The might of the North and South clash on Friday evening in Kimberley in the 15th Vodacom Cup final, when GWK Griquas host DHL Western Province.
These two sides not only came out tops in the two pools, but were also impressive in their playoff matches in the last fortnight, advancing to the final with relative ease.
It would take a very strong argument to say that the two most deserving teams are not in Friday’s final. DHL WP have not lost once this season, while GWK Griquas were only pipped at the post in their pool match against the MTN Lions.
Not only have these two sides collected the most log points, but they’ve also scored the most tries in the competition (Griquas with 40), but they’ve also conceded the least (WP with 16, the same as the Ford Pumas, whom they beat in last weekend’s semifinal in Cape Town).
GWK Griquas coach Pote Human might disagree, but the history book would suggest the team from the Northern Cape would be the favourites on Friday. Not only are they playing in their seventh Vodacom Cup final, but they are hosting their fourth and are aiming for their fifth title.
And of the three finals they have hosted in Kimberley, in 1998, 2005 and 2007, GWK Griquas have never lost.
On the contrary, DHL WP will be playing in their first-ever final at this level. But this Capetonian team know how to win – in the last two seasons under coach John Dobson, they’ve only lost once, in last year’s quarterfinals (they also drew one game in 2011).
Only six teams have won the Vodacom Cup – GWK Griquas and the MTN Golden Lions (four times each), the Vodacom Blue Bulls (three), the Toyota Free State XV, Valke and Pampas XV (once each).
VODACOM CUP FINAL
GWK Griquas v DHL Western Province
Date: Friday, May 18 2012
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge and Pieter Janse van Vuuren
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee
GWK GRIQUAS: Francois Brummer, Rocco Jansen, PJ Vermeulen, Matthew Rosslee, Wilmaure Louw, Marnitz Boshoff, Jacques Coetzee; Leon Karemaker, Jonathan Adendorf, Jaco Nepgen, Ligtoring Landman, Edwin Hewitt, Lourens Adriaanse, Ryno Barnes (captain), Janro van Niekerk. Replacements: Simon Westraadt, Steph Roberts, Ivann Espag, Chase Minnaar, Marnus Hugo, Jean Stemmet, Rudi Vogt.
DHL WESTERN PROVINCE: Kurt Coleman, Danie Poolman, JP du Plessis, Marcel Brache, Ederies Arendse, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom (vice-captain); Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), Tyrone Holmes, Rohan Kitshoff, Quinn Roux, Hilton Lobberts, Tom Botha, Sidney Tobias, Schalk Ferreira. Replacements (from): Rob Herring, Deon Carstens, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Reuben Johannes, Rick Schroeder, Mike van der Spuy, Berton Klaasen, Damian de Allende, Gerbrandt Grobler.
ROAD TO THE FINAL:
DHL WESTERN PROVINCE
10 March: beat Regent Boland Kavaliers 51-22 in Cape Town
17 March: beat the Sharks XV 17-15 in Durban
24 March: beat EP Kings 30-25 in Cape Town
31 March: beat Border Bulldogs 31-7 in East London
14 April: beat Pampas XV 20-16 in Stellenbosch
21 April: beat SWD Eagles 29-14 in Oudtshoorn
28 April: beat Toyota Free State XV 42-31 in Durbanville
5 May: beat MTN Golden Lions 58-34 in Cape Town (quarterfinal)
12 May: beat Ford Pumas 33-20 in Cape Town (semifinal)
10 March: beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 36-17 in Pretoria
17 March: beat Griffons 55-10 in Kimberley
31 March: beat Ford Pumas 21-20 in Witbank
14 April: lost to MTN Golden Lions 35-30 in Kimberley
21 April: beat Leopards 42-40 in Potchefstroom
26 April: beat Valke 83-3 in Kimberley
4 May: beat Pampas XV 26-18 in Kimberley (quarterfinal)
11 May: beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 30-17 in Kimberley (semifinal)
VODACOM CUP FINALS:
1998: GWK Griquas beat MTN Golden Lions 57-0
1999: MTN Golden Lions beat GWK Griquas 73-7
2000: Toyota Free State XV beat GWK Griquas 44-24
2001: Vodacom Blue Bulls beat Regent Boland Kavaliers 42-24
2002: MTN Golden Lions beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 54-38
2003: MTN Golden Lions beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 26-17
2004: MTN Golden Lions beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 35-16
2005: GWK Griquas beat Leopards 27-25
2006: Valke beat Sharks XV 25-17
2007: GWK Griquas beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 33-29
2008: Vodacom Blue Bulls beat Toyota Free State XV 25-21
2009: GWK Griquas beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 28-19
2010: Vodacom Blue Bulls beat Toyota Free State XV 31-29
2011: Pampas XV beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 14-9