Cape Town - The pool stages of the Community Cup will reach a
nail-biting climax across the country on Saturday, with four places in the
Easter Championships in George still up for grabs and a multitude of
permutations meaning as many as 10 teams could still qualify.
The final round will feature a number of 'knockout' matches, the most
intriguing of which features wild cards SK Walmers and Raiders, who will
advance should they beat GAP Despatch and Rustenburg Impala respectively.
Adding further spice to these encounters is the fact that both wild cards will
enjoy home-ground advantage.
Despatch's hard-fought, bonus-point 30-20 victory over Sishen on Saturday
and Walmers' spirited 30-18 defeat in Durban to reigning national open club
champions College Rovers has left both teams on 10 log points - thereby
reducing their Pool A match at what is expected to be a sold-out Green Point
Track in Cape Town (kick-off 16h00) as a straight eliminator to see who joins
Rovers - who will finish top of the Pool regardless of the outcome - in George.
And in Johannesburg, Raiders, currently three points behind Rustenburg
Impala and Roodepoort in Pool D, will not only leapfrog their Highveld rivals
into top spot should they beat Impala with a bonus point, but they will
also ensure that Roodepoort are knocked out of the tournament, despite the West
Rand side's 34-15 away win over Bloemfontein Crusaders on Saturday and their
27-24 victory over Raiders in Round 3.
Impala, meanwhile, are assured of their Easter place as they are level with
Roodepoort on 14 log points with a match in hand, and SARU tournament rules
dictate that the first tie-breaker when two teams are tied on log points is the
result of the match between the two sides - in this case, Impala's 24-13
first-round victory over Roodepoort may prove crucial in the final outcome.
Pool B is just as intriguing. Pretoria Police qualified for George with an
impressive 51-20 win over Rovers in Welkom, and they will finish unbeaten at
the top of the group should they dispatch the winless Bloemfontein Police in a
keenly-anticipated 'Battle of the Bobbies' derby in Pretoria.
Second place is, however, far from cut and dried, with Durbanville-Bellville
needing to beat Welkom Rovers to book their place. A bonus-point victory for
Rovers, on the other hand, may throw the statistical cat amongst the pigeons as
it will mean they, Durbell and wild cards African Bombers all finish on 11
And in Pool D, Old Selbornian kept their hopes alive when they came from
behind to beat Pacaltsdorp Evergreens 19-13 in East London to move to third,
one point behind Evergreens, who must now beat another wildcard, Roses United,
on Saturday in the very last match of the pool stages to be assured of their
place in the Easter Championships.
Brakpan, meanwhile, made sure they would finish top of Pool D with a record
134-0 hammering of White River, who can however still provide the tournament
with a crucial plot twist on Saturday should they bounce back to beat Old
Selbornian at base.
To make matters even more interesting, Roses United could still slip through
the back door should they beat Evergreens with a bonus point in Pacaltsdorp and
White River shock Old Selbornian, who, it must be said, will face an
energy-sapping round trip of 2 400km, searing Lowveld temperatures and a team
playing for pride, as the East London side go in search of possibly the most
valuable five points in their history.
Results, Round 4:
College Rovers 30-18 SK Walmers
Despatch 30-20 Aveng Moolmans Sishen
Welkom Rovers 20-51 Pretoria Police
Bloemfontein Police 19-34 African Bombers
Bloemfontein Crusaders 15-34 Roodepoort
BB Truck & Tractor Noordelikes 17-69 Rustenburg Impala
Brakpan 134-0 White River
Old Selbornian 19-13 Pacaltsdorp Evergreens
Final-round fixtures - Saturday, 16 March (kick-off times
subject to change):
Match 33 - SK Walmers vs Despatch (Green Point Track,
Cape Town, 16h00)
Match 34 - United Bulk Villagers Worcester vs College Rovers (Boland Park, Worcester, 16h00)
Match 35 - Pretoria Police vs Bloemfontein Police (venue
& k/o time tbc)
Match 36 - Durbanville-Bellville vs Welkom Rovers
(Durbanville-Bellville Rugby Club, 16h30)
Bye: African Bombers
Match 37 - Raiders vs Rustenburg Impala (Bill Jardine
Stadium, Johannesburg, 16h00)
Match 38 - Bloemfontein Crusaders vs BB Truck & Tractor
Noordelikes, Clive Solomon Stadium, 16h00)
Match 39 - White River vs Broubart Old Selbornian (White
River Rugby Club, 16h00)
Match 40 - Pacaltsdorp Evergreens vs Roses United
(Pacaltsdorp Sports Grounds, 16h00)
George Easter Championship quarter-final fixtures, Thursday
28 March (kick-off times tbc):
QF1 - Winner C vs Runner-up D
QF2 - Winner B vs Runner-up A (Despatch or SK Walmers)
QF3 - Winner D (Brakpan) vs Runner-up Pool C
QF4 - Winner A (College Rovers) vs Runner-up B