With five out of the six teams still playing for a place in the play-offs, it is everything or nothing for teams this coming weekend.
The two home semi-finals have been decided with the Sharks and Western Province winning their games against the Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions respectively this past weekend.
On Friday night the high riding Sharks struggled to pull off a win against a Blue Bulls side that played with determination. It took a penalty kick to seal the match for the Sharks in the final minutes of the game. With the win the Sharks made sure that they will host one of the semi-finals in Durban and still have a change to ensure a possible home final if they can beat Western Province this weekend.
For the Blue Bulls it will have to win the Cheetahs in their game with a bonus point and prevent the Cheetahs in getting any type of bonus point. This off course will only be the scenario if the Lions will earn a win against the struggling Griquas in their last game of the year. At least the Blue Bulls and the Cheetahs will know exactly what needs to be done by the time they get onto the park at five o’ clock.
For Western Province and the Sharks it will only be a case of who will earn the momentum going into the semi-finals and who secure a possible home final.
With Western Province earning their first bonus point try this past weekend against the Lions at Newlands, they will be having their tails up going to Durban.
Then there is the small factor of the Springboks returning to their provinces this week. The key will be for every coach to use the correct selection policy in bringing their Boks into a well settle side. Last year we saw certain teams only picking their Boks on the bench to keep the continuity of their teams.
It will be interesting to see how the Sharks and Western Province see this in their clash this weekend, when you have to keep in mind the amount of games these Boks have played in an intense Rugby Championship. I am sure that the coaches will also take in consideration the fact that their players just came of a big clash against the All Blacks when they do make their choices for this weekend.
This week should be interesting to see how they play their hand in the last round.
Fixtures for this weekend:
Golden Lions v Griquas 15:00 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 17:05 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Western Province 19:10 Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Durban