Blue Bulls 3 2 0 1 136 102 34 17 15 4 12
3 Griquas 3 2 0 1 182 57 125 29 9 3 11
4 Leopards XV 3 2 0 1 175 64 111 26 8 2 10
5 Golden Lions 3 1 0 2 93 96 -3 15 11 4 8
6 Griffons 3 1 0 2 69 104 -35 11 15 1 5
7 Falcons 3 1 0 2 43 131 -88 4 21 0 4
8 Limpopo Blue Bulls 3 0 0 3 22 287 -265 2 45 0 0
 
South Section
1 Sharks XV 3 3 0 0 130 62 68 17 6 2 14
2 Pampas 3 2 1 0 87 63 24 11 6 1 11
3 Western Province 3 1 1 1 83 59 24 10 7 2 8
4 Free State XV 3 1 0 2 87 69 18 10 8 3 7
5 Eastern Province Kings 3 1 1 1 68 85 -17 7 9 1 7
6 South Western Districts 3 1 0 2 69 65 4 8 8 2 6
7 Boland Cavaliers 3 1 1 1 56 84 -28 7 11 0 6
8 Border Bulldogs 3 0 0 3 54 147 -93 6 21 0 0
 
Top points' scorers:
60 - Fred Zeilinga (Sharks XV - three tries, 15 conversions, five penalties)
50 - Tony Jantjies (Blue Bulls - one try, 12 cons, seven pens)
47 - André Pretorius (Leopards XV - one try, 21 cons)
42 - Tewis de Bruyn (Free State XV - one try, five cons, nine pens)
40 - Francois Brummer (Griquas - one try, 16 cons, one pen)

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