The Sharks and Lions will clash in a big Currie Cup clash this weekend. Photo: SA Rugby website

The Sharks and Lions will clash in a big Currie Cup clash this weekend. Photo: SA Rugby website

Don’t forget, Currie Cup heading to its business end!

With the URC done and dusted, local rugby fans can still look forward to some exciting action in the Currie Cup.

The Sharks and Lions will clash in a big Currie Cup clash this weekend. Photo: SA Rugby website

The Sharks and Lions will clash in a big Currie Cup clash this weekend. Photo: SA Rugby website

Seven teams remain in playoff contention as the Currie Cup Premier Division reaches the penultimate round. The Sharks and Cheetahs will be looking to secure home advantage for the semi-finals via big wins in Durban and Nelspruit this weekend. At this stage, the Pumas are still in the race for a home playoff.

If the defending champions lose their remaining league games, however, they may miss out on the semi-finals altogether.

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Four other teams – Western Province, the Lions, the Bulls and Griquas – are gunning for a place in the knockouts. A couple of those teams may fall out of the playoff race this weekend.

Griquas need to beat WP in Kimberley on Friday to keep their playoff hopes alive. They have reason to feel confident, given their previous success against the Capetonians, and the fact that WP are coming off a 20-point loss in Round 12.

That said, WP may be harder to beat now that the United Rugby Championship has concluded, and the union’s focus has shifted to the Currie Cup. The Capetonians sit in fourth place – and are ahead of the Lions and the Bulls thanks to their superior points’ difference – but will drop down the standings if they lose this Friday.

The Griffons claimed a historic victory over the Bulls in round four of the tournament. This week, the Northern Free Staters will face a stronger team when they travel to Loftus Versfeld, and the result may be very different.

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There is all to play for in the Currie Cup

A Bulls side loaded with Springboks will be favourites to beat a team languishing at eighth on the log. The big question is whether Jake White’s charges will secure a four-try bonus point, and finish the weekend in the top four.

After dominating the early stages of the tournament, the Pumas as well as the Toyota Cheetahs have slumped to several disappointing results. The defending champions could fall down the rankings if they lose to the Free Staters in Nelspruit this Saturday.

The Cheetahs will secure home advantage for the semi-finals if they beat the Pumas this weekend. If they succeed in Nelspruit, they will watch the final game of the round with interest, and hope that the Lions do them a favour by ending the Sharks’ six-game winning streak.

The KwaZulu-Natalians are unlikely to be complacent, though. A win against the Lions will ensure that they finish the league stage in the top-two – and host a semi-final.

If the Sharks claim a bonus-point win in Durban, and if the Pumas secure a big win over the Cheetahs, then Joey Mongalo’s side may take an unassailable lead at the top of the log with a round to spare.

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Premier Division match information:

Griquas v Western Province
Venue: Windhoek Draught Park, Kimberley
Date: Friday, 2 June
Time: 15h00
Referee: Griffin Colby
TV: SuperSport

Bulls v Griffons
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Date: Friday, 26 May
Time: 17h05
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
TV: SuperSport

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Pumas v Cheetahs
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Date: Saturday, 3 June
Time: 17h00
Referee: Morne Ferreira
TV: SuperSport

Sharks v Lions
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
Date: Saturday, 3 June
Time: 19h05
Referee: AJ Jacobs
TV: SuperSport

The Lions against the Bulls in the Currie Cup Photo: SA Rugby website.
The Lions against the Bulls in the Currie Cup. Photo: SA Rugby website.