Currie Cup wrap: It’s hotting up in race for playoff spots
Only the newcomers to the competition this year, the Griffons, are not in the semi-finals mix.
Lions players Darrien Landsberg and Andries Coetzee celebrate their team’s Currie Cup win against WP at the weekend. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
With just two round-robin matches each to play, every match now is like a final which is sure to ignite the final rounds of action in this year’s Currie Cup competition.
The Sharks (43 points) and Cheetahs (41) are favourites to finish in the top two places, but certainly in the top four for a place in the semi-finals, but it is the teams below them on the log who have it all to do in the coming weeks.
No less than five teams are in the hunt to finish in third and fourth place. Right now, with two matches each to play, the Pumas are third (36), followed by Western Province (31), the Lions (31), the Bulls (31) and Griquas (30).
Only the Griffons (nine points), in eighth and last place, are out of the running.
And, now with the United Rugby Championship a thing of the past, several teams will be boosted by the availability of more seasoned players for the run-in. Of course, many players will also be asked to rest, ahead of an important international season, which includes the World Cup.
This past weekend saw a change at the top of the points table after the Sharks moved into top spot following their 35-9 win against the Griffons, and the fact the Cheetahs drew 29-all with Griquas.
The Pumas, log-leaders at some stage, also slipped down the log after losing 17-24 at home to the resurgent Bulls.
In the other match, the Lions recorded a huge win in terms of their campaign when they got the better of Western Province in Athlone 34-12.
This last weekend’s results have tightened up the log and race for playoff spots and there could be more big changes after this coming weekend’s matches as well.
On Friday, Griquas will be confident at home against Western Province (3pm), while the Bulls should have too much fire-power for the Griffons in Pretoria (5pm).
On Saturday, the Pumas host the Cheetahs with no favourite there (5pm), while the Sharks and Lions clash in Durban in what will be another big result for the winner (7pm).