July 13, 2024

Women’s Premier Division semi-finals on the cards

CAPE TOWN – The regulars are there again, but on Saturday a new kid on the block will join the top table when the Women’s Premier Division’s semi-finals take place in Pretoria and Cape Town, with a massive final looming next weekend.

The top four sides – the Bulls Daisies, DHL Western Province, Border Ladies and Boland Dames – all deservedly clinched their play-off spots before the final weekend of league play, such was their form this year.

For the four semi-finalists, the season still promises much as they contest the coveted two final spots, but no tickets have been booked anywhere by anyone for the big dance next weekend.

The semi-finals are a novelty to all, as in previous years, the two top sides on the log contested the final, something the Daisies and Dames will aim to achieve for the first time.

The Border Ladies and DHL Western Province have seen knock-out rugby before, having dominated and won the tournament over the last decade. They met in both finals post the COVID pandemic, with Border winning both (in Cape Town), while the Bulls and Boland will be aiming for their first Premier Division final appearance.

Some injuries to key players have rocked all four teams though.

The Bulls Daisies have lost Zintle Mpupha and Sizophila Solontsi, both experienced national players. The Daisies nevertheless included 13 Springbok Women in their starting team with two more playing off the bench.

In the backs, only Zintle Nonkosana has not played test rugby, while in the pack, lock Anathi Qolo is the lone uncapped player.

The injuries to Mpupha and Solontsi will have an impact, as both have been playing well, but with so much class spread across the team, chances are remote that they will not deliver yet another match-winning performance.

On the other hand, the Dames will be without Aseza Hele, whose injury will a massive impact. The hard running Springbok Women No 8 has been industrious and her try-scoring exploits – she has scored 12 tries during the season – has helped the Dames tremendously, especially as they could use her off the back of their powerful scrum.

Boland will still be able to compete in the first phases, but they will struggle to get the usual yards without Hele on the charge, although return of Demi Nel at flyhalf will ensure the Dames maintain their physical approach.

The DHL Western Province will start their match at City Park without Asiphe Mayaba – the leading try-scorer in the competition this season – as well as her fellow Springbok outside back, Shaunique Hess.

Mayaba injured her ankle in last week’s victory over the EP Queens. WP has a very able replacement in Donelle Snyders, while Veroeshka Grain, who has captained the team earlier this season, is back at outside centre.

The home side have finished the league phase strong with a commanding performance against the Queens last weekend and will fancy their chances against Border, who left City Park as the beaten team when they last visited three weeks ago.

One thing that is a given about Nwabisa Ngxatu and how she prepares the Border team for play-off games, is that they will not surrender. She tweaked the backline, with Khanya Ketani moving to flyhalf and Eloise Webb to outside centre in a clear tactical ploy which will see speedy wingers Snenhlanhla Shozi and Faith Gosling very involved in the game.

This promises to be a very close affair, with the game management of pivots Ketani (Border) and Elme Kruger (WP) crucial to the outcome.


Match information:

Bulls Daisies v Boland Dames

Venue: Loftus Versfeld B, Pretoria

Date: Saturday, 19 August

Kick-off: 12h30

Referee: Bulela Qwane


DHL Western Province v Border Ladies

Venue: City Park, Cape Town

Date: Saturday, 19 August

Kick-off: 15h00

Referee: Angie Bezuidenhout

TV: Live on SuperSport Grandstand/SuperSport Schools App

Source and Image: SA Rugby

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