Vodacom Cup Preview of The Road To The Finals

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Vodacom Cup Preview – The Final

The Pampas XV, the only undefeated team in this year’s Vodacom Cup, will be hoping for one more victory in 2011 when they host the defending champions, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom on Friday at 19h00.

The Argentineans will start as red hot favourites as they are currently on a 10-match winning streak, which started with a 52-29 victory over the Tasol Solar Griffons. Since then, they have managed to secure two more 50-point victories, against the Valke (57-15) in round seven and against the Welwitschias (52-10) in Windhoek in round nine.

What’s more interesting, is that the Pampas XV have already beaten the Vodacom Blue Bulls this season, by 27-22 at Profert Olën Park in round three. They were impressive in their 41-26 semi-final victory over the Sharks XV last weekend, and defeated the Toyota Free State Cheetahs (41-34) in extra time of a thrilling quarter-final clash.

A number of players from the Argentinean team have been outstanding this year, with winger Juan Imhoff currently the joint-leading try-scorer together with DHL Western Province’s JJ Engelbrecht on 10 tries. Winger Agustin Gosio is the second leading try-scorer with seven five-pointers to his name.

Pampas XV flyhalves Nicolas Sanchez (79) and Santiago Iglesias (62) are also amongst the leading Vodacom Cup points’ scorers this season. The “hosts” have also been the most entertaining team thanks to their expansive rugby this year. They have scored 53 tries this season, with Iglesias converting 24 of those tries and Sanchez converting 19.

However the Vodacom Blue Bulls, three-time Vodacom Cup champions, can count on huge finals experience, having played in eight finals at this level. Eight players who competed in the 2010 Vodacom Cup final for the Vodacom Blue Bulls have been included in their match 22 for Friday’s clash. Centre Stefan Watermeyer, flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff, scrumhalf Ruan Snyman, flank Okkie Kruger, prop Morne Mellett, locks Cornell Hess and Mthunzi Mabeta and captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze, who will make his fourth Vodacom Cup final appearance, were members of the team that defeated the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 31-29 at Loftus Versfeld last year. Boshoff is currently the fourth leading points’ scorer in the competition with 78 points.

The Pretoria team kicked off their 2011 title defence with four consecutive defeats – against the Sharks XV (30-19), Boland Cavaliers (20-17), Pampas XV (27-22) and DHL Western Province (16-8).

However, since then they have won five of their last six games, which included a 47-34 semi-final victory in Kimberley over GWK Griquas, as well as a nail-biting 28-26 quarter-final win over the MTN Lions in Johannesburg. The visitors have won four of their six matches played outside Pretoria. Their only away defeats were against the Sharks XV and the Pampas XV earlier this year.

Meanwhile the Modimola Primary School from the village of Modimola in Mafikeng was the proud winner of a 15-seater Toyota Quantum following a lucky draw which was held at the conclusion of SARU and Vodacom’s Schools Challenge, which formed part of the competition’s campaign of bringing rugby to the community.
SARU will do the official handover of the minibus which will be utilized for future rugby and sport activities in that community before the kickoff of the Vodacom Cup final between the Pampas XV and the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Profert Olën Park on Friday evening.

A total of 1759 learners from several provincial rugby unions participated in this challenge, which provided rugby education and skills to aspiring rugby players. SARU, competition sponsor Vodacom together with the development offices of the various provinces which hosted community matches; and teachers of the participating schools, presented basic rugby training sessions at these Vodacom Cup games.

Aspiring rugby players were put through their paces on game days and participated in rugby basic obstacle courses where they had the opportunity to apply their passing, catching, kicking as well as side-stepping skills.

Pampas XV road to the final:

Date Fixture Result
26-Feb-11 Pampas XV 52 Tasol Solar Griffons 29 W
04-Mar-11 MTN Golden Lions 6 Pampas XV 15 W
12-Mar-11 Pampas XV 27 Vodacom Blue Bulls 22 W
18-Mar-11 GWK Griquas 29 Pampas XV 32 W
26-Mar-11 Pampas XV 38 Platinum Leopards 20 W
01-Apr-11 Ford Pumas 20 Pampas XV 46 W
09-Apr-11 Pampas XV 57 Valke 15 W
15-Apr-11 Welwitschias 10 Pampas XV 52 W
29-Apr-11 Pampas XV 41 Toyota FS Cheetahs 34 W
06-May-11 Pampas XV 41 Sharks XV 26 W

Vodacom Blue Bulls’ road to the final:

Date Fixture Result
26-Feb-11 Sharks XV 30 Vodacom Blue Bulls 19 L
05-Mar-11 Vodacom Blue Bulls 17 Boland Cavaliers 20 L
12-Mar-11 Pampas XV 27 Vodacom Blue Bulls 22 L
19-Mar-11 Vodacom Blue Bulls 8 DHL Western Province 16 L
25-Mar-11 Toyota FS Cheetahs 21 Vodacom Blue Bulls 45 W
02-Apr-11 Vodacom Blue Bulls 29 EP Kings 28 W
08-Apr-11 Border Bulldogs 8 Vodacom Blue Bulls 34 W
16-Apr-11 Vodacom Blue Bulls 23 SWD Eagles 25 L
30-Apr-11 MTN Golden Lions 26 Vodacom Blue Bulls 28 W
07-May-11 GWK Griquas 34 Vodacom Blue Bulls 47 W

Vodacom Cup 2011 Stats:
Leading Points’ Scorers:
T C P D Pts
Lionel Cronje DHL Western Province 4 21 11 0 95
Louis Strydom Toyota FS Cheetahs 0 21 12 1 81
Nicolas Sanchez Pampas XV 1 19 12 0 79
Marnitz Boshoff Vodacom Blue Bulls 1 11 16 1 78
Coenie van Wyk Ford Pumas 3 15 10 0 75
Willie Le Roux Boland Cavaliers 4 21 4 0 74
Rudi Vogt GWK Griquas 1 18 10 0 71
Tiaan van Wyk Tasol Solar Griffons 0 18 9 1 66
Santiago Iglesias Pampas XV 1 24 3 0 62
Kyle Hendricks Valke 4 9 6 0 56
Vodacom Cup (2011) – Leading Try Scorers:
JJ Engelbrecht DHL Western Province 10
Juan Imhoff Pampas XV 10
Kobus de Kock Sharks XV 7
Agustin Gosio Pampas XV 7
Howard Noble SWD Eagles 7
Wesley Wilkins GWK Griquas 7
Thabang Molefe Tasol Solar Griffons 6
Wilmaure Louw GWK Griquas 6
Mark Richards Sharks XV 6
Joaquin Tuculet Pampas XV 6

Vodacom Cup Final – Additional stats:
Vodacom Cup Winners:
1998 – Griquas
1999 – Golden Lions
2000 – Free State Cheetahs
2001 – Blue Bulls
2002 – Golden Lions
2003 – Golden Lions
2004 – Golden Lions
2005 – Griquas
2006 – Valke
2007 – Griquas
2008 – Blue Bulls
2009 – Griquas
2010 – Blue Bulls

Results of Vodacom Cup Finals:
1998 Griquas 57 Golden Lions 0 Kimberley
1999 Golden Lions 73 Griquas 7 Johannesburg
2000 Free State 44 Griquas 24 Bloemfontein
2001 Blue Bulls 42 Boland Kavaliers 24 Pretoria
2002 Lions 54 Blue Bulls 38 Johannesburg
2003 Blue Bulls 17 Golden Lions 26 Pretoria
2004 Golden Lions 35 Blue Bulls 16 Johannesburg
2005 Griquas 27 Leopards 25 Kimberley
2006 Valke 25 Wildebeest 17 Brakpan
2007 Griquas 33 Blue Bulls 29 Kimberley
2008 Blue Bulls 25 Free State 21 Pretoria
2009 Blue Bulls 19 Griquas 28 Pretoria
2010 Blue Bulls 31 Free State 29 Pretoria

Vodacom Cup Final – Referees:
1998 – Jonathan Kaplan
1999 – Tappe Henning
2000 – Carl Spannenberg
2001 – Mark Lawrence
2002 – Eugene Daniels
2003 – Andy Turner
2004 – Shaun Veldsman
2005 – Linston Manuels
2006 – Johann Meuwesen
2007 – Jaco Peyper
2008 – Francois Veldsman
2009 – Phillip Bosch
2010 – Jason Jaftha
2011 – Stuart Berry

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