Bull scrap with Falcons for final place

This weekend sees the penultimate round of the Vodacom Cup, with the Blue Bulls and Falcons battling it out for the other spot in the May 20 final. Michael Vlismas reports.

The Wildebeest remain top of the log on 49 points and are now focused on securing a home final.

But the battle between the second-placed Blue Bulls and third-placed Falcons to claim the other place has taken an interesting turn.

With the Falcons losing last week to the Boland Cavaliers, a small window of opportunity still exists for the Blue Bulls to make the final.

The Blue Bulls head to Kimberley for their clash with Griquas on Saturday a point ahead of the Falcons on the standings, but having played one more game and with the knowledge that even victory with a bonus point may not be enough.

An ideal scenario for Ashley Evert’s side would be five points against Griquas and a total collapse by the Falcons in their remaining two matches.

But it’s unlikely to happen as the Falcons should account for a Mighty Elephants side that are struggling after starting the season brightly. If they do, then a point may even be enough next week against the Bulldogs.

The Wildebeest travel to Ellis Park on Saturday to play the Lions and the ever-improving Cheetahs host Western Province on Friday night.

Another battle involves places in the Currie Cup to be played later in the year.

With the five “big unions” (Lions, Blue Bulls, Sharks, Western Province, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs) and the Southern Spears guaranteed places in the eight-team premier division, two “smaller unions” (Pumas, Boland Cavaliers, Falcons, Leopards, Mighty Elephants, Bulldogs, Griquas, Griffons, Eagles) will qualify through the Vodacom Cup.

These two teams qualify from the points they have gained in matches against fellow “smaller unions” and so points gained against the “big unions” do not count.

The Pumas head up this mini log, while the Cavaliers are in second place.

There are three games this weekend that are significant in this case.

The first two are on Friday night, when the Pumas host the Eagles in Witbank and the Cavaliers travel to East London to play the Bulldogs, while the third is on Saturday when the Leopards welcome the Griffons to Potchefstroom.