Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
10 Jun 2022
10:44 am

Currie Cup crunch time: Race to finish in top four as tight as it gets

Ross Roche

The Sharks have a good chance of forcing their way back into the playoff spot in their last pool game against a struggling Western Province.

The Pumas and Griquas are up agaist each other in an important Currie Cup clash that will decide who qualifies for the play-offs. Picture: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images

It is all geared up to be a crunch day in the Currie Cup play-off race on Friday as the Pumas host the Griquas (kick-off 6pm) at the Mbombela Stadium and Western Province host the Sharks (kick-off 4pm) at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.

The third placed Griquas are in pole position and just need a point from their final pool game against the Pumas to make sure of their spot in the knockouts, but the fourth placed Pumas and fifth placed Sharks who are only separated by a point have everything to play for.

The Pumas face arguably the biggest challenge against an in-form Griquas, who come into the match on the back of a huge win over the Cheetahs two weeks ago and a fantastic come from behind win against Western Province last weekend.

But the hosts will be fired up by their own upset win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in their last outing and will hope to benefit from home ground advantage and have a good crowd cheer them on against their big rivals.

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“Everything has been going to plan in the camp this week and it’s a home game for us. But the Griquas are playing exceptionally well at the moment, if you look at their last two games they have played good quality rugby,” said Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse.

“I am really looking forward to this encounter. It is going to be a huge game. This year it’s (qualification) in our hands. Obviously there is a lot of pressure but for us to make the semis is very important.”

Good chance

The Sharks have a good chance of forcing their way back into the playoff spot in their last pool game against a struggling Western Province who are second bottom of the log.

The Sharks have also been bolstered by a number of United Rugby Championship (URC) players who are available for the game, while the home side has no reinforcements as their main team is battling Ulster in the URC semis.

The Sharks will thus be targeting a full house of points against Western Province, while hoping that the Griquas will do them a favour and beat the Pumas to make sure that their qualification for the knockouts is confirmed.

In the other Currie Cup game at the weekend the Cheetahs host the Bulls in a table topping clash to decide who will finish the pool stage on top of the log.