CHAMPIONS Gap Despatch will be looking to start their Cell C Community Cup title defence on a positive note when they lock horns with rivals Spring Rose at the WJ de Wet Stadium in Despatch tomorrow.
Despatch – who had to fight until the last minute to clinch the national title 26-24 against College Rovers in April last year – will be aiming to prove it was not by chance they went all the way and will hope to make an example of Rose in the Pool A clash.
The New Brighton outfit will be aiming to introduce themselves to the national stage with a bang by upsetting the champs. If they manage to pull that off, it will be seen as an upset as Despatch are the current title holders and among the favourites.
Rose will go into the encounter as underdogs which will relieve pressure on the side, allowing them to play their style.
It might not have been in the same competition or with the current players but Rose have previously got the better of their opponents in provincial competitions.
Anything but a win for the Cup’s No1-ranked team will be seen as not being good enough and put them under pressure going to other games.
The game will be televised live on SuperSport 1 at 2.30pm.
With the Eastern Cape Super 12 club rugby group stages done and dusted, the eight remaining teams will battle it out this weekend as their search for silverware continues tomorrow.
EP teams dominate the knockout stages with five teams standing a chance of advancing to the semifinals and getting a step closer to lifting the provincial trophy.
The bullying Progress, who finished as Group A winners, will lock horns with rookies Walter Sisulu University (WSU) at the Uitenhage Central Fields.
On their way to the quarterfinals, last year’s finalists destroyed every side they came across.
In their first year in the big league, WSU – which grabbed the last qualifying spot in Group A – will have their work cut out for them if Progress bring their A-game tomorrow.
But the visitors are not to be underestimated as they managed to get some impressive victories against some experienced sides in their group.
Group A winners Gardens will welcome Caltex Crusaders in Rosedale.
Unlike last season, when they were blowing hot and cold, Gardens have produced polished performances in this campaign.
Saders, who qualified in fourth position in the other group, have been their own worst enemies this season with horrendous handling errors. But the Port Elizabeth side will be well aware that, unlike in the group stages, there will be no second chances tomorrow.
Champions Harlequins will be looking to produce their best performance this season when they travel to Zwide to play against African Bombers. The clash promises to be a thriller as both sides are familiar with the other’s style of play.
Past results will play no role in the encounter as it will be a new ball game with everything at stake.
Both sides have not been performing at their best this season, and the side that will be victorious will have to want it the most.
In another potential thriller at the Police Park in Cambridge, East London Police will go to war against the resilient Kruisfontein outfit.
Police, who finished third in last year’s encounter, have dispatched most sides, only failing to beat Progress in the group.
Kruisfontein, who are no pushovers, will have to concentrate for the whole 80 minutes, as they would be punished for any lapse in concentration.
With the exception of the Police- Kruisfontein encounter (3.30pm) the games are scheduled for 5pm.