PHOTO CAPTION: Hamiltons captain JG Giliomee and Wesbank skipper Andre Coetzee face off in preparation for their clubs’ much-anticipated Cell C Community Cup Pool D match at the Wesbank Sportsgrounds in Malmesbury on Saturday. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.
ALL club rugby roads will lead to the Boland on Saturday as local sides Roses United and Wesbank look to stake their claim for a place in the Cell C Community Cup Easter play-offs in George next month.
Roses, the Boland Premier League champions, will become the first team to qualify for the Easter weekend knockout matches – to be played on 17, 19 and 21 April at Outeniqua Park – if they can overcome Refreshhh! Centurion of the Blue Bulls, who themselves are looking to progress to the last eight from Pool C following a bonus-point win over BB Truck Noordelikes in their debut match last weekend.
The Wellington-based side caused a major shock on the opening weekend of SARU’s flagship tournament for non-university clubs when they beat 2013 bronze medallists G5 Metals Brakpan 27-26 at their Pelican Park fortress, before overcoming Valke wild cards Kaufela Boksburg on the road last week.
Brakpan got their campaign back on track on Thursday evening when they beat Boksburg 48-23 at Bosman Stadium, in what was the first-ever open-club match to be broadcast live on a weeknight.
And in Malmesbury, a large crowd is expected at the Wesbank Sportsgrounds where Wesbank host WP’s top open club, Hamiltons, in an intriguing Pool D fixture at which the prize on offer – the priceless Gold Cup – will be on display. Wesbank must win to keep their chances alive, following their first-round away loss to Shumba Ferros, who travel to Kathu on Saturday needing to beat Aveng Moolmans Sishen to stay in the play-off hunt.
Kempston Old Selbornians will look to get within one win of qualification when they host SWD champions Bridgton at Kempston Park in East London on Saturday, following their nailbiting 20-19 away victory over Spring Rose last weekend – a result which has all but knocked the New Brighton side out of contention.
The main beneficiaries of Spring Roses’ demise may well be Mossel Bay Barbarians, who travel to Port Elizabeth to take on defending champions Gap Management Despatch with a bonus-point victory over Bridgton already in the bag, and a home game against Old Selbornians still to look forward to.
And in Pool B, Bloemfontein Crusaders will do their qualification chances no harm if they can shock last year’s runners-up, Jonsson College Rovers, at the Clive Solomon Stadium in Heidedal, while Roodepoort will book their tickets to George if they beat Eagle Towing Rovers in Welkom.
Interestingly, this weekend’s seven matches will feature no fewer than five referees on SARU’s National panel – Daniel Fortuin (Roses Utd v Centurion), Jadezweni Cwengile (Wesbank v Hamiltons), Jaco Kotze (Crusaders v College Rovers), Archie Sehlako (Old Selbornians v Bridgton) and Lusanda Jam (Despatch v Barbarians).
Upcoming Cell C Community Cup fixtures (all kick-off times 16h00 unless otherwise indicated):
Round 3 – Saturday 22 March:
Match 17 (Pool A) – Kempston Old Selbornians vs Bridgton (Kempston Park, East London)
Match 18 (Pool A) – Gap Management Despatch vs Mossel Bay Barbarians (WJ de Wet Stadium, Despatch)
Match 19 (Pool B) – Bloemfontein Crusaders vs Jonsson College Rovers (Clive Solomon Stadium, Heidedal)
Match 20 (Pool B) – Eagle Towing Rovers vs Roodepoort (Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom, 16h30)
Match 21 (Pool C) – Roses United vs Refreshhh! Centurion (Pelican Park, Wellington)
Match 23 (Pool D) – Aveng Moolmans Sishen vs Shumba Ferros (Sivos Rugby Stadium, Kathu)
Match 24 (Pool D) – Wesbank vs Hamiltons (Wesbank Sports Grounds, Malmesbury)
Byes: Spring Rose, E-Car Welkom, BB Truck Noordelikes, Rustenburg Impala.
Round 4 – Saturday 29 March:
Match 25 (Pool A) – Mossel Bay Barbarians vs Kempston Old Selbornians (D’Almeida Stadium, Mossel Bay)
Match 26 (Pool A) – Bridgton vs Spring Rose (Bridgton Sports Grounds, Oudtshoorn)
Match 27 (Pool B) – Eagle Towing Rovers vs E-Car Welkom (Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom, 17h00)
Match 28 (Pool B) – Roodepoort vs Jonsson College Rovers (Rand Leases Sports Ground, Roodepoort)
Match 29 (Pool C) – G5 Metals Brakpan vs BB Truck Noordelikes (Bosman Stadium, Brakpan, 18h00)
Match 30 (Pool C) – Kaufela Boksburg vs Refreshhh! Centurion (Prince George Park, Boksburg)
Match 31 (Pool D) – Wesbank vs Rustenburg Impala (Wesbank Sports Grounds, Malmesbury)
Match 32 (Pool D) – Hamiltons vs Shumba Ferros (Stephan Oval, Green Point, Cape Town)
Byes: Gap Management Despatch, Bloemfontein Crusaders, Roses United, Aveng Moolmans Sishen.
Round 5 – Saturday 5 April:
Match 33 (Pool A) – Spring Rose vs Mossel Bay Barbarians (New Brighton Oval, Port Elizabeth, 15h30)
Match 34 (Pool A) – Kempston Old Selbornians v Gap Management Despatch (Kempston Park, East London)
Match 35 (Pool B) – Jonsson College Rovers vs Eagle Towing Rovers (KP3, Kings Park, Durban, 15h00)
Match 36 (Pool B) – E-Car Welkom vs Bloemfontein Crusaders (Griffons Rugby Stadium ‘B’ field, Welkom)
Match 37 (Pool C) – Refreshhh! Centurion vs G5 Metals Brakpan (Centurion Rugby Club, Centurion)
Match 38 (Pool C) – BB Truck Noordelikes vs Roses United (Noordelikes Rugby Club, Polokwane, 16h30)
Match 39 (Pool D) – Rustenburg Impala vs Hamiltons (Rustenburg Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg)
Match 40 (Pool D) – Aveng Moolmans Sishen vs Wesbank (Sivos Rugby Stadium, Kathu)
Byes: Bridgton, Roodepoort, Kaufela Boksburg, Shumba Ferros.
Easter Championship Play-offs – Outeniqua Park, George (all matches live on SuperSport. K/o times tbc):
Day 1 – Thursday 17 April:
Match 41 (Cup QF1) – Winner Pool C vs Runner-up Pool D
Match 42 (Cup QF2) – Winner Pool B vs Runner-up Pool A
Match 43 (Cup QF3) – Winner Pool D vs Runner-up Pool C
Match 44 (Cup QF4) – Winner Pool A vs Runner-up Pool B
Day 2 – Saturday 19 April:
Match 45 (Losers’ match 1) – Loser Match 41 (QF1) vs Loser Match 42 (QF2)
Match 46 (Losers’ match 2) – Loser Match 43 (QF3) vs Loser Match 44 (QF4)
Match 47 (Cup SF1) – Winner Match 41 (QF1) vs Winner Match 42 (QF2)
Match 48 (Cup SF2) – Winner Match 43 (QF3) vs Winner Match 44 (QF4)
Day 3 – Easter Monday, 21 April:
Match 49 (7th/8th Place Play-off) – Loser Match 45 vs Loser Match 46
Match 50 (5h/6th Place Play-off) – Winner Match 45 vs Winner Match 46
Match 51 (3rd/4th Place Play-off) – Loser Match 47 (SF1) vs Loser Match 48 (SF2)
Match 52 (Cup Final) – Winner Match 47 (SF1) vs Winner Match 48 (SF2)