With 12 titles out of 16 between them, three of the four teams contesting the Vodacom Cup semi-finals this weekend – all of them from the North Section – know a thing or two about winning this competition. It’s only the Steval Pumas, runners up in 2013 and the only unbeaten team this season, that hasn’t won the Vodacom Cup.
The Golden Lions, whose title last year was their fifth, GWK Griquas (four-times champions) and the Vodacom Blue Bulls (three-time champions) have dominated the competition between them since its inception in 1998.
GWK Griquas and the Vodacom Blue Bulls have already improved on their performances in 2013, when both were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls will be looking to improve even further in their Gauteng derby against the Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon.
It will be the seventh time the Pretoria-based union host a Vodacom Cup semi-final and the 12th time they’ve reached this stage of the competition – one more than GWK Griquas.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls have had the luxury of sticking with virtually an unchanged team for the last couple of weeks and will go into their semi-final with confidence after last weekend’s narrow away win in Bloemfontein.
The Golden Lions will be heading to Loftus Versfeld for the second time this season, when the home team scored 10 quick points around the hour-mark to sneak through by 22-20 after the visitors got both their tries in the first 20 minutes.
It was one of the three pool matches the Golden Lions lost, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls were only beaten by the Steval Pumas and GWK Griquas in their opening two matches of the season, after which they’ve now won six on the trot.
The Steval Pumas host GWK Griquas in the first semi-final in Nelspruit on Friday evening. Whoever wins this match, will host the final.
Vodacom Blue Bulls v Golden Lions
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Quinton Immelman
•Delayed on SuperSport 1 and SSHD at 21h30
Vodacom Cup Previous Winners:
1998: GWK Griquas
1999: Golden Lions
2000: Toyota Free State Cheetahs
2001: Vodacom Blue Bulls
2002: Golden Lions
2003: Golden Lions
2004: Golden Lions
2005: GWK Griquas
2007: GWK Griquas
2008: Vodacom Blue Bulls
2009: GWK Griquas
2010: Vodacom Blue Bulls
2011: Pampas XV
2012: DHL Western Province
2013: Golden Lions