What ever happened in the past ten weeks will mean nothing as the teams will play for a spot in the final. To say there is an outright favoured to win the Cup, you will be lying as all four teams have the ability to take the game against any of the remaining teams on the day.
To add to the excitement we also have our Springboks back in the country’s premier competition and through this weekend’s games we did see that it made a difference for some teams.
The weekend’s games started off in Johannesburg were the Golden Lions hosted the men from Kimberley.
The game was predicted to have been a one sided affair especially because Griquas couch Pote Human decided to rest his core of players for next weekend’s promotion – relegation match against the Pumas.
Clearly only the Griquas team was the only one that did not read that memo, as they started with an early lead to put the Lions for the utmost time on the back foot.
The Lions was made to play for every single second of the match to ensure they made it through to the semi-finals.
The Lions will face off against Western Province next week at Newlands in the first semi-final.
Golden Lions: Tries: Jacques van Rooyen, Anthony Volmink, Willie Wepener, Willie Britz
Conversions: Manitz Boshoff (3)
Penalties: Boshoff (3)
Griquas: Try: Rocco Jansen
Conversion: Gouws Prinsloo
Penalties: Prinsloo (7)
The Cheetahs were hosting the Blue Bulls in the second game of the weekend in Bloemfontein, which the Bulls had all to do to made it through to the semi-finals by beating the Cheetahs with a bonus point and made sure not to give one away against them.
The Cheetahs started the game with some flair and through the ball around to build an early ten point lead. The Blue Bulls always look unsettled in the way they tried to play the game. I said it before the Springbok game against the All Blacks a week ago that you can not expect to change your game plan from the way you have played the whole season just because the match dictated that you have to score a bonus point try.
The Blue Bulls left about fifteen points on the field because they decided to kick for attacking lineouts rather than to take the easy points and build momentum. It is beyond me why a team and coaching staff will play this way. The Bulls should have build their scoreboard and the tries would have come if they keep the board ticking over to put the pressure on the Cheetahs.
All that they did the whole afternoon was putting themselves on the back foot and play catch-up rugby for the start of the game.
The Cheetahs will face-off against their old rivals the Sharks next weekend in the second semi-final.
Free State Cheetahs: Tries: Robert Ebersohn, Elgar Watts, Adriaan Strauss
Conversions: Watts (2)
Blue Bulls:Try: Marcel van der Merwe
Conversion: Handré Pollard
The final match in Durban was played in almost Cape like weather with the rain belting down. Western Province looked from the start the more settled side and their was no big difference in their Springboks coming into a settled side. On the other side of the field the Sharks Springboks did not look that they really settled in the teams pattern or style of play.
I called it before the game that the Sharks with their Springbok front row will dominate the Western Province scrum and that, I believed would have made the difference between winning and losing this game. At the end it was the team who’s tight five dominated the game who won it but it was the men from Cape Town who proved to had the upper hand.
From the start Western Province set phases was spot on and they just build on that to take the game to the Sharks. With the wet conditions it was always suspected that handling will be a problem but here again Western Province showed their patience in this part of the game to take the game to the Sharks.
At the end of the day the weather did manage to level the playing field and the game was in the balance up to the end but one man made the difference, Duane Vermeulen. He was just one huge step above everybody else on the field and made a huge difference when the fat lady started to sing.
With this win Western Province made sure that they can play next week for a place in the final. If they do succeed to beat the Lions it will be the first time since 2001 that they will be hosting a Currie Cup final in front of their home crowd.
Sharks: Try: Keegan Daniel
Conversion: Pat Lambie
Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (2)
WP:Try: Deon Fourie
Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (3)
Drop goal: Catrakilis