With only two points separating defending SARU Women’s Interprovincial Series champions Border and neighbours Eastern Province on the log table, the clash between these two teams in East London this weekend will determine which side secures the top spot on the log for a possible home final.
The match is one of three in the final round of pool matches in Section One of the series, with all the results of these fixtures having a bearing on the possible final make-up of the semifinals.
Border and Eastern Province, who boast unbeaten runs in the series so far, have already booked their home semifinals, while the Blue Bulls and Western Province, who meet in Cape Town, are also guaranteed to feature in the playoff matches.
The clash between Western Province and the Blue Bulls will also be significant as the losing side will face the log-leaders in what will be the tougher semifinal.
KwaZulu-Natal and South Western Districts will open the round at Harlequins Rugby Club in Durban in a match that will be played purely for pride, while Western Province and the Blue Bulls will meet at Theo Marais Park in Milnerton, Cape Town, and Border and Eastern Province will battle it out at the BCM Stadium in East London.
With four bonus-point victories in as many matches and home ground advantage counting in Border’s favour, they will enter their clash as favourites. They will also have the luxury of form and experience on their side as all 10 Border players named in the Springbok Women’s squad for their Rugby World Cup warm-up tour London and France later this month have been selected in the match 23. The halfback pairing of flyhalf Zenay Jordaan and scrumhalf Fundiswa Plaatjie, in particular, will play a key role in dictating play, but the main battle is expected to be up front.
Given the solid defence by both teams this season, with Border in particular conceding only two tries in their four matches, the clash is expected to be tightly fought.
The clash in Cape Town could also prove to be a humdinger given the high quality of the Western Province and Blue Bulls teams. The Blue Bulls will look to veteran Springbok Women’s flyhalf Yolanda Meiring, and uncapped national players Cindy Cant and Shona-Leah Weston to spark some magic on attack, but the team’s defence will also have be solid to contain the strong Western Province lineup. The Cape side’s charge, meanwhile, will be led by the likes of physical prop Laurian Johannes, lock Andrea Mentoor and hooker Denita Wentzel, who will be determined to lay a solid foundation for the backs.
In Durban, meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal will target their clash against South Western Districts for their first victory of the season. Both teams have only scored three tries this season, but the home team’s defence has been better than that of their George counterparts, who have conceded a staggering 33 tries in four matches. This is a weakness the hosts will certainly want to exploit going into the clash.
SARU Women’s Interprovincial round five fixtures:
KwaZulu-Natal vs South Western Districts
Venue: Harlequins Rugby Club, Durban
Date:14 June 2014
Western Province vs Blue Bulls
Venue: Theo Marais Park, Milnerton, Cape Town
Date: 14 June 2014
Border vs Eastern Province
Venue: BCM Stadium, East London
Date: 14 June 2014