It is Rugby Festival time again in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, with the Impala Rugby Club in Rustenburg hosting two crucial matches in the Central Section of the competition on Sunday.
The two unbeaten teams in this section, Tafel Lager Griquas and the Toyota Free State XV, will meet in a crunch game that will determine the top of the log spot. In the next clash of this highly entertaining tournament, the Leopards will be spurred on by their North West supporters, as they desperately look for a first win against the Cell C Sharks XV, who will be looking for a second win in as many weeks.
The Impala Rugby Club will see the reunion of some sorts for the Kruger brothers, Tertius and De Wet. At last year’s festival here in the Platinum belt, both represented Tafel Lager Griquas in their 54-17 victory over the Leopards. But this time, they will face each other, as Tertius has since moved back to Bloemfontein, where made his provincial debut, and will play for the Toyota Free State XV on Sunday.
The brothers, who hail from the Southern Cape, have both represented three provinces – Toyota Free State, Down Touch Griffons and Tafel Lager Griquas – in their careers, that are closely interlinked. Tertius has one up on his brother though, as his team has won two of the three times they faced each other.
“He was on the winning side once, when he was playing at the Griffons and I played at Free State, so hopefully I can extend that lead,” Tertius smiled about the prospect of facing his older sibling again.
The midfielder has been in impressive form, having scored four tries already in two matches. Tertius’ form in last year’s SuperSport Rugby Challenge was also first class and he scored seven tries in 10 outings for Tafel Lager Griquas.
Speaking of the Southern Cape, the strong start to their campaign by the SWD Eagles has seen them being touted as potential play-off contenders in the South Section. A real test to those claims will come in the form of the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington on Saturday, with the home side desperately unlucky not to topple DHL Western Province in Cape Town last weekend.
The Eagles also have a strong performer in their midfield, where Tyler Fisher is dominating opponents. The centre seemed to have found his home in George, following stints with the Cell C Sharks, Leopards, iCOLLEGE Pumas and even FNB Tuks in this year’s FNB Varsity Cup. He has scored four tries in two matches already.
The two Eastern Cape neighbours, Border Bulldogs and EP Elephants, open the weekend’s action in the South Section on Friday night in East London, where both will be looking for a first win in the competition.
The North Section will see the return to action by the iCOLLEGE Pumas after their bye last week. The Nelspruit side made a strong start, beating both the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Xerox Golden Lions XV, and will travel to Namibia as overwhelming favourites as the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias lost their matches against the same opponents.
In the other North Section match, the Hino Valke host the Xerox Golden Lions XV in Kempton Park. This Gauteng derby will be a closely contested affair with both sides realising that another defeat could seriously dent their play-off aspirations in this section.
The weekend’s fixtures are:
Friday 11 May:
Border Bulldogs v EP Elephants
Venue: BCM Stadium, East London
Referee: Ruhan Meiring
Saturday 12 May:
Boland Cavaliers v SWD Eagles
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Jaco Pretorius
Valke v Xerox Golden Lions XV
Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias v iCOLLEGE Pumas
Venue: Hage Geingob Stadium, Windhoek
Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys
Sunday 13 May – Rugby Festival at Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg
Newrak Impala v Centurion (Blue Bulls Rugby Union Gold Cup qualifier)
Referee: Johre Botha
Tafel Lager Griquas v Toyota Free State XV
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Leopards v Cell C Sharks XV
Referee: Paul Mente
Byes: Vodacom Blue Bulls (North), DHL Western Province (South), Down Touch Griffons (Central).
Leading points’ scorers:
- Earll Douwrie (Vodacom Blue Bulls) – 48
- Andre Swarts (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 37
- Chris Smith (iCOLLEGE Pumas) – 36
- Enver Brandt (Tafel Lager Griquas) – 6
- Duncan Saal (DHL Western Province) – 5
- Anrich Alberts (Down Touch Griffons), Tyler Fisher (SWD Eagles), Tertius Kruger (Toyota Free State XV) – 4