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 weeks’ time.
Neither of these sides has ever made it past the semi-final 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.
This is in accordance to a decision taken last year, that the venue of the final of the Vodacom Cup will alternate between north and south (should teams from the relevant section reach the final). Last year the final was held at the venue of the top team from the south that made the final (Pampas XV in Potch) and this year it will be at the home ground of the top team from the north that makes the final (Kimberley, Nelspruit or Pretoria).
The other semi-final 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 semi-final, 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 quarter-final 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 semi-final 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 semi-final 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 semi-final, when the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who snuck into the playoffs, caused somewhat 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 semi-finals and finals, these two teams are the most successful in Vodacom Cup history.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls have only lost one out of their 10 appearances in the semi-finals, while GWK Griquas have won six from eight.
Vodacom Cup Fixtures – Semi-finals
Friday, May 11 2012
GWK Griquas v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Saturday, May 12 2012
DHL Western Province v Ford Pumas
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
DHL Western Province
2008 – lost to Toyota Free State XV 27-22 in Cape Town
2000 – lost to GWK Griquas 41-27 in Kimberley
2009 – beat Sharks XV 36-25 in Durban
2008 – lost to Vodacom Blue Bulls 40-20 in Pretoria
2007 – beat Ford Pumas 46-26 in Kimberley
2005 – beat Regent Boland Kavaliers 16-13 in Kimberley
2001 – lost to Regent Boland Kavaliers 47-31 in Wellington
2000 – beat DHL WP 41-27 in Kimberley
1999 – beat Regent Boland Kavaliers 24-17 in Kimberley
1998 – beat Sharks XV by 47-28 in Kimberley
2007 – lost to GWK Griquas 46-26 in Kimberley
Vodacom Blue Bulls
2011 – beat GWK Griquas 47-34 in Kimberley
2010 – beat Sharks XV 33-3 in Pretoria
2009 – beat Leopards 45-34 in Pretoria
2008 – beat GWK Griquas 40-20 in Pretoria
2007 – beat Leopards 32-25 in Pretoria
2005 – lost to Leopards 17-11 in Pretoria
2004 – beat Toyota Free State XV 24-20 in Bloemfontein
2003 – beat Leopards 47-19 in Pretoria
2002 – beat Regent Boland Kavaliers 47-45 in Wellington
2001 – beat Toyota Free State XV 39-38 in Pretoria
Note: In 2006 there was no knock-out rounds – the Valke and Sharks XV progressed to the final, won by the Valke in Brakpan.
Vodacom Cup Previous Winners:
1998: GWK Griquas
1999: MTN Golden Lions
2000: Toyota Free State XV
2001: Vodacom Blue Bulls
2002: MTN Golden Lions
2003: MTN Golden Lions
2004: MTN Golden Lions
2005: GWK Griquas
2007: GWK Griquas
2008: Vodacom Blue Bulls
2009: GWK Griquas
2010: Vodacom Blue Bulls
2011: Pampas XV