A lot at stake for Vodacom WP
06/10/2010
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.
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.

Absa Currie Cup - The Semi-final contenders:

The Sharks, who are currently in first position on the Absa Currie Cup log with 52 points, have already confirmed their status as one of the two sides that will host a semi-final later this month, irrespective of the result at Newlands on Saturday.

Currently: In first position (52)

Best possible finish: First

Worst possible finish: First

Vodacom Western Province have their Absa Currie Cup home semi-final aspirations in their own hands. All they need to do in order to book a final-four clash at Newlands will be to defeat The Sharks on Saturday. Defeat at Newlands for the hosts on Saturday though could see them relegated to third or even fourth position on the log which will result in Vodacom WP having to play an away semi-final.

Currently: In second place (44)

Best possible finish: Second

Worst possible finish: Fourth

The Vodacom Free State Cheetahs are still contenders to host an Absa Currie Cup semi-final. They must achieve maximum points from their clash against the Platinum Leopards and hope that The Sharks defeat Vodacom Western Province at Newlands. If the Bloemfontein side fail to achieve any log points from their game against the Platinum Leopards, they could mathematically fall out of the top four and be overtaken by the Xerox Lions on points difference.

Currently: In third position (42)

Best possible finish: Second

Worst possible finish: Fifth

The defending champions, like the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs, are still contenders to host an Absa Currie Cup semi-final. The Vodacom Blue Bulls must achieve maximum points from their clash in Kimberley against the GWK Griquas on Saturday and hope that Vodacom Western Province and the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs lose this weekend. The Pretoria side could mathematically still fall out of the top four on point difference if they fail to gain any log points against the GWK Griquas and the Xerox Lions recorded a huge victory over the Barloworld Toyota Pumas.

Currently: In fourth position (42)

Best possible finish: Second

Worst possible finish: Fifth

The Xerox Lions, who are currently in fifth position on the Absa Currie Cup log, must defeat the Barloworld Toyota Pumas on Friday and hope that the Vodacom Blue Bulls or the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs fail to achieve any log points from their games this weekend for them to sneak in to the top four. The Johannesburg side will also have to secure a huge victory at Coca-Cola Park to improve their points' difference in order to overtake the Vodacom Blue Bulls or the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs.

Currently: In fifth position (38)

Best possible finish: Third

Worst possible finish: Fifth

Vodacom Western Province v The Sharks

Newlands Stadium, Cape Town

Saturday 9 October 2010. Kickoff: 17h05

Referee: Mark Lawrence (SARRA)

Assistant referees: B Crouse (AR1), M van Zyl (AR2)

TMO: Shaun Veldsman

Vodacom Western Province's recent form at home:

  • The hosts suffered their first home defeat of the 2010 season in week eight after the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs recorded a 29-24 victory at Newlands.
  • Vodacom WP secured home victories over the GWK Griquas (48-32), Platinum Leopards (59-17), Vodacom Blue Bulls (15-12), Xerox Lions (32-0) and the Barloworld Toyota Pumas (54-13).
  • Province conceded one home defeat (a 21-19 semi-final loss to the Vodacom Blue Bulls) during last year's Absa Currie Cup.

    The Sharks' recent form on the road:

  • The Durban side conceded three away defeats - against the Xerox Lions (22-20), Vodacom Blue Bulls (40-34) in week nine, and also suffered a 40-34 loss to the GWK Griquas in the opening weekend of the 2010 Absa Currie Cup.
  • The Sharks though secured victories on the road against the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs (25-13) and Platinum Leopards (51-6) in the 2010 Absa Currie Cup.
  • The Sharks suffered one defeat on the road during the 2009 Absa Currie Cup against Vodacom Western Province. They were also the only team to defeat the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld during last year's competition.

    Additional game information:

  • Vodacom WP flyhalf Willem de Waal is currently the leading points' scorer this season - 183. De Waal has accumulated 1374 points in his Absa Currie Cup career - 259 points for the Platinum Leopards, 811 for the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs and 326 for WP since joining them in 2008.
  • The Vodacom WP pivot has twice scored 212 points in a season, back in 2006 and 2007 for the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs.
  • The Sharks flyhalf Patrick Lambie is currently the fourth leading points' scorer in the 2010 Absa Currie Cup - 163.
  • Vodacom Western Province winger Gio Aplon, who made his Springbok debut this year, represented the SA Sevens during 2007 - 2009. He is currently the fourth leading try-scorer in the 2010 Absa Currie Cup with seven tries.
  • The Sharks winger Lwazi Mvovo is currently the second leading try-scorer in the 2010 Absa Currie Cup - 12. He is seven tries behind GWK Griquas winger Bjorn Basson.
  • Vodacom WP scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage and GWK Griquas' Johan van Deventer represented the SA Under-20s during the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship in Wales.
  • The Sharks lock Alistair Hargreaves made his Springbok debut in Cardiff earlier this year. He also represented the SA Schools in 2004.
  • The Sharks No 8 Ryan Kankowski has played in 15 Tests for the Springboks. He also represented the SA Emerging Boks in 2007.
  • Referee Mark Lawrence will handle the game between the Vodacom Western Province and The Sharks.


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