SA Cup playoff hopes hang in the balance

rugby09 May 2024 08:26
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Suzuki Griquas against the Sanlam Boland Kavaliers © Gallo Images

It will be a case of make or break in the SA Cup this weekend, with a number of pivotal matches for several teams striving to keep alive their dreams of reaching the final.

With a maximum of 10 points at stake in the rest of the competition, five contenders remain in contention for a place in the final on 25 May.

However, after this weekend at least one of these five sides will in all likelihood be out of the playoff picture.

The action commences on Friday when the Toyota Cheetahs, currently in fourth, are up against the struggling Border Bulldogs. A potential five-point triumph could see the Free Staters surge into second place, provided other results align favourably.

The Border Bulldogs will seek solace in home advantage as they strive to upset the Cheetahs and salvage points from a challenging season.

Later on Friday, the second-placed Airlink Pumas lock horns with the fifth-placed Sanlam Boland Kavaliers in an eagerly anticipated showdown in Nelspruit.

For the Pumas, the fixture offers a prime opportunity to rebound from their recent defeat to log leaders Suzuki Griquas, while the Bolanders find themselves in a precarious position, with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread.

The Kavaliers’ path to the top two necessitates nothing short of a flawless 10-point haul from their remaining fixtures (they play EP in the final round), coupled with other results going in their favour.

Saturday’s schedule includes two games, including a duel between the Valke and Leopards in Kempton Park, with both teams eyeing a move up the table from their current eighth and ninth positions.

At the same time, Suzuki Griquas host the Phangela SWD Eagles. Victory for the hosts from Kimberley would consolidate their top spot, which would be crucial as they have a Central Derby in their final league fixture next weekend, in Bloemfontein against the Toyota Cheetahs.

The Eagles will vie for a sixth place finish and they will provide the log leaders with a stern test at Suzuki Stadium, where the visitors will be determined to defy the odds and hand Griquas their first defeat of the season.

Sunday's match sees NovaVit Griffons host Eastern Province, with the Northern Free Staters’ playoff hopes also in the balance.

With just one bonus point separating them from the Airlink Pumas, the Griffons can’t afford to slip up against EP as they still have hopes of securing a playoff berth. Victory for the visitors from Gqeberha can only see them maintain them their position on the log after this weekend's fixtures.

Match information:

Border Bulldogs v Toyota Cheetahs

Date: Friday, 10 May

Venue: Police Park, East London

Referee: Sean Muller

SA Time: 15h00

Airlink Pumas v Sanlam Boland Kavaliers

Date: Friday, 10 May

Venue: Mbobela Stadium, Nelspruit

Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys

SA Time: 19h00

TV: SuperSport 209

Valke v Leopards

Date: Saturday, 11 May

Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park

Referee: Marius vd Westhuizen

SA Time: 15h00

TV: SuperSport 244

Suzuki Griquas v Phangela SWD Eagles

Date: Saturday, 11 May

Venue: Suzuki Stadium Kimberley

Referee: Christopher Allison

SA Time: 15h00

TV: SuperSport 245

NovaVit Griffons v Eastern Province

Date: Sunday, 11 May

Venue: Down Touch Investments Stadium, Welkom

Referee: Morne Ferreira

SA Time: 15h00

TV: SuperSport 211