Border on Saturday showed strong signs that they have what it takes to defend their SARU Women’s Interprovincial title as they cruised to their fifth successive bonus-point victory to secure the top spot on the log for a possible home final in Section 1.
Border and Eastern Province both booked their home semifinals last week, while the Blue Bulls and Western Province also secured their semifinal berths.
But the battle for the top spot on the log was determined this weekend as Border hosted Eastern Province at the BCM Stadium in East London in the final pool round, which Border won 54-10.
The Blue Bulls, meanwhile, pipped Western Province 8-5 in a tightly-fought encounter at the Theo Marais Park in Milnerton, Cape Town, to finish the pool stages in third place.
This means that Border will host Western Province in East London and Eastern Province will take on the Blue Bulls in Port Elizabeth in the semifinals.
These matches, however, will be hosted after the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in August. Should Border win their semifinal, they will be guaranteed their second successive home final.
Border were dominant from the outset against Eastern Province thanks to a solid performance in all facets of their game, which allowed them to build an encouraging 22-0 lead at the break.
Such was the high quality of their performance they crossed the tryline nine times, with the national players scoring most of their tries.
Springbok Women’s captain Mandisa Williams, prop Nwabisa Ngxatu and Lamla Momoti each scored a try, while Fundiswa Plaatjie and Siviwe Basweni earned two tries a piece.
In return Eastern Province managed to score only two unconverted tries in the second half. The defeat for the Port Elizabeth side marked their first of the season.
In stark contrast the clash between Western Province and the Blue Bulls in Cape Town was hard fought as the teams put their bodies on the line on attack and defence, which resulted in each side scoring only one try.
Blue Bulls wing Lifters Moremi scored her team’s try in the first half and Cindy Cant, who has been included in the 26-member squad for the Springbok Women’s Rugby World Cup warm-up to tour London and France from June 25 to July 5, kicked a penalty to push the team into an 8-0 lead at the break.
Western Province, however, hit back with a try in the second half to reduce to deficit to 8-5, but neither team could score further points and the Blue Bulls emerged victorious.
KwaZulu-Natal, meanwhile, finished their disappointing season on a high note against South Western Districts in Durban with their only victory of the season.
With both teams out of the running for semifinal places going into the match, the clash was played purely for pride.
However, both teams played with true determination. South Western Districts boasted a narrow 15-12 half-time lead following a tight first half, but KwaZulu-Natal fought back with intent in the second half and outscored the visitors four tries to three in the match to secure their 31-15 victory.
Meanwhile, Section 2 of the SARU Women’s Interprovincial Series will begin on July 5.
SARU Women’s Interprovincial round five results:
Border 54-10 Eastern Province - BCM Stadium, East London
Western Province 5-8 Blue Bulls - Theo Marais Park, Milnerton, Cape Town
KwaZulu-Natal 31-15 South Western Districts - Harlequins Rugby Club, Durban