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Griffons Tertius Maarman on attack, MyPlayers
Griffons Tertius Maarman on attack, MyPlayers

Can Griffons secure double title?

The Down Touch Griffons Currie Cup First Division and SA Rugby U20 Championship teams will look to replicate the form that earned them back-to-back titles last season in a rewarding day for the union when they host their respective finals at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom on Friday.

In the Currie Cup First Division final – sponsored by Nashua and DirectAxis – the Down Touch Griffons take on the Leopards in a match that marks the team’s first home final since 2014, and the second successive final between the sides, while the Griffons U20’s will meet the Limpopo Blue Bulls.

The Down Touch Griffons’ senior side come off a solid season in which they suffered only one defeat – and that was in their final pool match against the Border Bulldogs after they had sealed the top spot on the log – while the Leopards, who hosted the final for the last two seasons and secured a morale-boosting away win against the Hino Valke in the semi-final, won five of their eight league games.

The teams have been closely matched on attack and defence this season, with the Down Touch Griffons scoring 57 tries and conceding 269 points to the 51 tries scored and 267 points conceded by the Leopards throughout the competition, setting the scene for a nail-biting clash.

Their round-robin match was also hard-fought with the Welkom side registering a narrow six-point victory in Potchefstroom. Spicing up the clash, the Down Touch Griffons beat the Leopards 44-25 in last season’s final – but the Leopards won the three outings prior to that, one of which was in Welkom.

The Currie Cup First Division final will be preceded by the SA Rugby U20 Championship final between defending champions, the Griffons, and the Limpopo Blue Bulls, making it a significant day for the home union.

The Griffons U20 side finished the pool stages of the competition as the top team with 13 victories in 15 matches and then defeated Boland 42-15 in the semi-final to book their final berth, while the Limpopo Blue Bulls won 10 of their matches and overpowered SWD 55-15 in the semi-final in George. With each side having won one of their two pool matches, the final is expected to be gripping.

Fixtures (Friday, 20 October):

Currie Cup First Division Final – Down Touch Griffons v Leopards
Venue: HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom
Kick-off: 16h00
TV: SS1
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Referees: Mente Paul & Mpho Matsaung
TMO: Johan Greeff

SA Rugby U20 Championship Final – Griffons v Limpopo Blue Bulls
Venue: HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom
Kick-off: 13h30
TV: SS1
Referee: Aimee Barrett
Assistant Referees: Paul Mente & Mpho Matsaung

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