WITH the Lion Lager National Rugby League action entering week 12 this weekend, much focus will be on the battle for a spot in the semi-finals as all five teams in the middle of the table have a chance to finish in the top four on the log standings.
REPORT BY VITALIS MOYO
Most of the league action will take place in Bulawayo as three exhilarating encounters are lined up at Hartsfield Rugby Ground on Saturday.
Old Miltonians (OMs) will kick start the action at Hartsfield as they host bottom-placed Zvishavane Bulls followed by the clash between Western Panthers and Old Georgians.
The pick of the day will be a repeat of last year’s final as Matabeleland Warriors and Harare Sports Club (HSC) lock horns for the first time this season after their first round clash was cancelled after the Mat Warriors team was involved in a road accident while making their way to the capital to fulfil that fixture.
Both sides will be determined to come out with a win from this weekend’s meeting following last week’s disappointing outings as Mat Warriors were routed 61-27 by Old Georgians, while HSC lost 21-30 to Old Hararians in the Harare derby.
The defending champions are on third position on the log standings with 27 points, eight points clear of their hosts who are in fifth position with 19 points and desperate to secure fourth position on the log to ensure their passage to the semis.
Panthers face an uphill task in retaining their fourth position on the log table as they have a tough assignment against a high flying Old Georgians who are second on the log standings having racked 40 points with two games in hand.
The Gorge “Rollo” Mukorera-coached side will be looking to build from last week’s 10-10 draw in a derby match against OMs which saw them dislodge Warriors from fourth position to sit on that spot with only one point separating the two sides.
OMs who are also eyeing to finish in the top four have what looks to be a simple assignment as they host a struggling Zvishavane Bulls who have one win in their league campaign so far after 11 matches.
The Theo Weale-coached side seems to have recovered from a disastrous start in the league which saw the side suffer heavy losses in all their four of their opening matches in the league to register three wins and two draws to sit on sixth position on the log tied on 19 points with Warriors while Bulls have seven points.
The two sides clashed in the first half of the season which saw OMs record their first victory beating Bulls in their own turf at McAdams Stadium.
Meanwhile, Log Leaders Old Hararians will be looking to maintain their fine run in the league when they travel to take on Gweru Sports Club at McAdams Stadium on Saturday in the only league match to be played outside Bulawayo.
Old Hararians are nine points clear of the second team on the log standings having won 10 of their 11 matches while Gweru Sports Club have a fighting chance for a spot in the semis as they are seventh on the log with 17 points.