Top three in big fight for SA Cup final spot

rugby16 May 2024 10:00
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The SA Cup will reach a decisive stage this weekend, with Friday’s two clashes in Bloemfontein and Nelspruit crucial in determining the two finalists, as the last round of group matches unfold at five different venues.

Friday sees the top four teams battling it out to determine the two finalists as well as hosting rights for the final. Suzuki Griquas is leading the table and will square off against the fourth-placed Toyota Cheetahs, while second-placed Airlink Pumas face the NovaVit Griffons who is third on the log.

The Free Staters host their neighbours from the Northern Cape in a critical encounter where the home side, who unfortunately can’t make the final anymore, will aim to upset the team at the top of the standings and in the process do the Pumas a massive favour.

Should the Toyota Cheetahs win and deny Suzuki Griquas any log points, then the Airlink Pumas can still finish top of the log. However, victory or a draw for the Peacock Blues will secure them a home final, and they will look to seal the deal and give their supporters something to look forward to on the last weekend in May.

In the other Friday match which kicks off an hour later, Airlink Pumas host NovaVit Griffons in a showdown where victory could catapult either team into title contention. Both teams, having lost just one league game each, understand the significance of this encounter.

Should Suzuki Griquas stumble, victory for the Airlink Pumas will see the two teams finish on the same number of log points, and the points’ difference of only three points will then come into play, but it’s so small, that the win should secure a home final for the team from Mpumalanga.

Only one log point behind the Airlink Pumas, the team from the Northern Free State will look to showcase their talents and book a spot in the final, but the NovaVit Griffons will know that victory is the only way forward for them.

On Saturday, the action continues with two matches. Firstly, the Phangela SWD Eagles (sixth) will host the Leopards (ninth) at Outeniqua Park where both teams are locked in a battle for a mid-table finish.

Meanwhile also on Saturday, the Sanlam Boland Kavaliers host Eastern Province in Piketberg. The Gqeberha-based side seeks to climb two places on the log and finish sixth, just one position behind Boland, who are guaranteed to remain in fifth place regardless of the outcome.

Wrapping up the week's fixtures, the Border Bulldogs will square off against Valke, aiming to conclude their season on a positive note and secure valuable points. Sharing 13 log points at the moment with the Eagles and Eastern Province, they also harbour hopes of achieving a sixth-place finish.

Match information:

Toyota Cheetahs v Suzuki Griquas

Date: Friday, 17 May

Venue: Shimla Park, Bloemfontein

Referee: AJ Jacobs

SA Time: 18h00

TV: SuperSport Variety 4 (209)

Airlink Pumas v NovaVit Griffons

Date: Friday, 17 May

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Referee: Sean Muller

SA Time: 19h00

TV: SuperSport OTT 1 (244)

Phangela SWD Eagles v Leopards

Date: Saturday, 18 May

Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Referee: Dylen November

SA Time: 14h30

TV: SuperSport OTT 5 (245)

Sanlam Boland Kavaliers v Eastern Province

Date: Saturday, 11 May

Venue: Rhino Park, Piketberg

Referee: Paul Mente

SA Time: 15h00

TV: SuperSport OTT 1 (244)

Border Bulldogs v Valke

Date: Sunday, 19 May

Venue: Police Park, East London

Referee: Ruhan Meiring

SA Time: 14h00

TV: SuperSport Rugby (211)