The race to the playoffs in both the A- and B-Sections of the SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial Competition is still wide open and most of the teams will have a lot to play for in the penultimate round of pool matches this weekend.
Five of the six teams in the A-Section still have a chance of securing places in the top two on the log table to book their places in the final before the last round of league matches concludes on 3 September, while eight of the nine B-Section teams have a mathematical chance of advancing to the final. The B-Section is split into two segments, each with their own log table, with the top team in each segment set to line up in the final.
In the A-Section on Saturday, Eastern Province will meet SWD in Port Elizabeth, the Blue Bulls take on Border at Loftus Versfeld and Western Province will battle it out with KwaZulu-Natal in Cape Town.
In the B-Section the Pumas face the Limpopo Blue Bulls at the Secunda Sasol Rugby Club in the only match on Friday, and on Saturday the Leopards go up against the Golden Lions in Potchefstroom, the Griffons meet Boland in Bronville, and Griquas take on the Free State in Namaqualand.
In Port Elizabeth, Eastern Province face a do-or die match for their tournament hopes, as victory will keep them in the running for a possible final berth, while a defeat without bonus points will dash their hopes. The hosts will draw comfort from the fact that SWD have suffered defeats in all of their matches this season, but given the high stakes, they will not take a victory for granted.
The top-of-the-table clash in Pretoria between the Blue Bulls and defending champions, Border, is expected to be thrilling, as the hosts will be hunting their third successive win, while Border will be determined to bounce back from their first defeat in three seasons two weeks ago. The winning side will take the outright lead on the log table going into the final round of matches, which will put them in a comfortable position going into the final round.
Western Province, meanwhile, will be high on confidence after their morale-boosting victory against Border when they face KwaZulu-Natal, but the home team also come off a solid 26-10 victory against Eastern Province, meaning it could be a tight battle. Adding spice to the clash, the winning side could find themselves in second place on the log by Saturday afternoon, which will put them in a position to stake a claim for a final berth in two weeks.
In the B-Section, Free State, Griquas and the Golden Lions will be looking to maintain their unbeaten status when they take to the field, while the Griffons and Boland will go flat out to register their first victories.
The battle between Free State and Griquas should be exciting as both sides secured bonus-point victories in their opening matches. The winning side, however, will be in pole position to take the top spot on their log table going into the last round of matches, which will boost their motivation to come out on top this weekend.
The Golden Lions and Leopards will be in a similar position in their match-up in Potchefstroom, as the Lions are at the top of the table with 10 points, with the Leopards are three points behind, meaning the winning side will in all likelihood go into the final round of pool matches as the top team.
SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial fixtures:
A Section (Saturday, 20 August):
13h00 – Eastern Province vs SWD (NMMU, Missionvale Campus)
15h00 – Blue Bulls vs Border (Loftus Versfeld B field, Pretoria)
16h00 – Western Province vs KZN (City Park Stadium, Cape Town)
Friday, 19 August
17h00 – Pumas vs Limpopo Blue Bulls (Secunda Sasol Rugby Club, Secunda)
Saturday, 20 August:
14h15 – Leopards vs Golden Lions (Profert Olën Park, Potchefstroom)
15h00 – Griffons vs Boland (Bronville Stadium, Bronville)
15h00 – Griquas vs Free State (Concordia Sports Grounds, Namaqualand)