PREVIEW: First devision race intensifies

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:59
Large boland v windhoek 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT:  The Currie Cup First Division teams will have everything to play for on Saturday as the top-end of the log begins to take shape and those languishing at the bottom could drop out of the running for semi-final berths.

The clash between the Falcons and Boland Cavaliers in Kempton Park should deliver exciting action given the balanced results between the sides and high stakes with the semi-final approaching.

While the hosts will be looking to work their way into the top four on the log, the Boland Cavaliers will be determined to remain in the top three. The Falcons won two of the last three home games against the Wellington side in the competition – the last of which was a convincing 76-12 victory – but the visitors from the Western Cape have won three of their last six match-ups.

The Griffons, meanwhile, will have their sights on strengthening their position at the top of the standings and extending their unbeaten run to five matches when they face the winless Eastern Province in Welkom.

The last time the teams met in the tournament was in 2013, with the Eastern Cape side emerging victorious. But the Griffons have been one of the top sides in the Currie Cup First Division in the last few seasons, and they have been in solid form this year, which they will want to build on this weekend.

The Welwitschias will have their sights set on possibly playing their way into the top four on the log when they host the SWD Eagles in Windhoek. The visitors have won two matches so far and the hosts one, although the Namibians have scored 12 more tries than their counterparts from George. They will, however, have to tighten up their defence to keep alive their hopes of a victory.

And in East London, Border, who come off their first win, will have their work cut out against the Leopards, who are determined to remain in the running for a home semi-final.

The Leopards have been superior on attack and defence, with the side boasting the most tries in the first four rounds, meaning the hosts will have to step up their attack and deliver a solid defensive effort to counter the visitors. The Leopards have won six of the seven matches between the sides dating back to 2013, but Border will draw inspiration from the fact that their last two defeats were by two points.

First Division Round five fixtures:
Saturday, September 23

Falcons v Boland Cavaliers
Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Mpho Matsaung & Hernus Coetzee

Griffons v Eastern Province
Venue: HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Vusi Msibi
Assistant Referees: Eon van Zyl & Maria Mabote

Border Bulldogs v Leopards
Venue: BCM Stadium, East London
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Paul Mente & JP Clements

Welwitschias v SWD Eagles
Venue: Hage Geingob Stadium, Windhoek
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant Referees: Local appointments