Race for Currie Cup semis down to the wire

Western Province prop Wilco Louw. Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The Currie Cup Premier Division semi-final race will come to a dramatic end this weekend, as five teams will battle it out for three remaining playoff spots in in the final round of matches.

Sharks are guaranteed a home semi-final next week after earning the top position on the log, while Western Province, the Free State Cheetahs, the Golden Lions and Blue Bulls will go head-to-head for the other home semi-final this weekend. The Pumas are also still in the running to finishing in the top four, although they will have to travel if they do manage to sneak in.

WP, who are currently in second place on the log, only need a victory in Durban to achieve this feat, as they boast a one-point cushion and a comprehensive points difference over the third-placed Cheetahs. A defeat, in turn, could dash their semi-final aspirations completely. WP will be boosted by the return of Springboks Wilco Louw and Dillyn Leyds for the match.

The Golden Lions, meanwhile, will host the Cheetahs in Johannesburg in the final pool match on Saturday, meaning these teams will know exactly what they need to do to finish in second place and in the top four respectively by the time they take to the field.

The Blue Bulls and Pumas will kick off the round in Pretoria on Friday, and both sides will be desperate for a victory to stay in contention for a playoff spot, as a defeat without a bonus point for either Western Province, the Free State Cheetahs or Golden Lions could see the winning team through to the top four.