Women’s IPL Down to the Last Round
At the conclusion of the pool stages, organisers of the SA Rugby Women’s Inter-Provincial League don’t bother with semifinals; They just put the top two teams in the A-section into one final and, for the B section final, they take the number one team in each of the two regions.
Two weeks ago, we saw the last matches in the round robin phase of the A section competition. Runaway log leaders, Western Province were at home to their neighbours from the east. At the time, Eastern Province were second on the log and in with a shot at the final but they needed to win to be sure.
The visitors gave their all at the Tygerberg Rugby Club and they ran the home side very close but, in the end, Western Province held on for a 27-22 victory. Meanwhile, in East London, in another east-west contest, Border beat Boland 52-0. Ouch.
Those results meant the two teams to contest the A-section final would be Western Province and Border in Cape Town. The B section was far simpler, in one pool anyway: going into the last round, Golden Lions were untouchable, five points clear with a positive points difference of 119.
The other pool was a two-horse race going into the last match: South Western Districts (SWD) led the pack on 10 points while Free State was second on six points – and the two teams had to play each other. A single bonus point could be all SWD needed but, beating them and denying a losing bonus point could put Free State over the line.
As it happened, nothing like that occurred: SWD thrashed Free State (72-5) and, up in Joburg, Golden Lions hammered Limpopo Blue Bulls (59-19) to set up the expected final in the B section: SWD vs Golden Lions in East London.