Vodacom Cup semifinals will be historic
DHL Western Province or the Ford Pumas will be making history on Saturday when one of them qualifies for the Vodacom Cup final in a week's time.
Neither of these sides has ever made it past the semifinal stage of the competition. They are playing each other in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon to determine which team will progress to the final, to be held on the weekend of 18/19 May at the venue of the top team from the North Section.
The other semifinal is on Friday afternoon in Kimberley between the two teams that have dominated the Vodacom Cup playoffs since its inception in 1998 – GWK Griquas and the Vodacom Blue Bulls. Between them, they have won the title seven times and been runners up eight times.
If GWK Griquas win their semifinal, they will also host the final. If the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Ford Pumas win, the final will be in Mpumalanga, and if it’s the Blue Bulls against Western Province, the final will be in Pretoria.
It’s not the ideal scenario for DHL Western Province, as they are the only team this season that have not lost a game.
Western Province followed their seven from seven in the league phase of the Vodacom Cup with a comprehensive home win against the MTN Golden Lions in the quarterfinal in Cape Town last weekend (58-34) and can be regarded as favourites of the Ford Pumas, who finished second in the North Section and eliminated the EP Kings by 30-19 last Friday.
One of the few survivors of DHL WP’s Vodacom Cup semifinal defeat in 2008 is midfielder PJ Vermeulen, who is now plying his trade for GWK Griquas.
For GWK Griquas and the Vodacom Blue Bulls, the semifinal is a replay of their first round clash in early March, won comfortably by the team from the Northern Cape (36-17) in Pretoria. The home team was totally outplayed on that day and conceded six tries to two.
However, the Peacock Blues will not have forgotten last year’s semifinal, when the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who snuck into the playoffs, caused something of an upset in Kimberley (47-34) to advance to their fifth successive Vodacom Cup final.
Marnitz Boshoff, who kicked six penalties, three conversions and a drop goal on that day to help steer the Blue Bulls to a fine victory, has since left Pretoria and joined GWK Griquas, where he has been sharing the flyhalf duties with Francois Brummer, another former Bull.
When it comes to semifinals and finals, these two teams are the most successful in Vodacom Cup history.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls have lost only one out of their 10 appearances in the semifinals, while GWK Griquas have won six from eight.
Vodacom Cup Fixtures – Semifinals
GWK Griquas v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Friday, May 11 2012, kick-off at 3pm
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Quinton Immelman
DHL Western Province v Ford Pumas
Saturday, May 12 2012, kick-off at 4:15pm
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge