Half of the Vodacom Cup fixtures this week will take place at venues that can be described as “off rugby’s beaten track” as South Africa’s premier development competition continues to spread its wings.
Cradock’s Rovers Field, the DP de Villiers Stadium in Sasolburg, Leeudoring Rugby Club in Leeudoringstad and the Bill Jardine Stadium in Industria, Johannesburg will all host Vodacom Cup matches this weekend as the competition passes the halfway mark of the group phase.
The pick of the fixtures in the North Section is on Friday evening in Nelspruit, where the Steval Pumas will host GWK Griquas at the Mbombela Stadium.
These are the only two unbeaten teams left in this section and the side from Kimberley will be looking for revenge after losing this fixture at home last year to the eventual runners up.
Also in the North Section, the Valke and Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls will be looking for their first win of 2014 when they take on each other in Sasolburg on Saturday afternoon, while interest should be high for the Leopards XV’s home game in Leeudoringstad against the Vodacom Blue Bulls. The two top teams in the South Section also take on each other this weekend when the Cell C Sharks XV host the SWD Eagles in Durban on Saturday afternoon. The KwaZulu-Natalians are unbeaten, but following a defeat in the opening round, Bevin Fortuin’s Eagles side have recorded two solid victories and are looking strong.
The EP Kings, currently lying fifth in the South Section, will be keen to get back to winning ways and not lose touch with the front runners when they host the third-placed Toyota Free State XV in Cradock. And almost 300km south east, in East London on Friday, the Border Bulldogs will face DHL Western Province without one of our first featured rising stars, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who has joined the DHL Stormers on tour in Australia.
Each week we will feature emerging young players from the North and the South Sections who are making their way up the rugby ladder. This week we look at two hard-working loose forwards, Thabo Mabuza (Golden Lions) and Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (Toyota Free State XV).
Round 4 fixtures:
Friday, 28 March
Border Bulldogs v DHL Western Province
Venue: Buffalo City Stadium, East London
Referee: Christie du Preez
Steval Pumas v GWK Griquas
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Pro Legoete
Saturday, 29 March
Cell C Sharks XV v SWD Eagles
Venue: Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Valke v Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls
Venue: DP de Villiers Stadium, Sasolburg
Referee: Archie Sehlako
Leopards XV v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: Leeudoring Rugby Club, Leeudoringstad
Referee: Tahla Ntshakaza
EP Kings v Toyota Free State XV
Venue: Rovers Field, Cradock
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Golden Lions v Down Touch Griffons
Venue: Bill Jardine Stadium, Johannesburg
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Tusker Simba XV v Regent Boland Cavaliers
Venue: City Park, Cape Town
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni