Western Province and Cell C Sharks will host the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Xerox Golden Lions respectively next Saturday in the semifinals of the Currie Cup Premier Division, sponsored by DirectAxis Financial Services and Nashua.

The matches, to be played in Cape Town and Durban, will extend an amazing season of breath-taking action in the country’s premier domestic rugby competition and are just reward for the two sides, who produced the most consistent performances during the season.

DHL Western Province finished top of the log after beating the Vodacom Blue Bulls 34-7 in a match that was abandoned at halftime when weather conditions – lightning and torrential rain – made it unsafe to continue at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. This win, on the back of four tries in the opening 40 minutes, resulted in an undefeated run in regulation play for the defending champions.

The Cell C Sharks finished strongly as well, beating Tafel Lager Griquas in Kimberley, a venue respected by all teams. The visitors had fallen prey to the hosts at Tafel Lager Park in the past, but a strong display by their backline saw the Durban side record a solid 41-11 victory, their fifth in six outings.

The visitors scored seven tries to one, with six of those coming from the outside backs, with wingers Lwazi Mvovo and his replacement, Leolin Zas, scoring a brace each.

On Friday, the Xerox Golden Lions confirmed their play-off spot with a hard-fought 33-21 win over the iCOLLEGE Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium. The Xerox Golden Lions held a 21-14 lead and, in the second half (which was also delayed slightly due to a passing thunderstorm) scored three more tries to claim the bonus point.

The Pumas needed to win to have any chance of making the playoff stages, but they were always playing catch-up after conceding an early intercept try to Lionel Mapoe in the opening minute.

The Cell C Sharks/Xerox Golden Lions clash at GROWTHPOINT King’s Park will kick off at 14h30 and the DHL Western Province/Vodacom Blue Bulls match at DHL Newlands will start at 17h00.

Results and scorers (click on the link for the match report)

iCOLLEGE Pumas 21 (14), Xerox Golden Lions 33 (21).

iCOLLEGE Pumas – Tries: Devon Williams, Francois Kleinhans, Ryan Nell. Conversions: Chris Smith, Kobus Marais (2)

Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Lionel Mapoe, Corne Fourie (2), Courtnall Skosan (2). Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4)

Tafel Lager Griquas 11 (6), Cell C Sharks 41 (24).

Tafel Lager Griquas – Try: Kyle Steyn. Penalties: George Whitehead (2).

Cell C Sharks – Tries: Jeremy Ward, Lwazi Mvovo (2), Akker van der Merwe, Leolin Zas (2), Sbu Nkosi. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3).

Vodacom Blue Bulls 7 (7), DHL Western Province 34 (34).

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Try: Ruan Steenkamp. Conversion: Tinus de Beer.

DHL Western Province – Tries: Kobus van Dyk, Jaco Coetzee, Sergeal Petersen, Penalty Try. Conversions: SP Marais (3). Penalties: Marais (2).

Currie Cup First Division

SWD will host the Hino Valke at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday, 19 October at 18h00 in the final of the Currie Cup First Division, sponsored by DirectAxis Financial Services and Nashua.

The Eagles overcame the Griffons 22-6 in George on Friday in what proved to be a kicking contest to earn hosting rights, while the Hino Valke delivered a very impressive 59-19 win over the Leopards in Kempton Park.

The Eagles kicked five penalties to the two from the visitors as conditions made running rugby very tricky, with the only try of the match coming courtesy of Tyler Fischer for the home side.

The Leopards, finalists in the last four years, held a 16-12 lead at the break, but seven second half tries by the hosts totally overwhelmed the Potchefstroom side. Four of those tries came from replacement flanker, Martin Sithole.

It will be the first time SWD and the Hino Valke will face off in the First Division final.

Results and scorers (click on the link for the match report)

SWD Eagles 22 (9), Down Touch Griffons 6 (3)

SWD Eagles – Try. Tyler Fischer. Conversion: Divan Nel. Penalties: Divan Nel (5)

Down Touch Griffons – Penalties: Duan Pretorius (2).

Hino Valke 59 (12), Leopards 19 (16)

Hino Valke – Tries: Marco Klopper, Anrich Richter, Etienne Taljaard, Grant Janke, Martin Sithole (4), Johan Pretorius. Conversions: Andries Truter, Anrich Richter (6).

Leopards – Try: Lungelo Gosa. Conversion: Schalk Hugo. Penalties: Hugo (3). Drop Goal: Hugo.

●The SA Rugby Provincial Under-20 Championship final will also take place in George. Down Touch Griffons and iCOLLEGE Pumas will face each other at 15h30 at Outeniqua Park.

Both finals will be broadcast on SuperSport


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