Thirteen don’t go into seven – Vodacom Cup Round 6 Preview
April 17, 2013
It’s the penultimate round of the Vodacom Cup pool phase and 14 of the 16 teams in action can still make the quarter-finals, with only one team, the unbeaten Steval Pumas, assured of a place in the playoffs.

For the Regent Boland Cavaliers, SWD Eagles, Valke and Down Touch Griffons, another defeat would probably spell the end of their playoff aspirations.

The South Section is proving to be quite tough this year, with any of the top seven teams on the log still in with a chance to reach the playoffs. Yes, it’s mathematical for the Regent Boland Cavaliers and the SWD Eagles, but if they win and some other results go in their favour, they can still make it.

The Bolanders travel to East London to take on the Border Bulldogs on Friday, and the Eagles have a tough task against the defending champions, DHL Western Province, in Strand on Saturday.

It’s also highly unlikely, but even the unbeaten Sharks XV, who lead the South Section log on 23 points, can still be overtaken by four teams. One bonus point though will be enough to put the KwaZulu-Natalians in the quarter-finals, but they will be eager to continue their winning run into the playoffs.

The Sharks XV travel to Port Elizabeth this weekend for what promises to be an exciting match against the EP Kings on Saturday afternoon. The Kings are fourth on the South Section log on 16 points, level with the ICBC Pampas XV, and still have their destiny in their own hands.

The home team will have to repeat their feat of 2007 though – the last time they managed to beat the Sharks XV (then still called the Wildebeest). The men from EP won that match by 45-0, but lost their next three Vodacom Cup encounters against the KwaZulu-Natalians.

The fifth-placed Toyota Free State XV (13 points), who take on the Argentineans in Stellenbosch on Saturday afternoon, can hardly afford another defeat, but it won’t be easy against the 2011 Vodacom Cup champions.

The Steval Pumas, log leaders in the North Section on 25 points, cannot finish outside the top four. They are followed on the log by the Leopards XV and Vodacom Blue Bulls (both on 18 points) and GWK Griquas and the MTN Golden Lions (both on 12).

Defeat this weekend will probably mean the end of the road for the teams from Kimberley or Johannesburg.

The MTN Golden Lions have a very difficult away fixture on Friday, when they travel to Nelspruit to take on the high-flying Steval Pumas.

It is interesting to note that the MTN Golden Lions have not beaten their Mpumalanga counterparts in the Vodacom Cup since 2002. In that time, the Gautengers lost six straight matches against the Steval Pumas.

GWK Griquas host the Leopards XV at GWK Park in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon. The home team, despite struggling this year, should take to the field as favourites, considering that they had won their last seven encounters in the Vodacom Cup against the side from Potchefstroom, dating back to 2002.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls play the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls in Lephalale (formerly Ellisras) this weekend and are heavy favourites to beat the team from the Far North – along with the Border Bulldogs definitely out of the running for the playoffs.

In the other North Section match this weekend, one of the Down Touch Griffons or the Valke, who play each other in Welkom on Friday, will probably drop out of the race to the quarter-finals, although both are still only in the reckoning on a mathematic probability.

Round 6 fixtures:

Friday, 19 April

Border Bulldogs v Regent Boland Cavaliers Kick-off: 17h05 Venue: Buffalo City Municipality Stadium, East London

Down Touch Griffons v Valke Kick-off: 18h30 Venue: North West Stadium, Welkom

Steval Pumas v MTN Golden Lions Kick-off: 19h10 Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Saturday, 20 April

Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls v Vodacom Blue Bulls Kick-off: 15h00 Venue: Mogol Club, Lephalale

ICBC Pampas XV v Toyota Free State XV Kick-off: 15h00 Venue: AF Markötter Stadium, Stellenbosch

GWK Griquas v Leopards XV Kick-off: 15h30 Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley

DHL Western Province v SWD Eagles Kick-off: 15h30 Venue: Helderberg RFC, Strand

EP Kings v Sharks XV Kick-off: 16h15 Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

2015 Griffons 1st & E Free State Leagues
Thursday, May 28 2015
20:15 - Hennenman vs Welkom Rovers
Vodacom Super Rugby
Friday, May 29 2015
09:35 - Crusaders vs Hurricanes
Trafalgar Park, Nelson
11:40 - Brumbies vs Vodacom Bulls
GIO Stadium, Canberra
19:10 - Cell C Sharks vs Rebels
Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Durban
2015 Golden Lions Pirates Grand Challenge
21:00 - Pirates vs Randfontein
2015 Western Province Super League
21:00 - SK Walmers vs Tygerberg

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