The Currie Cup First Division teams will have their sights set on building momentum and working their way into favourable log positions this weekend as the competition nears the halfway mark.
In Friday’s match, the Leopards will look to build on their victory last week and earn their first home win when they meet the winless Eastern Province in Potchefstroom.
The teams last met in the Currie Cup First Division – sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua – in the 2013 season, while they battled it out in the semi-final in 2013 and 2012, with the Eastern Cape side winning both of those matches. The Leopards, however, have been a force to be reckoned with in the last few seasons, so Eastern Province will have to front up physically.
The clash between the Down Touch Griffons and SWD Eagles in Welkom on Saturday is expected to be thrilling given the close encounters between the sides in the last few years.
The teams met in the 2015 and 2014 semi-finals, and the Down Touch Griffons won both matches, but the winning margin in six of their seven matches since 2014 were by seven points or less. The hosts will enter the clash high on confidence after back-to-back wins, but SWD also registered a good win last week after a draw in the opening round, meaning it could be another tight clash.
The Windhoek Draught Welwitschias will test the Hino Valke in Windhoek on Saturday in what will mark the second Currie Cup First Division clash between the sides. The first time they met the Hino Valke secured a convincing 50-20 victory. But with the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias fresh off their maiden tournament victory, and the side having scored 110 points in their two matches up to now, they will want to build on that in front of their home crowd.
In East London the Border Bulldogs will be hunting their first victory of the season when they take on the Boland Cavaliers on Saturday, but they will be tested as the visitors will want to return to their winning ways after a defeat last week. Border won the last two clashes between the sides in the competition in 2015, but there have been a number of close clashes between the sides in the last few years, which could set the scene for an exciting clash.
Currie Cup First Division Round 3 fixtures:
Friday, 8 September
Leopards v Eastern Province
Venue: Olen Park, Potchefstroom
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Referees: Jaco Kotze & Johre Botha
Saturday, 9 September
Down Touch Griffons v SWD Eagles
Venue: HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Jaco Kotze & Eon van Zyl
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias v Hino Valke
Venue: Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium, Windhoek
Referee: Archie Sehlako
Assistant Referees: Local appointments
Border Bulldogs v Boland Cavaliers
Venue: BCM Stadium, East London
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant Referees: Sindile Ngcese & Naka Bulelani