Leopards look to clinch Absa Currie Cup First Division title in style

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The Leopards will look to clinch the Absa Currie Cup First Division title in style with a full house of victories for the season when they face the SWD Eagles on Thursday at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom.

The match kicks off at 18h00 and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

The Eagles will need to find a way to do something that no other team has managed to do in 11 previous attempts this season, and that is to beat the prolific Leopards. And to add to the weight of their challenge, SWD must do so at the home of the Leopards in Potchefstroom.

Interestingly, the 2015 Cup final will be decided between the two losing semi-finalists of 2014. In last year’s playoffs, and to the surprise of many, the Leopards came unstuck in Potchefstroom against eventual winners, the Hino Valke, while the Down Touch Griffons accounted for SWD in a thrilling encounter in Welkom.

After dominating the league stages once more and finishing the regular First Division season unbeaten, the Leopards advanced through to their second successive home Semi-final against the Hino Valke last weekend where they avenged their 2014 Semi-final defeat courtesy of a 29-17 victory. In turn, the SWD Eagles stunned the Griffons 47-40 in Welkom.

Both finalists are renowned for their willingness to play attacking rugby, and the Final should be another enthralling affair between the sides coached by former Springboks Robert du Preez (Leopards) and Bevin Fortuin (SWD) respectively.

The final will also be a contest between the two most prolific points scorers in the First Division this season. Just last week centre Adriaan Engelbrecht kicked 19 points to steer the Leopards to a deserved home final. SWD in turn, have fullback Leighton Eksteen as their point scoring and attacking kingpin. He underlined his match winning abilities with a contribution of 27 points in the Eagles’ away win in Welkom last weekend.

Eksteen is leading the overall point scoring chart with 92 points, followed by Eksteen on 71.

The Leopards will be determine to wipe out their bitter disappointment of last season with one last great effort in Potchefstroom on Thursday. However, they can brace themselves for a huge challenge from the Eagles, who themselves have managed to string together some impressive victories in their successful march to the Final.

Two curtain-raisers, featuring junior provincial teams, will be staged before the final kicks off at 18h00.

The Steval Pumas and the Down Touch Griffons will meet at 14h25 in the Final of the Absa Under-19 Provincial Championship B-Division, which will be followed by the Absa Under-21 B-Division decider between the Limpopo Blue Bulls and the SWD Eagles at 16h00.

The fixtures for Thursday, 8 October at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom are:

Absa Under-19 Provincial Championship B-Division Final
Steval Pumas vs Down Touch Griffons
Kick-off: 14h25

Absa Under-21 Provincial Championship B-Division Final
Limpopo Blue Bulls vs SWD Eagles
Kick-off: 16h00

Absa Currie Cup First Division Final
Leopards vs SWD Eagles
Kick-off: 18h00
Referee: Quinton Immelman
TV: SS1

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