Personal records for Willem de Waal and Bjorn Basson, as well as semi-final hosting rights are at stake when the 2010 Absa Currie Cup enters one of its most exciting final rounds of league competition.
Three sides are set to battle it out for home ground advantage in preparation of the semi-finals. The Sharks will host one of the two playoff games, while Vodacom Western Province, the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs or the Vodacom Blue Bulls are in line to host the other playoff game next weekend.
The Cape side are currently on 44 log points while the other contenders – Vodacom Free State Cheetahs (42) and the Vodacom Blue Bulls (42) – are all still in the hunt of hosting a final-four game.
All Province need to do is defeat The Sharks at Newlands on Saturday (17h05) to secure a home semi-final. If Vodacom WP lose and fail to gain any bonus points, they will still qualify for the semis, but could find themselves languishing in fourth position on Saturday evening and will then have to travel to Durban to play The Sharks in the semis.
In that case the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs, who take on the Platinum Leopards at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng on Friday (19h00), or the Vodacom Blue Bulls who are in Kimberley on Saturday for their game against the GWK Griquas (15h00), will end in second position and thus host a semi-final.
The Bloemfontein side however have the inside lane on the defending champions from Pretoria, due to their superior points’ differential. Naka Drotske’s side currently have a points’ difference of 94 while the Vodacom Blue Bulls are on 51.
The Xerox Lions could mathematically still finish in fourth position on the log and thus make the semi-finals. They will however have to hope that the Platinum Leopards upset the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs or the GWK Griquas defeat the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Kimberley.
Meanwhile Vodacom WP flyhalf Willem de Waal could re-write the Absa Currie Cup record books on Saturday and become the second leading points’ scorer in the history of the competition.
De Waal is only six points away from equalling former Northern Free State and Free State Cheetahs flyhalf Eric Herbert’s tally of 1402 points. He is currently the leading points’ scorer (183) in the 2010 competition and has accumulated 1396 points during his career. Former Northern Transvaal pivot Naas Botha (1699) is the leading points’ scorer in the history of the Absa Currie Cup.
GWK Griquas winger Bjorn Basson will also have the chance of setting a new Absa Currie Cup try-scoring record in Kimberley when his side hosts the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Saturday.
Basson who was named the Absa Currie Cup Player of the Month for September has scored 19 tries this season and equalled the try-scoring record (19) which is held by former Western Province wing Carel du Plessis and former Leopards wing Colin Lloyd.
In Potchefstroom, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs flanker Hendro Scholtz will earn his 100th Absa Currie Cup cap for the Bloemfontein side when they take on the Platinum Leopards on Friday. The veteran loose forward has also represented the Springboks in five Tests.