Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

WP’s chance to win Vodacom?

I am no real fan of the Vodacom Cup, and based on the fact that it cannot even come close to filling the school and club grounds that games are played at, I am thinking I am not in the minority …

I would much rather see the cell phone company’s easily made cash spent on a proper club rugby structure and tournament, but I have harped on that before …

And while club rugby is hotting up, the winner of the 15th Vodacom Cup will be crowned in a few weeks’ time, so it’s probably worth taking a gander at this weekend’s quarter-final action …

Seven of last year’s eight quarter-finalists are back, the team missing out being Free State, replaced by Super Rugby wannabes EP.

Vodacom Cup Quarter-finals:
Friday, May 4 2012
Griquas v Pampas, Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Pumas v EP, Kick-off: 19:10
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

Saturday, May 5 2012
Sharks v Blue Bulls, Kick-off: 14:00
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe

Western Province v Golden Lions, Kick-off: 15:30
Venue: City Park, Cape Town
Referee: Ben Crouse

WP prop Tom Botha (Gallo Images)

WP prop Tom Botha (Gallo Images)

The top side in the South Section and the only unbeaten team thus far this year with seven victories from seven matches, WP coach john Dobson will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s quarter-finals, when they lost their home quarter-final against the Sharks 21-19. They have only reached the semi-finals twice and lost four quarter-finals, but this year WP seem to have the playing resources to go all the way. The Golden Lions have not had things go their way in 2012, finishing fourth in the North Section, having won three of their six league matches. While the Capetonians will take to the field as favourites, they will be mindful of the Golden Lions’ solid playoff record, even though the Gautengers have not gone further than the quarter-finals since winning the last of their four titles way back in 2004.

The Pretorians, who ended third in the North Section with four wins, one draw and one defeat, have been superb in Vodacom Cup playoffs, reaching the final every year since 2006. In the history of the competition, the Blue Bulls have won the title three times, finished runners up six times, lost in the semi-finals once and lost in the quarter-finals once as well. On the contrary, the KwaZulu-Natalians have only reached one final and lost in five semi-finals and one quarter-final.

The Argentineans have to travel to Kimberley, where the face Griquas, along with the Golden Lions the most successful Vodacom Cup team ever with four titles. Griquas won the North Section (five wins and one defeat), while the Pampas XV struggled to replicate their 2011 form and finished fourth in the South, winning four and losing three league matches. In their 10 playoff appearances, the team from the Northern Cape have only lost in the quarter-finals once before.

On Friday evening in Nelspruit, the two quarter-finalists that have the worst playoff record of all the teams that qualified this year, the Pumas and EP, square off. Between them, they have only reached the Cup playoffs four times – the Kings have lost both their quarter-final appearances, while the Pumas have lost one quarter- and one semi-final. The Kings’ playoff record would’ve been better if it wasn’t for last year’s ineligibility debacle. The Pumas finished second in the North Section by virtue of getting two more bonus points than the Blue Bulls as they also won four, lost one and drew one in 2012. The Kings’ record this season reads won five, lost two and they finished third in the South.

Previous VC Winners:
1998: Griquas
1999: Golden Lions
2000: Cheetahs
2001: Blue Bulls
2002: Golden Lions
2003: Golden Lions
2004: Golden Lions
2005: Griquas
2006: Valke
2007: Griquas
2008: Blue Bulls
2009: Griquas
2010: Blue Bulls
2011: Pampas

And also looking pretty good for WP rugby, are the Monday schoolboy rugby results from the various tournaments held round the country …

Wynberg 50 – 0 St. Benedict’s
SACS 31 – 0 St. John’s College
Drostdy 29 – 8 Helpmekaar
Rondebosch 13 – 0 St. Stithians
Diamantveld 27 – 32 Maritzburg College
Glenwood 7 – 32 Outeniqua
Grey College 41 – 22 EG Jansen
Paarl Boys 32 – 28 Monument
Affies 22 – 32 Paul Roos
Paarl Gym 19 – 7 Waterkloof
Oakdale25- 23 HTS Louis Botha
Boland Landbou 20 – 18 Ben Vorster
Framesby 35 – 10 HTS Middelburg

Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

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