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Women’s Premier Division R8 and First Division R3 Preview

The scramble for favourable positions on the logs will take centre stage in the women’s competitions this weekend with some teams already eyeing final berths, while others will have their sights set firmly on ensuring that they remain safe from relegation.

It will be a weekend loaded with rugby as the Premier Division strikes round eight, while the First Division Group 2 teams enter round three of their pool stages, and Group 1 of First Division kicks off. The Premier and First Division finals will play out in a little over three weeks on the weekend of 16/17 July.

It is a big weekend for Premier Division defending champions, DHL Western Province, and the Border Ladies, as a bonus-point victory for the Capetonians could cement their second home final in a row, while a bonus-point win for Border will book their spot in the final.

The teams languishing close to the foot of the log also face intense pressure as the last-placed side at the conclusion of the pool stages will be relegated to the First Division next season.

The Blue Bulls Women will host the Boland Dames in the opening match of the weekend at Loftus Versfeld on Friday at 16h00, with the match being broadcast live on SuperSport.

In the two Premier Division games on Saturday, the Border Ladies welcome the Cell C Sharks Women to East London and the EP Queens meet DHL Western Province in Port Elizabeth – both matches will be streamed live on Springboks.rugby.

The competition for log points will be equally thrilling in the First Division with the Leopards hunting their third successive bonus-point victory when they meet the Mastercard Golden Lions Women in Johannesburg, while the Limpopo Blue Bulls and Pumas face off in Polokwane where one of the sides could register their first victory of the season.

The Griffons will host the Free State in Welkom in the opening Group 1 Women’s First Division match, with the fixture between Griquas and SWD cancelled.

Premier Division

In Pretoria, the Blue Bulls Women and Boland Dames will be determined to bounce back from defeats last week, while the home side will have the extra motivation of making up for their defeat against the Wellington side in their last outing.

The last two matches between the sides have been close with no more than five points separating them on the scoreboard.

Interestingly, the Dames have won one more match than the hosts this season, although the women from Pretoria boast better attacking statistics than their opponents.

The Cell C Sharks Women – who are currently in last place on the standings – will enter their match against Border knowing that a defeat could deal a huge blow to their hopes of remaining in the Premier Division, which is expected to fuel their motivation.

Border will have form and confidence on their side after winning the last four matches between the sides convincingly and after bouncing back strongly last week from back-to-back defeats.

In Port Elizabeth, the EP Queens face the mammoth task of toppling DHL Western Province, who have been in burning form and remain the only unbeaten side in the competition.

With the hosts’ taking the field in the late stages of the clash between the Border and the Cell C Sharks, they will know early on if they still have a mathematical chance of sneaking into the top two within the next three weeks.

The hosts, however, will be under no illusions about the task ahead, especially after suffering defeats in their last four matches against the defending champions.

First Division

The main match-up in the First Division will see defending champions, the Mastercard Golden Lions Women, meet the Leopards in an entertaining catfight at Wits University.

The Johannesburgers won their opening match of the season comprehensively two weeks ago, but the Leopards come off back-to-back bonus points victories, and they will be mindful of the fact that this game will be decisive in determining if they could pip the home side for a place in the final this year – as the top teams in Group 1 and Group 2 will battle it out in the final.

The Limpopo Blue Bulls and Pumas, meanwhile, will both target their first win of the season when they line up in Polokwane, while Free State will look to emulate their success against the Griffons in 2019 as they kick off their campaign in Welkom.

Women’s Premier Division fixtures:

Blue Bulls Women v Boland Dames

Date: Friday, 25 June

Time: 16h00

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Ashleigh Murray-Pretorius

Assistant referees: Local referees

TMO: Rasta Rasivhenge

TV: SuperSport Rugby

Border Ladies v Cell C Sharks Women

Date: Saturday, 26 June

Time: 13h00 (live stream on Springboks.rugby)

Venue: Police Park, East London

Referee: Phumzile Mbewu

Assistant referees: Local referees

EP Queens v DHL Western Province

Date: Saturday, 26 June

Time: 14h30

Venue: Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Referee: Maria Mabote

Assistant referees: Local referees

Women’s First Division Group 2 fixtures (Saturday, 26 June):

Limpopo Blue Bulls v Pumas

Time: 11h00

Venue: Noordelikes Rugby Club, Polokwane

Referee: Siyanda Pikoli

Assistant referees: Local referees

Mastercard Golden Lions Women v Leopards

Time: 13h00

Venue: Wits University Rugby Club, Johannesburg

Referee: Giana Viljoen

Assistant referees: Local referees

Women’s First Division Group 1 fixture (Saturday, 26 June):

Griffons v Free State

Time: 13h00

Venue: Griffons Stadium, Welkom

Referee: Angie Bezuidenhout

Assistant referees: Local referees

Issued by SA Rugby

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