The Vodacom Bulls will host DHL Western Province and the Cell C Sharks will entertain Tafel Lager Griquas in the semi-finals of the Carling Currie Cup next weekend, after a dramatic finish to the league phase of the competition.
A 13-13 draw between Tafel Lager Griquas and the New Nation Pumas earlier on Saturday in Kimberley opened the door for DHL Western Province to sneak into the play-offs, but only if they managed to beat Cell C Sharks in Durban.
The Cape side kicked that door down with a five try win over the KwaZulu-Natalians and in the process edged out the Lowvelders, who finished on 34 points, one behind DHL WP and Tafel Lager Griquas, who both finished on 35 points.
Competition rules stipulate that where teams are tied on the log, points differential between those side is the first consideration to determine who finishes above the other.
As the Northern Cape side won both encounters against their Western Cape foes, they finished third and will travel to Durban to meet the second placed Cell C Sharks, who finished on 40 log points.
The Vodacom Bulls had to fight off a determined Toyota Cheetahs outfit in Pretoria earlier on Saturday, with the 39-36 win securing the top spot for them and 49 log points, which will see them host the Cape side in the semi-finals.
The final match details will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.
Click on the link for the full match report.
A late try by Chris Hollis saw Tafel Lager Griquas selvage a 13-all draw with the New Nation Pumas in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon to punch their ticket to the Carling Currie Cup playoffs for the first time since 1998.
The Lowvelders seemed to be in control holding a 13-6 lead with ten minutes left, but Hollis scored a converted try to bring the home side right back into the match at Tafel Lager Park.
The Pumas opted not to kick at goal when they were awarded a penalty with three minutes remaining – a decision they will rue as they coughed up the ball after well over 10 phases, which saw the game ended in a draw.
Tafel Lager Griquas 13 (3) – Try: Chris Hollis. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalty goals: Whitehead (2).
New Nation Pumas 13 (5) – Tries: Tapiwa Mafura, Sebastián de Klerk. Penalty goal: Eddie Fouché.
The Vodacom Bulls had a home semi-final guaranteed and at times played some distracted rugby, with their minds seemingly on next weekend, and almost paid the price.
Two late tries by the Toyota Cheetahs, who were already out of the play-off race, had the home side in real trouble and they needed some determined defence to secure the result.
The Vodacom Bulls were leading 39-24 with 15 minutes left when the Free Staters started their charge.
Vodacom Bulls 39 (24)- Tries: Marco Jansen van Vuren, Elrigh Louw, Jan-Hendrik Wessels (2), Madosh Tambwe. Conversions: Johan Goosen (4). Penalty goals: Goosen (2).
Toyota Cheetahs 36 (24) – Tries: Mihlali Mosi, Duncan Saal, Penalty Try, Cohen Jasper, Malcolm Jaer. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (3). Penalty goal: Pienaar.
DHL Western Province showed great character, skill and desire to secure a 35-24 bonus-point win over the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday evening to sneak into the Carling Currie Cup semi-finals.
The draw between Tafel Lager Griquas and the New Nation Pumas earlier in the day meant the Capetonians had a mountain to climb, having to secure a full-house or win by at least 24 points to snatch the fourth qualifying spot from the Lowvelders.
They scored three second half tries to upset the vaunted hosts in spectacular fashion, after the home side were up 17-14 at the break.
Cell C Sharks 24 (17) – Tries: Yaw Penxe (2), Phepsi Buthelezi. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3). Penalty goal: Bosch.
DHL Western Province 35 (14) – Tries: Dan du Plessis (2), Paul de Wet, JJ Kotze, Edwill van der Merwe. Conversions: Tim Swiel (5).
Issued by SA Rugby Communications