Garsfontein will host Monument in the Virseker Cup semi-finals on Saturday, with Transvalia travelling to Helpmekaar. THEO GARRUN reports.
Helpmekaar finished top of the log after the round-robin phase, so they host fourth-placed Transvalia, while the second and third-placed sides ― Garsfontein and Monument respectively ― meeting in Pretoria.
The Helpmekaar vs Transvalia clash is interesting because, had the competition’s format not been changed this year, they would never have been playing in the top division at all. For many years this tournament, and its earlier iterations, was organised according to the number of learners in the schools – small, medium, big and macro.
On that basis, both Helpmekaar and Transvalia played in the second-tier big school’s section last year, although Helpies didn’t have too many league games as most of the other schools saw them as too strong and wouldn’t play them.
It was that protest, as much as anything else, that brought about the change into the current A (cup), B (plate) and C (shield) divisions, with automatic promotion and relegation at the end of each season. That Helpmekaar and Transvalia both made it into the semis, after meeting all the former macro schools, shows that they have got the format right now.
It’s difficult to predict what will happen in these semi-finals, which are customarily mini-Test matches, in terms of both intensity and safety-first tactics.
When these teams met in the pool stage of the competition, Transvalia beat Helpmekaar 23-22, so there’s clearly little to choose between them, and Garsfontein beat Monument 49-39. Monnas had, however, beaten them comfortably in the final of the Tuks Series earlier on so, again, it’s likely to be a close one.
Neither Helpmekaar nor Transvalia was affected by the SA Schools call-ups over the next two weeks, but Monument have flanker Tristan Dullisear away and Garsfontein will be missing their scrumhalf Jurich Claasens. They will both miss next week’s final as well, should their sides go through.
Monument are the only school to have teams in the semi-finals in all four age groups – U14, U15, U16 and U19. Helpmekaar have three.
The 1st XV games kick off at 12.45pm on Saturday.
U14: Menlopark vs Transvalia, Helpmekaar vs Monument
U15: Menlopark vs Nelspruit, Monument vs EG Jansen
U16 Helpmekaar vs Garsfontein, Monument vs EG Jansen
1stXV: Helpmekaar vs Transvalia, Garsfontein vs Monument.
Photo: Theo Garrun