WINDHOEK - The 8th edition of the Currie Cup First Division will officially kick off its 2018 season this weekend, with action spread across various venues including Windhoek’s Hage Geingob Stadium all the way to South the African towns of George, Robertson and Kempton Park.
amibia’s rugby second stringers, Windhoek Draught Welwitschias, will tomorrow kick-start their Currie Cup First Division campaign with a crucial clash against visiting South African club Griffons at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek.
Griffons, who will be looking to build on their successful 2017 season, will be wary when they confront the determined Namibians, who last season stretched Griffons to the very edge, going down 66-59 during their clash.
With the Welwitschias now in their third Currie Cup First Division season, they will also be desperate to improve on their performance, which reflects only one win in 12 matches so far.
The Currie Cup First Division, sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua, starts today and concludes on Friday, October 19 with the final match of the competition. This year’s competition will follow the same format as last season with eight teams playing a double round of matches followed by the semifinal and final.
The Currie Cup First Division will be contested by Welwitschias, Griffons, Hino Valke, Leopards, Boland Kavaliers, SWD Eagles, Border Bulldogs and Eastern Province.
They will play each other once during the pool stage, either at home or away. Teams will receive four points for a win and two points for a draw. Bonus points will be awarded to teams that score four or more tries in a game, as well as to teams that lose a match by seven points or less.
Teams will be ranked by log points, then proceed to be ranked on points difference (points scored less points conceded). The top four teams in the pool stage will qualify for the semifinals, which will be followed by a final.
In other weekend opening fixtures, SWD Eagles and Leopards in George will mark a historic day in the Currie Cup First Division as South Africa’s leading female referee, Aimee Barrett-Theron, will become the first woman to officiate a match at this level.
The Boland Cavaliers will meet Eastern Province in Robertson, while the Valke take on the Border Bulldogs in Kempton Park. The clash between Border and the Valke could prove to be a tight tussle given the number of closely fought clashes between the teams in the last few years.
The men from Kempton Park, who finished the pool stages last season in second place, registered a narrow 48-41 victory against their East London counterparts in their last outing, meaning they will not take the quality of the opposition for granted.
The Leopards will be hunting their fifth victory in six matches against SWD, although it could be a tight clash following their 42-42 draw in their last encounter in Potchefstroom. The last time SWD defeated the Leopards in George was in 2014, which is expected to fuel their determination to win.
Eastern Province will be determined to start their season on a high against the Boland Cavaliers after a disappointing season last year in which they failed to win a match. They are, however, expected to face a tough challenge from the 2017 semifinalists, who were victorious in the last three matches between the sides. – Additional info: Independent Online