Two perennial finalists (and champions) of the SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial tournament, Western Province and Border, will meet in Cape Town on Saturday in a crucial round three clash.
The Capetonians defeated Border 18-12 in the final last year and are still undefeated after two rounds of play this season, and will fancy their chances against their arch-rivals from the Eastern Cape.
With WP winger Kimico Manuel in good try-scoring form, the Border women will have to be at their best for this match at City Park in Athlone.
Manuel clearly learned a lot from her exploits with the Springbok Women’s Sevens team last year and her match-up with her Springbok Women’s Sevens teammate Snenhlanhla Shozi could be a classic.
The Border winger scored the first hat-trick ever for the Springbok Women’s Sevens team at the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in July last year against Mexico, and when replaced by Manuel in the second half of that match, the Cape flyer emulated that feat.
Defeat for the Eastern Cape side could see them slide down the standings of the A-section and looking for results elsewhere to recover their log position, an unfamiliar position for the Border side.
The undefeated Eastern Province side host KZN at Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth in a match that could have a big influence on Border’s fate.
Aseza Hela will again spearhead the home side. The robust No 8 has been very productive on attack, scoring five of her team’s 10 tries so far, so the visitors will do well to keep her in check.
The Durbanites took WP all the way last weekend and will again be very competitive, especially if their speedy fullback, Macaela Henning, finds some space.
The third match in the A-section, in Pretoria, should provide either Blue Bulls or Boland a first win this year.
Both teams have struggled against the top dogs so far, with their defences taking strain. The home side only scored two tries and Boland three in their opening two matches, so both will be looking at this match to get some points on the board.
In the B-section, the only clash is at Nelspruit Rugby Club, where the Pumas will face the Limpopo Blue Bulls. The home side will back themselves due to home ground advantage, but either side can secure a win on the day.
Women’s IPL fixtures for the weekend:
Friday, 19 July 2019
Blue Bulls v Boland (A-section)
Venue: Loftus Versfeld B
Referee: Maria Mabote
Saturday 20 July 2019
Eastern Province v KZN (A-section)
Venue: Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Ashleigh Murray
Western Province v Boland (A-section)
Venue: City Park, Athlone
Referee: Lusanda Mitya
Pumas v Limpopo Blue Bulls (B-section)
Venue: Nelspruit Rugby Club, Nelspruit
Referee: Giana Viljoen