Currie Cup First Division Preview – Round 11

The fifth-placed SWD Eagles will look to keep their Currie Cup First Division play-off hopes alive when they host the team just above them on the log, the Leopards, in a crucial Round 11 tie at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday night.

With four rounds remaining of the new eight-team competition, the unbeaten EP Kings, on 45 points, and second-placed Pumas, with 37 points, are virtually assured of their place in the 5 October semi-finals.

The Griffons (33) and Leopards (32) are third and fourth respectively, with the Eagles the only other team with a realistic chance of breaking into the top four. The men from George, who have 26 points, currently trail the Leopards by six and it’s likely that nothing less than a victory will do if they are to prevent their season from coming to a premature end after the round-robin stages.

In Friday’s other match, the bottom-placed and winless Border Bulldogs have the unenviable task of hosting the unbeaten, log-leading EP Kings at the Buffalo City Municipal Stadium. With the Kings having won the corresponding first-round tie 56-5, the Bulldogs, who have played some attractive rugby at times this season but without reward, will have to dig deep if they are to finally break their duck.

Saturday sees the seventh-placed Valke at home to the Pumas, who will want to come away from Kempton Park’s Barnard Stadium with five log points if they are to keep the pressure on the Kings – no easy task as the Valke, as they have proven time and again over the years, are more than a handful on their home turf.

And in the weekend’s final match, the third-placed Griffons host defending champions the Boland Kavaliers, who are almost certainly out of the running for a semi-final place with just 19 points from their 10 matches – a massive 13 points adrift off the play-off zone with just four matches remaining.

Pumas flyhalf JC Roos has moved to the top of the First Division point-scoring log after Round 10, with 112 points made up of 29 conversions and 18 penalties. Just 10 points behind Roos in second place is Leopards flyhalf André Pretorius, with EP Kings No 10 George Whitehead third on 95.

Leopards wing Allister Kettledas and Valke fullback JW Bell still leads the try-scoring stakes with eight touchdowns, with five players – Danie Dames, Jaco Bouwer, JW Jonker, Luke Watson and Philip de Wet on seven.

This weekend’s fixtures – Round 11:

SWD Eagles vs Leopards
Date: Friday, 7 September
Kickoff: 19:00
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistants: Mlungiseli Mdashe, Cobus Wessels
Last meeting: 21 July in Potchefstroom (First round): Leopards won 68-35

Border Bulldogs vs EP Kings
Date: Friday, 7 September
Kickoff: 19:10
Venue: Buffalo City Municipal Stadium, East London
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistants: Tiaan Jonker, Christie du Preez
Television match official: JC Fortuin
Last meeting: 20 July in Port Elizabeth (First round): EP won 56-5

Valke vs Pumas
Date: Saturday, 8 September
Kickoff: 15:00
Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistants: Stephan Geldenhuys, Pieter de Villiers
Last meeting: 21 July in Nelspruit (First round): Pumas won 36-35

Griffons vs Boland Kavaliers
Date: Saturday, 8 September
Kickoff: 15:00
Venue: North West Stadium, Welkom
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistants: Pieter Janse van Vuuren, Jaco Kotze
Last meeting: 20 July in Worcester (First round): Griffons won 23-20

Round 10 results:
Border Bulldogs 33-53 Griffons
EP Kings 45-24 Valke
Leopards 39-34 Boland Kavaliers
Pumas 70-27 SWD Eagles

Round 9 results:
Boland Kavaliers 33-36 Pumas
SWD Eagles 7-29 EP Kings
Valke 38-36 Border Bulldogs
Leopards 32-38

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