NELSON Mandela Bay rugby fans will be spoilt for choice this weekend with five of the six EP Grand Challenge games being played in the region tomorrow. In what is arguably the game of the weekend, Gardens will lock horns with the high-flying PE SAPS in Rosedale.
Both teams go into the clash high in confidence after Gardens clinched the Eastern Cape Super 12 against rivals Progress earlier this year. PE SAPS, on the other hand, are fresh from an emphatic 57-6 victory against Kruisfontein.
Gardens, who will be playing their first game of the campaign, will be looking to start with a convincing display, transferring their Super 12 form to the Grand Challenge.
Caltex Crusaders will have a mountain to climb when they welcome Gap Despatch at Saders.
Despatch, who will be playing their first game after failing to defend the Cell C Community Cup during the Easter weekend, will hope to send a strong statement to any side thinking they are not the same team which came second to NMMU in last year’s campaign.
But Saders, who have drastically improved in the last two years, will aim to upset one of the favourites.
Spring Rose are hoping to further sink Harlequins when they meet at the New Brighton Oval.
Once a force to be reckoned with in EP rugby, the northern areas side will focus on turning their fortunes around. But the odds favour Rose after Quins suffered a heavy defeat in their last outing.
The New Brighton club will be looking to implement some of the lessons they picked up during their participation in the Community Cup.
In another potential thriller, African Bombers will battle it out with Park in Zwide.
Bombers go into the game having won one and lost one, while Park have lost both their games. Bombers will be aiming to improve their winning record, while Park are determined to change their fortunes.
Brumbies will travel to Uitenhage Central Fields to play against Progress. The Grahamstown outfit will aim to make it two wins in as many matches, but they will be well aware that the Uitenhage side are not a team to roll over and take a beating.
After narrowly winning 26-24 against Park in their opening clash, Progress wplan to improve their play and maintain their concentration throughout the 80 minutes.
Having convincingly winning their previous games, Kruisfontein will battle it out with NMMU at the Humansdorp Country Club.
NMMU have had almost no equal in previous campaigns in the Grand Challenge, dominating throughout, but Kruisfontein will be looking to upset the strong university outfit.
Kick-off is at 3.30pm in all games. – Mkhululi Ndamase