Road to the play-offs: Mad dash

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 09:53
Large rhyno smith sharks water 800

IN THE CURRIE CUP SPOTLIGHT: The Free State Cheetahs have become the first team to book their place in the Currie Cup play-offs.

The race for the remaining three places will result in a mad dash over the next fortnight.

Five teams - Sharks, Blue Bulls, Griquas, Western Province and Golden Lions - are in the running.

It is possible, even likely, that last year's two finalists - the defending champion Golden Lions and Western Province - could fail to make the play-offs.

Not only are they currently outside the top four, but they also have to play teams above them.

The Cheetahs require just two points to secure the top spot on the standings, which brings with it home ground advantage in the semifinals and possible Final.

The Sharks and Blue Bulls - who have just one remaining league game each - along with Griquas, have their destinies in their own hands.

However, they both play away - the Bulls away to the Boland Cavaliers this coming Friday and the Sharks away to the Lions next week.

Those will, effectively, be two 'quarterfinal' encounters.

We look at each of the nine teams' prospects!

Free State Cheetahs
Current position: First
Best possible finish: First
Worst possible finish: Fourth
Remaining fixtures:
v Pumas, away
v Griquas, home

Sharks
Current position: Second
Best possible finish: First
Worst possible finish: Sixth
Remaining fixture:
v Golden Lions, away

Blue Bulls:
Current position: Third
Best possible finish: First
Worst possible finish: Sixth
Remaining fixture:
v Boland Cavaliers, away

Griquas
Current position: Fourth
Best possible finish: Second
Worst possible finish: Seventh
Remaining fixtures:
v Western Province, home
v Free State Cheetahs, away

Western Province
Current position: Fifth
Best possible finish: Second
Worst possible finish: Seventh
Remaining fixtures:
v Griquas, away
v Boland Cavaliers, home

Golden Lions
Current position: Sixth
Best possible finish: Second
Worst possible finish: Seventh
Remaining fixtures:
v Eastern Province Kings, away
v Sharks, home

Boland
Current position: Seventh
Best possible finish: Fifth
Worst possible finish: Ninth
Remaining fixtures:
v Blue Bulls, home
v Western Province, away

Pumas
Current position: Eighth
Best possible finish: Seventh
Worst possible finish: Ninth
Remaining fixtures:
v Free State Cheetahs, home
v Eastern Province Kings, away

Eastern Province
Current position: Ninth
Best possible finish: Seventh
Worst possible finish: Ninth
Remaining fixtures:
v Golden Lions, home
v Pumas, home

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26