RUGBY NEWS - The final two rounds of the Rainbow Cup SA competition are heading for a rousing climax with three of the four teams still in contention to walk away with the title.
The announcement of the first Springbok squad since the World Cup in 2019 this weekend will add more impetus to the title race shortly before the arrival of the British and Irish Lions touring party.
Another incentive of course is the added bonus of the winner playing in the final of the North v South clash scheduled to take place on 19 June in Treviso, Italy.
Here then is the state of play in the competition, following last week’s bye and with two rounds to go.
Bulls (15 points):
The Bulls’ last two games are the Stormers at home and the Sharks away. Still the red-hot favourites to win the competition, the Bulls scored wins of 22-9 over the Lions, 20-16 over the Stormers and 43-9 over the Sharks. However, they suffered an unexpected 34-33 loss to the Lions at Ellis Park last time out, to give the other teams hope. Being four points ahead of the Stormers and the Sharks, the Bulls could cement top spot at home this weekend with a win against the Stormers.
Stormers (11 points):
The Stormers are left with the Bulls away and the Lions at home. Starting with two close losses of 33-30 against the Sharks and 20-16 to the Bulls, both at home, the Stormers then scored two crucial away wins of 39-37 against the Lions and 25-22 against the Sharks. They, however, face a must-win situation at Loftus this weekend to challenge the Bulls for top spot and could cement their place at the top at home against the Lions in the final round – depending on this Saturday’s result, of course.
Sharks (11 points):
The Sharks have the Lions away and the Bulls at home in their final two games. After starting with two wins against the Stormers away and a 34-26 victory at home against the Lions, they however then suffered two losses against the Stormers at home and the Bulls away. Placed third behind the Stormers but on equal log points due to the Stormers’ better points aggregate, the Sharks need to beat the Lions away this weekend to remain in contention.
Lions (eight points):
The Lions have the Sharks at home and the Stormers away. After losing their opening three games, the Lions surprised everyone by ending the Bulls’ unbeaten run to record their first win of the competition the week before the bye round. However, being seven log points adrift of the log-leading Bulls, the Lions are probably out of contention. They could however take their progress another step further by beating the Sharks at home this weekend.