Kings could secure home semifinal
September 13, 2012
The Eastern Province Kings will look to move one step closer to a possible home final in the Absa Currie Cup First Division when they host the third-placed Griffons in Port Elizabeth on Friday night in the first of four crucial Round 12 matches taking place this weekend.

With just three rounds remaining in the eight-team competition, the unbeaten Kings, with 50 log points, hold a commanding eight-point lead over their nearest rivals, the Ford Pumas, who have 42.

Victory over the Griffons on Friday will guarantee the Kings a home semi-final and move coach Alan Solomons' men to within one win of guaranteeing a home final, should they progress that far.

A win for the Griffons, meanwhile, will almost certainly mean a place in the last four for the men from Welkom – a scenario which would mean that the Leopards and SWD Eagles would fight things out for the remaining semi-final slot.

In Friday's other match, the fourth-placed Leopards host the Valke, in seventh, in Potchefstroom, and the home side will look to keep the fast-finishing Eagles at arm's length by grabbing a full haul of five points.

The Eagles, meanwhile, will travel to Boland Stadium in Wellington on Saturday with similar intentions, although the defending champion Regent Boland Kavaliers will be no pushovers despite a poor season that has produced just two wins in their 11 matches.

And in the weekend's final match, the Ford Pumas will look to keep the pressure on the Kings when they play the winless Border Bulldogs at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit – a match which, if current form dictates, should give coach Jimmy Stonehouse's men the five points they need to start thinking of their own home semi-final.

Pumas flyhalf JC Roos remains top of the First Division point-scoring log after Round 11, with 131 points made up of two tries, 32 conversions and 19 penalties. Just 15 points behind Roos in second place on 116 is Leopards flyhalf André Pretorius, with EP Kings No 10 George Whitehead third on 95.

Four players, namely Leopards wing Allister Kettledas, Valke fullback JW Bell, Ford Pumas centre JW Jonker and SWD Eagles scrumhalf Johan Herbst, jointly lead the try-scoring stakes with eight touchdowns, with a further five players on seven.

This weekend's fixtures – Round 12:

Eastern Province Kings vs Griffons

Date: Friday, 14 September
Kickoff: 19h00
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistants: Gerrie de Bruin, Christie du Preez
Last meeting: 28 July in Welkom (First round): Kings won 34-10

Leopards vs Valke

Date: Friday, 14 September
Kickoff: 19h10
Venue: Profert Olën Park, Potchefstroom
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistants: Marius van der Westhuizen, Pieter de Villiers
Television match official: Deon van Blommenstein
Last meeting: 28 July in Kempton Park (First round): Leopards won 51-22

Ford Pumas vs Border Bulldogs

Date: Saturday, 15 September
Kickoff: 15h00
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Tiaan Jonker
Assistants: Local referees
Last meeting: 27 July in East London (First round): Pumas won 51-18

Regent Boland Kavaliers vs SWD Eagles

Date: Saturday, 15 September
Kickoff: 16h00
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Joey Salmans
Assistants: Francois Groenewald, Linston Manuels
Last meeting: 27 July in George (First round): Teams drew 21-21