Saturday’s penultimate round of the Gold Cup will make or break the play-off hopes of a number of teams in what has been the most thrilling and unpredictable edition to date of SA Rugby’s three-nation champions’ league for non-university clubs.
In Pool A, Sasol Hydra-Arc Secunda’s 50-34 away victory over Wesizwe Vereeniging has firmly installed the Mpumalanga champions as dark horses for the title. They will be guaranteed of finishing top of their group should they overcome bottom-of-the-table Recall Security Bloemfontein Police in their final group match at the Sasol Recreation Club on Saturday.
In the pool’s other match, champions Newrak Rustenburg Impala’s 49-29 win last weekend over Human Auto Welkom means that Vereeniging’s away match against Welkom in the late kick-off on Saturday has become a do-or-die struggle for both sides if they want to have any more say beyond the pool stages.
In Pool B, the highly anticipated Jukskei derby between unbeaten QBR and winless Raiders could either confirm the Pretoria side’s title credentials or get the Golden Lions representatives’ campaign back on track. The group’s other match sees the first of the weekend’s two club internationals, with Speedy Car Sales Vaal Reefs hosting Zimbabwe champions Old Georgians in Klerksdorp.
In Pool C, debutants Progress George, the SWD champions, will most likely book their quarter-final spot with victory over Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians at what is expected to be a packed Rosemore Stadium. With all five teams still in the running, the other match, at Florida Park in Cape Town between the two wildcards Tygerberg and Swallows, is likely to be one of the matches of the tournament as both look to stay in the play-off hunt.
And in Pool D, IMT Sishen’s narrow victory last weekend in Windhoek over Western Suburbs has instilled in the steel miners a belief that they can beat high-flying Go Nutz College Rovers in Kathu. And in the weekend’s second club ‘Test’, Western Suburbs travel to Cape Town to face second-placed DirectAxis False Bay, who are coming off a bye.
The Gold Cup format is identical to that of the Rugby World Cup, with the 20 participating teams divided into four pools of five teams each. The top two clubs from each pool progress to the knockout stages.
Broadcast partners SuperSport have confirmed that they will televise the quarter-finals (Sunday 15 October), semi-finals (Sunday 22 October) and final (Sunday 29 October).
ROUND 4 FIXTURES
Saturday 30 September (all kick-off times 15h00 unless otherwise stated):
Human Auto Welkom v Wesizwe Vereeniging (HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom, 16h00)
Sasol Hydra-Arc Secunda v Recall Security Bloemfontein Police (Sasol Recreation Club, Secunda, 15h30)
QBR v Raiders (Harlequins Club, Pretoria)
Speedy Car Sales Vaal Reefs v Old Georgians (Klerksdorp High School)
Progress George v Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians (Rosemore Stadium, George)
Tygerberg v Swallows (Florida Park, Ravensmead, Cape Town)
IMT Sishen v Go Nutz College Rovers (Sivos Stadium, Kathu)
DirectAxis False Bay v Western Suburbs (Phillip Herbstein Field, Constantia, Cape Town)