It’s knock-out time in Currie Cup First Division
The attention will shift to the battle for final berths in the Currie Cup First Division on Friday, as the four semi-finalists give everything to advance to top two when they take to the field in George and Kempton Park respectively.
Log-leaders, the SWD Eagles, will host the Down Touch Griffons at Outeniqua Park, while the Hino Valke will take on the Leopards at the Barnard Stadium in the penultimate round of action, sponsored by DirectAxis Financial Services and Nashua.
In George, SWD will be highly motivated to earn their first home final since 2010 and their first final berth since 2015 when they meet the Down Touch Griffons. But they will be wary of the visitors who staged a dramatic comeback from a disappointing start to the season to force their way into the top four.
The fact that the Down Touch Griffons have participated in three of the last four Finals will also be in the back of their minds, meaning they will not write off the opposition.
SWD and the Down Touch Griffons have been closely matched on attack this season, with the home side scoring only one point more than their Welkom counterparts. However, the hosts boast the best defensive record in the competition.
In Kempton Park, the Hino Valke will be hunting their third victory in a row against the Leopards in what marks their fourth semi-final in the last five seasons. The match will also mark their second encounter in a row, as they met in in Potchefstroom last week where the Hino Valke ground out a 41-35 victory. All this is expected to set the scene for a thrilling clash.
A victory for the Leopards would see them book their spot in a fourth successive final, while a win for the Hino Valke would mark their first final appearance since 2014.
Interestingly, the men from Kempton Park were the best attacking team during the pool stages, with 305 points in their six matches, however, they were third on the list of the most points conceded, meaning they will target a strong improvement in their defence going into the clash.
Currie Cup First Division Semi-finals:
Friday, 12 October
Hino Valke v Leopards
Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Jaco Pretorius and local appointment
SWD Eagles v Down Touch Griffons
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Referees: Ruhan Meiring and local appointment