Prize money set to motivate First Division semifinal contenders

Aug 15 • Currie Cup F.Div, Currie Cup F.Div News, General News • 2753 Views • Comments Off on Prize money set to motivate First Division semifinal contenders

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The surprise revelation last week that winner and runners up of the Absa Currie Cup First Division will walk away with R1m and R500000 respectively is expected to add a new dimension to the competition this weekend as the scramble for semifinal places intensifies.

As things stand, the Steval Pumas have a 10-point lead at the top of the log table, but only one point separates the second-placed Leopards and SWD Eagles from the EP Kings and Regent Boland Cavaliers respectively. This combined with the financial incentive will undoubtedly motivate the teams to lift their game to avoid the disappointment of losing out on a semifinal berth by a few points at the end of the season.

In Friday’s clashes the SWD Eagles host the Border Bulldogs at Outeniqua Park in George and the Steval Pumas meet the EP Kings in Nelspruit. On Saturday the Down Touch Griffons take on the Valke at the North West Stadium in Welkom and the Leopards go up against the Regent Boland Cavaliers in Potchefstroom.

In George the SWD Eagles will enter the clash against the Border Bulldogs as favourites on form given their knack at scoring tries which has seen them accumulate four bonus points in their first seven matches. The Bulldogs who have only one victory to show for their efforts this season, will look to emulate their brave effort against the EP Kings last week in which they did not concede a try and matched the team physically, which resulted in an arm-wrestle of a match. Given the playmaking abilities of backs Alshaun Bock, Jeffrey Taljard and Justin van Staden, however, they will have their hands full. The Bulldogs will also have to step up their attack to keep alive hopes of a victory.

The Steval Pumas, meanwhile, will look to extend their lead at the top of the log when they line up against the EP Kings at the Mbombela Stadium, and with their attack and defence functioning well, they may have an edge. However, the Kings have been bolstered by the return of their Vodacom Super Rugby players George Whitehead, Ronnie Cooke, Hannes Franklin, Darron Nel and Steven Sykes. Apart from adding a new dimension to their attack and defence, their return could provide the mental and physical edge the team needs to become the force they were in the series last season.

The clash between the Leopards and Regent Boland Cavaliers should be equally thrilling. Should Boland win, they will leapfrog the Leopards on the log and find themselves in the top three, which will serve as huge motivation for the team. This, however, will require a solid effort on defence, in particular, as the Potchefstroom team has been averaging six tries per match. This effective attack has earned them four bonus points for tries, which catapulted them above the Cavaliers on the log, despite the Boland side having won one match more. Given the determination in both camps to build winning momentum as the competition reaches the business end, however, it should be a nail-biting encounter.

In the other match, the Griffons will be determined to capitalise on their home ground advantage against the Valke to stay ahead of their rivals lower down on the log, but given both teams’ slow starts to the season and their significant points deficit on the standings, they may find themselves playing for pride.

Absa Currie Cup First Division fixtures:

SWD Eagles vs Border Bulldogs

Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Time: 19h00

Date: 16 August 2013


Steval Pumas vs EP Kings

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Time: 19h00

Date: 16 August 2013


Down Touch Griffons vs Valke

Venue: North West Stadium, Welkom

Time: 15h00

Date: 17 August 2013


Leopards vs Regent Boland Cavaliers

Venue: Profert Olen Park, Potchefstroom

Time: 15h00

Date: 17 August 2013





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