Currie Cup Permutations: Who needs to do what to claim a semifinals berth

Western Province charged to a comfortable victory against Free State Cheetahs in their opening Currie Cup match of the 2018 season Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Western Province are assured of a home semifinal in the Currie Cup.

But that's all we know about the make-up of the semifinalists ahead of the final round of fixtures, with five teams in the running for the top four spots.

On top of that, the top spot on the ladder and one home final is up for grabs in the last three fixtures of the regular season.

KweséESPN take a look at what needs to happen for each team to finish where.


Currently in fifth spot, the Pumas have an opportunity to claim the fourth and final semifinal berth when they host the Golden Lions on Friday night.

Should the Pumas record a bonus-point win and prevent the Lions from claiming any bonus points, they will take their tally to 17 points, one more than the Lions' 16, and sneak into fourth place.

The Pumas can even squeeze into third place if they win by 10 points or more with a bonus point, hold the Lions to one or no bonus points, and the Blue Bulls lose by 13 points or more against Western Province.

If the Lions pick up a bonus point in a loss, the Pumas will need to win by 10 points or more to overtake the Johannesburg-based team on points difference; two bonus points will be too much for the Pumas to overcome.

Golden Lions

Victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit will guarantee them a place in the top four, but their final standing will depend on what happens when the Blue Bulls host Western Province.

A bonus-point loss also will secure them a semifinal berth, provided the Pumas don't score four tries. Four tries and a losing bonus point will also secure Lions a Currie Cup semifinal.

They can miss the semifinals, however, if the Pumas do enough to leap-frog them, as outlined above, and the Blue Bulls either beat Western Province or lose by less than three points more than the margin in Nelspruit.

Blue Bulls

A win at home against the table-topping Western Province on Saturday will secure the Blue Bulls a third-place finish, and a bonus-point win puts them in the running for second place and a home semi-final; for that to happen, however, the Sharks have to lose to the Griquas.

They can still finish third with a loss. A Pumas victory in a match that features no bonus points will see to that.

The Bulls aren't guaranteed a playoff place, though.

For that to happen a number of circumstances have to happen:

  • Pumas beat the Golden Lions and claim a bonus point in the opening match of the round, and the Lions collect at least one bonus point;

  • Blue Bulls lose to Western Province, do not collect a bonus point, lose by at least five points more than the Lions lose to the Pumas, and the results in Nelspruit and Pretoria see a 23-point swing in differential towards the Pumas. For example, the Pumas win by eight points and the Blue Bulls lose by 15 points or more, or the Pumas win by nine points and the Blue Bulls lose by 14 points.


As mentioned above, a Sharks loss away to the Griquas coupled with a bonus-point win for the Blue Bulls will result in the Durbanites finishing in third place and missing out on a home semifinal.

A Blue Bulls win, however, also opens up top spot for the Sharks -- subject to Western Province's performance in Pretoria.

Should Western Province lose and fail to collect a bonus point, then a bonus-point win in Kimberley will propel the Sharks to the top of the table. The Sharks should be able to achieve that, based on recent form, but the Griquas have won three of their past seven matches against the Durbanites in Kimberley.

If Western Province do score a bonus point in a loss, the Sharks have a current points difference of more than 100 to overcome.

Western Province

Victory against the Blue Bulls guarantees top-of-the-table Western Province first place on the log and home advantage through the finals. A losing bonus point does not guarantee them top spot, but, based on their huge points difference, it should be enough.

A loss to the Blue Bulls with no bonus point could see them fall of their perch at the top of the table, but they are still be certain of a home semifinal in second place.

Currie Cup Round 8: Line-Ups

Friday, Oct. 12

Pumas vs. Lions

Pumas: Devon Williams, Morné Joubert, Neil Maritz, Ryan Nell (c), Ruwellyn Isbel, Chris Smith, Stefan Ungerer, Francois Kleinhans, Willie Engelbrecht, Marnus Schoeman, Cameron Lindsay, Le Roux Roets, Marné Coetzee, Marko Janse van Rensburg, Morgan Naudé. Replacements: Simon Westraadt, Andrew Beerwinkel, Stefan Willemse, Jeandré Rudolph, Abri Griesel, Kobus Marais, Henco Marais.

Lions: Sylvian Mahuza, Wandisile Simelane, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom (c), 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 James Venter, Hanko de Villiers, Marvin Orie, Rhyno Herbst, Jacobie Adriaanse, Corne Fourie, Sti Sithole. Replacements: Pieter Jansen, Danie Mienie, Chergine Fillies, Driaan Bester, Len Massyn, Dillon Smit, Shaun Reynolds.

Saturday, Oct. 13

Griquas vs. Sharks

Griquas: AJ Coertzen, Ederies Arendse, Kyle Steyn (c), Andre Swarts, Enver Brandt, George Whitehead, Zak Burger, Conway Pretorius, Sias Koen, Wendal Wehr, Pieter Jansen van Vuuren, Sintu Manjezi, Ewald van der Westhuizen, Khwezi Mkhafu, Devon Martinus. Replacements: Liam Hendricks, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, Eital Bredenkamp, Louis Venter, Stephan Janse van Rensburg, Edwin Sass.

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Sbu Nkosi, Jeremy Ward, Rob du Preez, Lwazi Mvovo, Curwin Bosch, Louis Schreuder, Dan du Preez, Tyler Paul, Jacques Vermeulen, Hyron Andrews, Gideon Koegelenberg, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Juan Schoeman. Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Thomas du Toit, JJ van der Mescht, Jean-Luc du Preez, Grant Williams, Marius Louw, Kobus van Wyk.

Blue Bulls vs. Western Province

Blue Bulls: Divan Rossouw, Jamba Ulengo , Jonny Kotze, Franco Naude, Jade Stighling, Manie Libbok, Ivan van Zyl, Hanro Liebenberg (c), Marco van Staden, Ruan Steenkamp, Eli Snyman, Hendré Stassen, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Matthys Basson. Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Ruan Nortje, Nic de Jager, Embrose Papier, Tinus de Beer, Dylan Sage.

Western Province: Dillyn Leyds, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Dan du Plessis, SP Marais, Damian Willemse, Herschel Jantjies, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Ernst van Rhyn, Kobus van Dyk, JD Schickerling, Chris van Zyl (c), Wilco Louw, Scarra Ntubeni, Ali Vermaak. Replacements: Chad Solomon, Caylib Oosthuizen, Neethling Fouché, Salmaan Moerat, Jaco Coetzee, Paul de Wet, Josh Stander.