The Leopards and Boland Cavaliers start as favourites in this weekendâ€™s Absa Currie Cup First Division semi-finals in Potchefstroom and Wellington.
The two sides have completely dominated the First Division and easily claimed the top two log places to secure home semi-finals. Both sides only lost once in 10 outings and drew in a league encounter between them in July.
The Leopards, who won the league competition, host the Mighty Elephants in the first semi-final at OlÃ«n Park in Potchefstroom at 7pm on Friday night. While the two sidesâ€™ fortunes in the log competition suggest it may be a romp for the home side, their two previous meetings indicate it may be closer than what many may think.
When they met in Potch in July the Leopards sneaked home by two points in a 39-37 victory. The Leopards had stormed into a 25-6 half-time lead but after the break the Elephants scored 31 unanswered points forcing the Leopards to fight for the win. The Elephants missed a late penalty that would have reversed the result. The return fixture in PE in September ended in a 26-21 win for the Leopards. Again the Leopards were made to work for the win after trailing 6-16 at the break.
The Elephants may fancy this being third time lucky but recent form suggests that the Leopards, on home soil, may be able to pull this one through.
The Cavaliers, who were surprisingly beaten by the Griffons last week, host the Eagles in the second semi at the Boland Stadium in Wellington at 16h45 on Saturday. The loss to the Griffons was Bolandâ€™s first of the campaign and they will be looking to overcome the disappointment in the knockout round.
Their previous meetings with the Eagles were won comfortably â€“ 38-17 in George in July and 45-15 at home earlier this month.
With the likes of speedy wing Rayno Benjamin and the reliable boot of flyhalf Jacques Schutte at their disposal, the Cavaliers should have too much firepower for an Eagles team that has not showed great consistency this season
Should the Leopards and the Cavaliers secure victories the Absa Currie Cup First Division final will be staged in Potchefstroom next Friday.