Top five in Currie Cup still vying for play off places

Little has changed in this weekend’s Premier Division Currie Cup matches and the five front runners in the Absa Currie Cup all still have everything to play for, albeit for different reasons.

Log leaders Sharks have to get eight points from their last two matches against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday and Griquas at home to ensure that they end top of the log for a home semifinal and possible home final.

They are being chased by the Blue Bulls, who have Griquas – often their Nemesis in Kimberley – away and the Valke at home to gain 10 points and keep their chances alive to end top of the log.

The Lions have to get two points from their last two matches and that is easier said than done. On Saturday they are at home to the Sharks and then they face Western Province at Newlands in what could be a crucial match for both sides.

The Free State Cheetahs will be watching that clash with bated breath.

They are away to the Valke this weekend and at home to the Boland Kavaliers the following weekend.

Ten points from the two matches are a must and then they could still end up square with WP which will mean that points difference will then decide the semifinalist from these two.

The Cheetahs are 42 points behind WP in this respect, but have the Kavaliers at home and the Valke away, while WP have to play the Kavaliers in what is always a difficult away game and the Lions in their final outing.

This past weekend’s Premier Division matches saw rather average fare in all four matches. Western Province did not look like Currie Cup contenders in stumbling to a 30-18 win over Griquas at Newlands.

The Blue Bulls were impressive in the first half and were well contained by the Cheetahs in the second in Bloemfontein where the home side again couldn’t score tries. Only the Kavaliers (26) have scored less tries than the Free State side’s 30 to date.

The Blue Bulls won 23-5 and didn’t score a single point after leading 23-0 at the break. The Sharks were poor against a resolute and negative Valke side who deserved better in going down 44-19.

Seven tries to three was, however, good enough to keep the Natalians on track in what was a poor match in the first half and barely better than average after the break.

The Lions, albeit it on a very wet field, again struggled in Wellington but got that all-important bonus points after the hooter against a side that again showed the guts that have derailed many big name teams before Saturday. The Lions won 31-10.

** The log points and the remaining to matches for each of the sides over the next two weekends are:

Sharks: 47; Lions (away), Griquas (home)
Blue Bulls: 44; Griquas (away), Valke (home)
Lions: 41; Sharks (home), Western Province (away)
Western Province: 32; Kavaliers (away), Lions (home)
Cheetahs: 32; Valke (away), Kavaliers (home)
Griquas: 19; Blue Bulls (home), Sharks (away)
Kavaliers: 13; WP (home), Cheetahs (away)
Valke: 13; Cheetahs (home), Blue Bulls (away)

The Leopards have secured top spot on the Currie Cup’s First Division log before next month’s promotion/relegation matches.

The top two sides on the First Division log will play promotion/relegation matches over two legs against the bottom two teams in the Premier Division on October 18 and 24 for the right to participate in next year’s Premier Division.

The Griffons and the SWD Eagles will fighting it out for second place next weekend.

They are tied at 28 log points each, but the Eagles are worse off by 30 on points differential and therefore cannot afford a draw.

The team in first position on the First Division log will play the team in eighth position on the log, whilst the second-placed First Division team will play against the team ending seventh in the Premier Division -all on a home and away basis. The First Division semifinals and final

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