Eastern Province and Border sealed their home semifinals in the Women’s Interprovincial Series in style on Saturday as they extended their winning runs this season to four matches and distanced themselves completely from the trailing teams on the log table with one round of pool matches remaining.
Eastern Province scored an impressive nine tries against South Western Districts for their emphatic 66-7 victory. Such was the high quality of their attack they led 45-0 at the break. The visitors, however, refused to give up and managed to cross the tryline once in the second stanza to earn their first points of the match. But with their defence letting them down, they battled to stop Eastern Province from piling on further tries.
Defending champions Border registered a comprehensive 31-10 victory against the Blue Bulls at the Loftus Versfeld B field in Pretoria on Saturday, whilst Western Province thumped KwaZulu-Natal 34-7 at the City Park Stadium in Cape Town.
Border were once again in fine form as they scored five tries and limited the Blue Bulls, with their dangerous backline, to only one try for the match. The first half, however, was a tight affair as both teams gave everything on attack and defence, which saw Border take a narrow 12-10 lead. Blue Bulls back Cindy Cant, who featured in the Springbok Women’s XV clash against the Women’s Interprovincial XV at Ellis Park last week, scored all her team’s first half points compliments of a converted try and penalty.
Border, however, raised the tempo of their game in the second half and tightened up their defence, which allowed them to take control of proceedings and deny the Blue Bulls any further points in the match. The victory for Border marked their fourth bonus point win in as many games.
The Blue Bulls and Western Province are also guaranteed semifinal spots, but the last round-robin stage next weekend will determine which teams they will face in the semifinal after the IRB Women’s Rugby World in August.
Western Province also showed what they are capable of when they play to their potential as they cruised to a 34-7 victory against KwaZulu-Natal. The Cape side were impressive on attack and defence and scored an encouraging six tries, while they leaked only one in the first half.
The victory allowed Western Province to close in on the Blue Bulls on the log table, with the teams currently tied on 11 points – nine points behind log leaders Border and seven points behind the second-placed Eastern Province.
The last round of pool matches in Section 1 of the Women’s Interprovincial Series will take place next weekend, but the teams will have to wait until after the Women’s World Cup in France in August to contest the semifinals, as the Section 1 will be placed on hold to ensure the best possible preparation for the Springbok Women’s Rugby World Cup side ahead of the international showpiece.
Section 2 of the Women’s Interprovincial Series, meanwhile, will begin next month.