Rugby

All to play for in final round of SuperSport Rugby Challenge

2018-06-21 20:02
Malcolm Marx (Gallo)

Cape Town - The introduction of six Springboks, which includes Warren Whiteley and the current SA Rugby Player of the Year, Malcolm Marx, in the colours of the Golden Lions XV will add extra spice to what is already promising to be a massive weekend of provincial rugby as the pool phase of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge concludes.

The Bok duo, both returning to first class rugby following injury, will be in action at Bill Jardine Stadium in Longdale, Johannesburg on Sunday, where the Golden Lions XV host the Blue Bulls in the main match of the fifth Rugby Festival of the competition.

This match – the last one of regulation play in the competition – will also have a bearing on the final placings in the North Section and thus the make-up of the eight quarter-finalists next weekend, a perfect way to finish the competition that has delivered 515 tries to spectators across the country.

The home side trail their neighbours from across the Jukskei River by three points and a win will confirm their automatic status into the last eight. The same can be applied to the men from Pretoria, which means the loser of this clash could crash out of the playoffs altogether, depending on other results.

Marx and Whiteley will be joined for the home side by fellow Springboks Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck, Courtnall Skosan and Ross Cronje.

In the other Longdale clash earlier in the day, the Pumas should confirm their position at the of the standings in the North Section when they face the Valke. The team from Nelspruit side have not tasted defeat yet and it will be a major turn-up for the books if they lose against the East Randers, who only registered one win in seven outings.

The #BornToRugby campaign was spread far and wide and round 10 will introduce more first time venues, such as Brookside in Cape Town, Despatch in Port Elizabeth and KwaMashu’s Princess Magogo Stadium to the mix.

The Villager Rugby Club in Claremont will host Western Province on Friday, with the result against the SWD Eagles also hugely significant in the South Section. The defending champions have already secured a top four spot on the overall standings, but will have to be on their game to stop SWD, who are desperate for the second spot on the log and a guaranteed semi-final place.

SWD have a three-point lead over the Boland Cavaliers, who will have to travel to Despatch to front the EP Elephants. The red and black hoops scored a first win last weekend and Boland, who played to a draw against WP a few weeks ago to underline their real ability, could find that effort go to waste if they fail to register a positive result in the Eastern Cape.

The Central Section clashes will also provide clarity in the most competitive section of the tournament. Griquas, who lead the group, travel to Welkom for a tricky clash against the very capable Griffons and could easily trip up.

This could allow second placed Free State XV to slip past them, but the Bloemfonteiners potentially have the most difficult away fixture of the weekend – facing the Sharks XV in KwaMashu. The Durbanites will keep their play-off hopes alive with a win, while a defeat for the visitors could impact on the final standings on the overall log.

The exciting part of the early weekend action will be the permutations for the last eight, only for results at the Rugby Festival to potentially change all of that again.

Round 10 fixtures:

Friday, 22 June 2018

Western Province v SWD

Venue: Brookside, Cape Town

Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni

Kick-off: 15h00

Saturday, 23 June 2018

EP Elephants v Boland Cavaliers

Venue: Despatch Rugby Club, Despatch

Referee: Ben Crouse

Kick-off: 15h00

Griffons v Griquas

Venue: HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom

Referee: Archie Sehlako

Kick-off: 15h30

 

Sharks XV v Free State

Venue: Princess Mogogo Stadium, KwaMashu

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Kick-off: 17h00

Sunday, 24 June 2018 – Rugby Festival at Bill Jardine Stadium Longdale, Johannesburg

Valke v Pumas

Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys

Kick-off: 13h00

TV: SS1

 

Golden Lions XV v Blue Bulls

Referee: Paul Mente

Kick-off: 15h00

TV: SS1

 

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