Race for Vodacom Cup glory still wide open

The Vodacom Cup reaches the halfway mark this weekend, and there are still a host of teams in contention for the trophy.

The Falcons have been the form team this season, leading through six rounds with five wins and only one defeat. The Bosman Stadium in Brakpan has been a near fortress for them this year, and Griquas have a mountain to climb there on Saturday. The defending champions have struggled this season and are lying 12th on the log with three defeats, a draw and one win in their five games. Riaan Viljoen’s kicking will again be key for the Falcons, with the flyhalf having amassed 53 points as he has emerged as the guiding force for his team.

The Wildebeest have started their Vodacom Cup campaign surprisingly well, with four wins from five serving as a great improvement for a team that has traditionally languished in the bottom half of the log. They travel to Witbank on Saturday for their match against the Pumas, and are well aware that their opponents are due a win at home.

The Leopards, last year’s finalists, went unbeaten for a month after losing in round one and are once again title contenders. They host the Vodacom Cheetahs at Olen Park on Saturday, with the Cheetahs boosted by last week’s win over the Border Bulldogs.

The Griffons have still got plenty to play for as well. Their flyhalf Andries Hough is the competition’s top points scorer on 92, with the men from Welkom fifth on the log with three wins from six games. Harry Pienaar’s men host the Lions at the North West Stadium on Saturday, with the latter in urgent need of points.

Timmy Goodwin’s team has garnered 11 points from five games to see them in ninth place on the log and in desperate need of a win. The Vodacom Blue Bulls have lost twice in their six outings to date, and the men from Pretoria travel to Wellington on Saturday to play the Boland Cavaliers at a venue that has in the past tripped up many of the established unions.

A disciplinary hearing will overshadow their preparations, with flank Johan Wasserman, prop Richard Bands and centre Frikkie Welsh in the dock for last Saturday’s punch up with the Griffons in Welkom. In the weekend’s other games, Vodacom Western Province will look to continue their resurgence when they play the Border Bulldogs in East London on Friday night, while the winless Eagles host the Mighty Elephants in George on Saturday.