Looks like a Sharks vs Free State semi-final in Durban

2009-10-01 00:00

THE Currie Cup play-offs on October 17 seem certain to be played at coastal venues of Durban and Cape Town, home of the Sharks and Western Province, with the Blue Bulls and Free State completing the semi-final line-up.

The Sharks found in the Super 14 that nothing can be taken for granted, but with their Springboks returning they would be expected to have the beating of the Lions this Saturday and Griquas in Kimberley the following weekend. This would guarantee them a home semi-final, but they need bonus points for four tries in both these games to head the log and ensure a possible home final.

Western Province, a point behind the Sharks on the log, but in sublime form in thumping Griquas in the Newlands rain last Saturday, will romp home this weekend against Boland and they then travel to Ellis Park to play the Lions in their final game. Again, they should take maximum points from both games to keep the pressure on the Sharks until the end.

The Blue Bulls are in fourth spot at present, but their Boks are returning and they should have the beating of both Griquas at Loftus and the Leopards in their final game to advance to third on the log.

The luckless Griquas, who have challenged bravely all season and are third on the log, have the misfortune to bump into the Bulls and the Sharks at the worst possible time. While most provinces have played the Sharks and Bulls without their many Springboks, Griquas meet the two powerhouses at close to full strength on successive Saturdays, and they may well not gain another log point and they could be overtaken by the Bulls, Free State and even the Lions if the Ellis Park-based team can beat both the Sharks and WP.

Free State play the Leopards (home) and Boland (away), and they are likely to jump into the semi-finals at the expense of Griquas.

That’s how it looks at the moment — a Sharks vs Free State semi-final in Durban and a WP play-off against the Bulls in Cape Town.

Of course, if the Sharks falter, against either the Lions or Griquas, and fail to pick up bonus point wins, the title-holders could end second on the log and that would mean a home semi-final against the Blue Bulls in Durban in a repeat of last year’s Currie Cup final.

Remaining games:

Sharks vs Lions (h) and Griquas (a)

WP vs Boland (h) and Lions (a)

Griquas vs Blue Bulls (a) and Sharks (h)

Blue Bulls vs Griquas (h) and Leopards (a)

Lions vs Sharks (a) and WP (h)

Free State vs Leopards (h) and Boland (a)

Leopards vs FS (a) and Bulls (h).

Boland vs WP (a) and FS (h)

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