South Africa

Preview: First Division, Round Six

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:55
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Log table has been adjusted for Griquas' promotion
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The First Division will resume on Friday following seven rounds of matches in June and July, which served as the Qualifier for the Currie Cup.
 
It means the Leopards kick off part two with a healthy eight-point lead at the top of the log, on 25 points, with the Griffons leading the chasing pack. 
 
The log table has been adjusted with the removal of match and competition points that have been taken or conceded against the Kimberley side following their promotion to the Currie Cup. 
 
The six First Division teams will play five more pool rounds, with the semifinals and final to be contested on October 4 and 17 respectively.
 
In Friday’s matches the Border Bulldogs host the Falcons at the BCM Stadium in East London and the SWD Eagles meet the Leopards at Outeniqua Park in George.
 
In the only match on Saturday Boland Cavaliers take on Griffons at the Boland Stadium in Wellington. 
 
The First Division teams will be keeping one eye on events in the Currie Cup.
 
Should either or both of the Griquas or Pumas feature among the bottom two teams in the Currie Cup this year, their place will be up for grabs next year.
 
The six ‘franchise’ teams have been entrenched in the Currie Cup and will reappear in 2015 – but the Griquas and Pumas have to finish in the top six if they are to avoid appearing in a Currie Cup Qualifying tournament next year.
 
Meanwhile, in East London the Border Bulldogs will be determined to register a victory against the Falcons to keep alive their semifinal hopes despite occupying fifth position on the log table.
 
The fact that the Falcons suffered defeats in all of their qualifying matches will certainly give Border hope to begin the last few rounds of the competition on a positive note.
 
They will, however, be wary of the Falcons’s main playmaker, fullback Jaun Kotze, who topped the point scorer’s list in the Qualifier with 93 points.  
 
In the Leopards camp coach Robert de Preez has retained the core of the team that steered them to five victories in six matches in the Qualifier for their clash against SWD.
 
With wings Luther Obi and Sylvian Mahuza and veteran Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius, who were among the top five point-scorers in the Qualifier looming large, the Eagles will have to produce a solid defensive effort and remain disciplined to prevent a similar fate to the 23-51 defeat they suffered against the Potchefstroom side in June. 
 
The Griffons, meanwhile, will look to celebrate captain and No.8 Nicky Steyn’s 100th match with a victory against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington.
 
A victory would also allow them to remain within range of log-leaders the Leopards.
 
But they may face a tough test as the Wellington side put up a brave fight in their last clash and suffered a narrow 25-27 defeat, which should boost their confidence, especially with home ground advantage counting in their favour. 
 
First Division fixtures:
 
Border Bulldogs vs Falcons
Date: Friday, August 29
Venue: BCM Stadium, East London
Kick-off: 18.00
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Rodney Boneparte and Fernando Uithaler
 
SWD Eagles vs Leopards
Date: Friday, August 29
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Kick-off: 19.00
Referee: Pro Legoete
Assistant Referees: Christie du Preez and Ruhan Meiring
 
Boland Cavaliers vs Griffons
Date: Saturday, August 30
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 16.00
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni and Linston Manuels
 
First Division standings (under headings played, won, lost, drawn, bonus points and log points):
Leopards               5    5    0    0    5    25
Griffons                  5    3    2    0    4    17
SWD Eagles          5    3    2    0    3    15
Boland Cavaliers    5    2    3    0    2    12
Falcons                 5    2    3    0    2    10
Border Bulldogs     5    0    5    0    1      2
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