Griquas will host the SWD Eagles in a top-of-the-table clash in round three of the Currie Cup qualifiers, while the Sharks XV and EP Kings will be gunning for their first wins. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The new qualifying competition has caused almost as much confusion off the field as it has delivered surprise results on it. Let's make it clear: the six Super Rugby unions will automatically qualify for the Premier Division regardless of where they finish on the 15-team log. The top nine will then be completed with the three non-Super Rugby union teams boasting the most log points. As it stands, those three spots will be taken by Griquas, Boland and SWD.
Heading into round three, the Free State Cheetahs will be hoping to return to winning ways against Western Province in Bloemfontein following their dramatic 20-17 loss to the Blue Bulls last weekend. It will be a tough task, though, as WP will be fresh coming off a bye.
In the Gauteng derby, the Blue Bulls take on the Golden Lions, with both teams looking to build on their strong performances last weekend.
Having lost to Boland and Border, the Sharks will be desperate to claim a convincing win when they host Namibia's Welwitchias, who are second last in the standings.
The most important clash of the round sees Griquas welcome the Eagles to Kimberley. Both teams have collected maximum log points from their first two outings and the winner will open up a lead at the top of the table.
In other matches, the struggling EP Kings are at home to Border, who are just one point adrift of the competition's pacesetters, the Leopards are up against the Valke, and the Pumas have the daunting task of upsetting the impressive Boland.
Round 3 fixtures:
Free State XV vs Western Province
Pumas vs Boland Cavaliers
Leopards vs Valke
Golden Lions XV vs Blue Bulls
Sharks XV vs Welwitchias
EP Kings vs Border Bulldogs
Griquas vs SWD Eagles
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images