Currie Cup First Division Preview – Semi-finals

The race for Currie Cup First Division honours reaches the do-or-die stage on Friday when the four best teams in this year’s expanded eight-team competition meet in the semi-finals, both of which will be televised live.


The stakes couldn’t be higher, as this year’s finalists will not only have a chance of being crowned First Division champions but also earn the right to play in a promotion-relegation match against the bottom team in the Premier Division.


In the first semi-final, the Pumas, who finished second on the final log behind the EP Kings, whom they drew against home and away, host the Griffons in Nelspruit in a repeat of last week’s round-robin match at the same venue.


The Griffons came away from Mbombela Stadium with a morale-boosting 39-29 win last Friday to take them to third on the log and so ensure the men from Welkom would return to the Lowveld for a shot at playing in next Saturday’s final.


In the second semi-final, the unbeaten EP Kings host the fourth-placed Leopards in Port Elizabeth, having beaten them 23-20 in Potchefstroom last week and 20-12 in the first-round match played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in August.


Leopards flyhalf André Pretorius finished top of the First Division point-scoring log after the round-robin stages, with 154 points made up of 44 conversions, 20 penalties and two drop goals.


Behind Pretorius in second place on 147 is Pumas flyhalf JC Roos, with SWD Eagles fullback third on 133. Leopards wing Allister Kettledas finished top of the try-scoring table after the round-robin stages, with 13 touchdowns.


Behind him in second place was EP Kings eighthman Luke Watson with 12, with Pumas centre JW Jonker third on 10.


This weekend’s fixtures –


Semi-finals:


Pumas vs Griffons
Date: Friday, 5 October
Kickoff: 16:30
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistants: Joey Salmans, Stefan Breytenbach
Television Match Official: Johan Greeff
Last meeting: Last Friday (28 Sept) in Nelspruit (Second round):
Griffons won 39-29


EP Kings vs Leopards
Date: Friday, 5 October
Kickoff: 19:10
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Sindile Mayende
Assistants: Quinton Immelman, Christie du Preez
Television Match Official: Johann Meuwesen
Last meeting: Last Friday (28 Sept) in Potchefstroom (Second round):
Kings won 23-20


Round 14 results:


Leopards 20-23 EP Kings
SWD Eagles 45-11 Valke
Pumas 29-39 Griffons
Boland Kavaliers 43-24 Border Bulldogs


Round 13 results:


Border Bulldogs 40-43 Leopards
EP Kings 26-26 Pumas
Griffons 50-49 SWD Eagles
Valke 52-52 Boland Kavaliers (world record for a draw in first-class rugby)


Round 12 results:


Boland Kavaliers 38-42 SWD Eagles
Pumas 41-10 Border Bulldogs
Leopards 57-22 Valke
EP Kings 60-19 Griffons


Round 11 results:


Border Bulldogs 19-35 Eastern Province Kings
SWD Eagles 64-34 Leopards
Valke 22-29 Pumas
Griffons 54-37 Boland Kavaliers


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 Griffons


Round 8 results:


Pumas 38-27 Leopards
EP Kings 57-19 Boland Kavaliers
Border Bulldogs 27-33 SWD Eagles
Griffons 36-39 Valke


Round 7 results:


Griffons 34-67 Pumas
Border Bulldogs 32-39 Boland
Kavaliers Valke 22-47 SWD Eagles
EP Kings 20-12 Leopards


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