Western Province have received another big boost in their quest for an unlikely Currie Cup semifinal spot, with the news that their proposed Saturday match against Boland has been moved to Newlands.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced in a statement on Friday that the match venue had been changed from the problematic Boland Stadium in Wellington – Boland’s home ground – to Newlands.
Rugby 365 reports that this will be great news to Western Province, who have been doggedly chasing a semifinal spot despite being nine points adrift of the play-off spots at one point.
Province will probably need to win their remaining two round-robin matches and get the bonus points on offer if they are to keep their dream of a semifinal berth alive.
But their chances of getting maximum points on Saturday against Boland has been under threat from an external factor – the drenched state of the Boland Stadium pitch.
Last week, the Boland v Lions match in Wellington was nearly called off by referee Phillip Bosch due to the muddy conditions.
However, the match went ahead, but the conditions took their toll, and the Lions struggled to stamp their authority on the game.
It took more than eighty minutes for the Gautengers to get the bonus-point try, something they managed with the last move of the game.
This week Province were scheduled to play at the same venue, but continuing rain in the Cape and Boland has reduced the Wellington pitch to a mudbath. If the game was allowed to continue, conditions would certainly have hampered WP in their push for a bonus-point win.
Luckily for Province, sensibility has prevailed, and both provinces have taken the decision to move the match to Newlands because of the waterlogged state of the Boland Stadium field.
The match, which was meant to be a home match for Boland, now effectively becomes a WP home tie.
Another plus for WP is that the race for fourth spot on the Currie Cup log – and the last semifinal place – could conceivably come down to points difference.
The excellent Newlands surface will give Province every chance to score heavily against Boland.Tweet