Tough Contests in store in Vodacom Cup Quarterfinals
April 23, 2009
Four tough contests are in store as the R1 million Vodacom Cup reaches its quarterfinal stage at the weekend.

The action gets underway at the Absa Stadium in Durban on Friday when early title favourites, the Sharks XV, host the Golden Lions at 17h00.

The Sharks are the only unbeaten team in the competition after sweeping aside all opposition in their six South Section league matches. They will start the tie as clear favourites against a Lions team that struggled in the league phase and only secured its playoff place during last week’s final round of matches - scoring only its second victory in six starts.

The Sharks’ home advantage will also be a key motivating factor with the prospect of a home semifinal in the offing.

The action continues on Saturday with defending champions the Vodacom Blue Bulls hosting Vodacom Western Province at Loftus Versfeld (14h00), 2007 champions GWK Griquas taking on the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley (15h00) and the SWD Eagles meeting the Platinum Leopards at Outeniqua Park in George (17h00).

The Blue Bulls will start as favourites against a WP team that has yet to play to its full potential despite boasting a host of experienced players. It must be said, however, that the team has been required to provide players to the Vodacom Stormers, which has had an impact.

The Blue Bulls have been solid with five wins from six this season. They also have a very good Vodacom Cup pedigree and will not surrender their title without a fight. WP, with three wins from six in the league phase, will have to show great improvement if they have a chance of advancing to the semi-finals. The match will also have the traditional needle of a North vs South clash.

The Central SA derby between Griquas and Free State will have just as much fireworks between these two hard-working teams. With home advantage, Griquas will be the favourites but they will do well not to underestimate their rivals, who contested the final in 2008. Both teams will be looking to dominate up front and a hard encounter is expected.

The SWD Eagles have been one of the surprise packages this season, winning five of their six league matches with their only loss coming against the Sharks XV. They will face a Leopards team that has battled for consistency in a tough league competition.

The Leopards will want to progress as far as they can in the Vodacom Cup with their debut season in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division not far away. They will, however, be made to work hard by their hosts.

Meanwhile, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed the rules governing the playoffs in the event of a draw at the end of full-time.

In order to determine winners in the quarter-finals of the Vodacom Cup to play in the semi-finals, the following Rules will apply in order to determine a winner to play in the semifinals: If scores are level after the scheduled time, extra time will be played and the team that will proceed to the semi-finals will be determined as follows: a) the team scoring the most points within a 20 (twenty) minute extra time (10 minutes each way with a one (1) minute break), and if still level b) the team scoring the most tries in the quarter-final, including extra time; and if still level c) the team with the highest log position immediately prior to the quarter-final. The semi-finals take place next weekend.

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