Two eliminators and a host of permutations make for an intriguing final weekend of Cell C Community Cup action this Saturday, with four places still up for grabs in the Easter Championships, which begin in a fortnight’s time in George.
Title favourites Jonsson College Rovers of KZN have made sure of top spot in Pool A, leaving wild card SK Walmers and visitors GAP Despatch to slug it out in a winner-takes-all bout at what is expected to be a sold-out Green Point Track in Cape Town (kick-off 16h00).
It's a similar scenario in Pool C, where another wild card, Raiders, face an all-or-nothing situation against Rustenburg Impala at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg, where the Longdale side have a good record against the Rustenburgers in recent years.
A bonus-point victory for third-placed Raiders will see them leapfrog Roodepoort and Impala to finish top of the Pool, while defeat will ensure Impala and Roodepoort advance.
In Pool B, Pretoria Police are guaranteed of getting onto the plane to George, but will ensure they finish top should they beat their Bloemfontein counterparts in a 'Battle of the Bobbies' derby at the Police College in Pretoria.
Durbanville-Bellville are favourites to join Police as Pool B's qualifiers, with their opponents, Welkom Rovers, needing a massive victory to stand any chance of overtaking Durbell on points difference.
And in Pool D, Evergreens will want to ensure that George has a team in the Easter Championships when they host another wild card, Roses United of Boland, at the Pacaltsdorp Sports Grounds in a high-stakes match for both sides.
Evergreens will advance should they beat Roses with a bonus point, but defeat, or failure to score four tries, will put Broubart Old Selbornian, who are away to wooden-spoonists White River, in the pound seats.
Such are the permutations that not even Roses United are out of the running – all of which makes for a fascinating final round of pool matches across the country.
Please note: If at the completion of the pool phase, two or more teams are tied on log points, the following criteria will be used to separate the sides:
i) The winner of the match between the two tied teams will advance (should three teams be tied, and no one team have beaten the other two, points difference will be used);
ii) Points difference;
iii) Tries difference;
iv) Most total points;
v) Most total tries;
vi) Coin toss
• College Rovers are guaranteed of finishing top.
• SK Walmers will qualify for George should they beat Despatch.
• Despatch will qualify for George should they beat SK Walmers.
• Despatch will advance on points difference should the teams draw and each score the same number of bonus points; or if the teams draw, Despatch score four tries, and they restrict SK Walmers to fewer than four tries.
• SK Walmers will advance should the teams draw, SK Walmers score four tries, and they restrict Despatch to fewer than four tries.
• Pretoria Police have already qualified and will finish top should they pick up one log point against Bloemfontein Police.
• Durbanville-Bellville will advance should they beat Welkom Rovers.
• Welkom Rovers will advance should they beat Durbanville-Bellville with a bonus point, deny Durbell a bonus point, and win the match by 52 points.
• Rustenburg Impala have already qualified, but will finish first or second depending on the result of their match against Raiders.
• If Raiders beat Impala and score four or more tries, Raiders will finish first, Impala second, and Roodepoort will be knocked out.
• If Raiders beat Impala but don't score four tries, and Impala pick up two bonus points: Impala will finish first, Raiders second, and Roodepoort will be knocked out.
• If Impala beat Raiders: Impala will finish first, Roodepoort second, and Raiders will be knocked out.
• Brakpan are guaranteed of finishing top.
• Evergreens will qualify for George if they beat Roses United with a bonus point.
• If Evergreens beat Roses United but score fewer than four tries, Old Selbornian will advance should they beat White River with a bonus point.
• Roses United will advance should they beat Evergreens with a bonus point, and White River beat Old Selbornian.
Final-round fixtures – Saturday, 16 March:
16h00: SK Walmers vs GAP Despatch (Green Point Track, Cape Town. Ref: Francois Groenewald)
16h00: United Bulk Villagers Worcester vs Jonsson College Rovers (Boland Park, Worcester. Ref: Jadezweni Cwengile)
Matches completed: Aveng Moolmans Sishen
16h00: Pretoria Police vs Bloemfontein Police (Police College, Pretoria. Ref: Lihan Pretorius)
16h30: Durbanville-Bellville vs Welkom Rovers (Durbanville-Bellville Rugby Club. Ref: Juan Sylvestre, Argentina)
Matches completed: African Bombers
16h00: Raiders vs Rustenburg Impala (Bill Jardine Stadium, Johannesburg. Ref: Eugene de Wet)
16h00: Bloemfontein Crusaders vs BB Truck & Tractor Noordelikes (Clive Solomon Stadium, Bloemfontein. Ref: Jaco Kotze)
Matches completed: Roodepoort
16h00: White River vs Broubart Old Selbornian (White River Rugby Club. Ref: Ricus vd Hoven)
16h00: Pacaltsdorp Evergreens vs Roses United (Pacaltsdorp Sports Grounds. Ref: Loyiso Bosman)
Matches completed: Brakpan
George Easter Championship quarter-final fixtures, Thursday 28 March (kick-off times tbc):
QF1 – Winner C (Rustenburg Impala or Raiders) vs Runner-up D (Evergreens, Old Selbornian or Roses Utd)
QF2 – Winner B (Pretoria Police or Durbanville-Bellville) vs Runner-up A (Despatch or SK Walmers)
QF3 – Winner D (Brakpan) vs Runner-up Pool C (Rustenburg Impala or Roodepoort)
QF4 – Winner A (College Rovers) vs Runner-up B (Pretoria Police, Durbanville-Bellville or Welkom Rovers)