The Vodacom Bulls will host the Cell C Sharks in the first Carling Currie Cup final at Loftus Versfeld since 2009 after the teams held their nerve in testing semi-finals on Saturday to be the last sides standing.
The last time these teams met in the final was in 2008, with the Cell C Sharks clinching the coveted gold trophy with a 14-9 victory in Durban.
The table-topping Vodacom Bulls guaranteed their home final with a 26-21 victory against the Xerox Lions in the first semi-final in Pretoria, with a brace of tries by former SA Schools wing Stravino Jacobs, and a solid kicking performance by experienced flyhalf, Morné Steyn, steering them to victory.
Cell C Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch, meanwhile, was instrumental in the Durbanites’ 19-9 victory over DHL Western Province in Cape Town, earning a full house with the boot as kicked three penalty goals, a drop goal and a conversion for a personal tally of 14 points.
The Carling Currie Cup final will play out at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 30 January – the kick-off time will be confirmed as soon as possible.
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The Vodacom Bulls overcame an early second-half fightback by the Xerox Lions in a thrilling Carling Currie Cup semi-final at their fortress, Loftus Versfeld, for a 26-21 win.
The men from Pretoria showed patience on attack and capitalised on their point-scoring chances in the first half to build up an 8-0 lead, with Steyn kicking two penalty goals and Jacobs scoring the only try of the half.
The second half proved to be a tightly fought affair, as the Johannesburgers scored back-to-back tries in quick succession, but their efforts were cancelled out as the Vodacom Bulls scored two tries of their own – with Jacobs wrapping up his brace – while Steyn added another penalty goal.
Vodacom Bulls 26 (11) – Tries: Stravino Jacobs (2), Johan Grobbelaar. Conversion: Morné Steyn. Penalty goals: Steyn (3).
Xerox Lions 21 (0) – Tries: Willem Alberts, Wandisile Simelane, Burger Odendaal. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3).
The Cell C Sharks will travel to Pretoria for the Carling Currie Cup final next weekend after beating DHL Western Province by 19-9 in a hard-fought semi-final at DHL Newlands, with a superb defensive display securing the Durbanites the victory.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks and led 9-0 after only 12 minutes, with Bosch slotting three long-range penalty goals as the Capetonians were made to pay for some early lethargy.
The tide slowly turned though, after a slew of penalties against the visitors and a yellow card to Ox Nche (prop) for repeated infringements.
Tim Swiel (DHL WP flyhalf) added two late penalty goals to shrink the Durbanites’ lead to just three points at the end of the first half, and when he added his third penalty goal shortly after halftime, an exciting half was on the cards.
More mistakes crept into play and the kickers’ boots dominated, with the score remaining 12-9 until the 68th minute.
The momentum switched when DHL WP replacement flanker Ernst van Rhyn was yellow carded, and Cell C Sharks lock JJ van der Mescht crashed over, with Bosch adding the extras to hand his team a 10-point win.
DHL Western Province 9 (6) – Penalty goals: Tim Swiel (3).
Cell C Sharks 19 (9) – Try: JJ van der Mescht. Conversion: Curwin Bosch. Penalty goals: Bosch (3). Drop goal: Bosch.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications