Play-off race hotting up in Gold Cup
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The race for quarterfinal spots in the 2016 Gold Cup is hotting up with two rounds remaining, following a dramatic third week that saw almost 500 points scored in eight matches and three games decided in the dying minutes.
On an historic weekend for club rugby, which saw Gold Cup matches being played in three different countries for the first time, False Bay became the first South African team to play – and win – a tournament match in Zimbabwe when they overcame a spirited Old Georgians 38-25 in Harare.
And at the same time in Namibia, hosts Wanderers Windhoek showed their class with a 60-29 win over Rhinos, the Limpopo champions.
Falcons champions Siyaya Brakpan took control of Pool C with a nailbiting 36-33 away win over Durban Collegians in Durban, in a match handled by top international referee Craig Joubert.
And in Pacaltsdorp outside George, Evergreens provided the biggest upset of the weekend when they bounced back from a home defeat to Pool B rivals Rustenburg Impala the previous week to beat Pirates 35-31, fullback Leegan Moos finishing off a long-range move with a try on the hooter to break the Gautengers' hearts.
Saturday's penultimate round of pool play sees a number of intriguing match-ups which could well decide the quarter-final line-up as well as vital home-ground advantage in the play-offs.
College Rovers will look to qualify for the last eight when they host Old Selbornians in a Pool A clash in Durban, which will be refereed by well-known Scotland official Mike Adamson. In the group's other match, defending champions Durbanville-Bellville, coming off a bye, will look to record their third straight victory when they travel to Boland Park to take on winless Worcester Villagers.
In Pool B, Rhinos will look to record a maiden Gold Cup win when they host Evergreens, who thanks to their last-gasp win against Pirates are still alive in the tournament. In the group's other match, Rustenburg Impala will book their quarterfinal spot if they can beat Wanderers Windhoek in Rustenburg.
In Pool C, Old Georgians face Durban Collegians in Harare while Brakpan travel to White River, where a victory will take the East Randers one step closer to a home quarter-final.
In Pool D, Bloemfontein Police travel to East London to face Police, with both sides still in with a chance of progressing. And in the weekend's final match, PE Police travel almost 1 000 kilometres to the Northern Cape town of Kathu to face Belaz Sishen, where the hosts will set the cat amongst the pigeons should they surprise their more fancied coastal opponents.
Round Three results:
Old Selbornians 27-12 Worcester Villagers
Welkom Rovers 22-48 College Rovers
Wanderers Windhoek 60-29 Rhinos
Evergreens 35-31 Pirates
Old Georgians 25-38 False Bay
Durban Collegians 33-36 Brakpan
PE Police 20-17 East London Police
Bloemfontein Police 24-36 Pretoria Police
Round Fixtures fixtures:
Saturday, October 1:
College Rovers v Old Selbornians
(KP3, Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 15.00)
Worcester Villagers v Durbanville-Bellville
(Boland Park, Worcester - Kick-off: 15.30)
Rhinos v Evergreens
(Recreation Club, Setaria - Kick-off: 15.30)
Rustenburg Impala v Wanderers Windhoek
(Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg - Kick-off: 15.30)
White River v Brakpan
(White River Rugby Club, Mpumalanga - Kick-off: 15.30)
Old Georgians v Durban Collegians
(Old Georgians Club, Harare - Kick-off: 15.30)
East London Police v Bloemfontein Police
(Police Park, East London - Kick-off: 15.30)
Belaz Sishen v PE Police
(Sivos Stadium, Kathu - Kick-off: 15.30)