THE FINAL round of the Currie Cup kicks off at 4pm in Stellenbosch this afternoon where Western Province will do the Sharks no favours in their desperate attempt to qualify for the semi-finals.
The fifth-placed Sharks have to win and win extremely well if they are to leap-frog the Pumas, who have a point in hand on the log and host Griquas in Nelspruit.
The Sharks have to win with a bonus point and also score as many points as possible to boost their points differential, and even then it might not be enough, and if the Pumas beat Griquas with a bonus point it doesn’t matter what the Sharks do in Stellenbosch.
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Western Province meanwhile will be fired up to end their disappointing campaign on a high after winning just two of 11 matches.
The Pumas and Griquas game kicks off after the Sharks’ game, so Jimmy Stonehouse’s Pumas will know exactly what they need to achieve to shut out the Sharks.
Any win for the Kimberley outfit will consolidate third place for them.
Tomorrow, an intriguing battle is on the cards between the Cheetahs and Bulls in Bloemfontein for first spot on the log.
Going into the weekend’s round of crucial matches, holders the Bulls lead the standings on 47 points. They are followed by the Cheetahs on 43 points, Griquas (31), Pumas (27), Sharks fifth (26), WP (15) and last-placed Lions (15).
The team from Johannesburg have completed their 12 league fixtures and have a bye this weekend.
In Bloemfontein at 5.45pm, the Cheetahs need a win while keeping the visitors from gaining any bonus points to secure first place as their big reward.
On current form, that would appear to be a huge ask as the Free Staters have lost their last two league games after going on an impressive nine-game unbeaten run, with the Pumas pipping them 29-28 the previous weekend.
While both teams have won two games each in their last five clashes between them, the men from Bloemfontein will be hoping to repeat their 38-25 success in Pretoria in February.