The home side have won the title twice in their history (2015 and 2016) and the SWD are defending the title they won in 2022 (they were also crowned champions in 2017), so both sides will be aware of the significance of his clash.

The form book tilts heavily towards the Free State side to dethrone the Eagirls, who are playing the final away from home, just like last year. In 2022, the Leopards also entered the final as favourites in Potchefstroom but came away empty-handed after a stirring display by the visitors from SWD.

It should be a close affair, despite the dominance of the home side in the tournament thus far. They won their league encounter with SWD two months ago – played in Bloemfontein – by 40-0 after leading 12-0 at the break, but the Eagirls had several players attending a national sevens camp that weekend.

They are all back for this clash and especially Antonecia Hannies is expecting to have a huge impact in the backs in this match, while SWD will also have a plan to combat the power running of Bernice Strydom, who dominated her opponents this year.

Free State coaches Anton Smit and Darren Colby have done wonders to mould the Free State Women into an unstoppable unit this season and the ultimate reward could just bring another trophy to the City of Roses, but don’t tell Eagirls coaches Elize Arendse and assistant Sammy Oktober that, as they have no plans to re-arrange the SWD trophy cabinet.

Women’s First Division Final – Free State Women v SWD Eagirls
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Date: Saturday, 5 August
Referee: Angie Bezuidenhout
Kick-off: 13h00
Livestream: SuperSport Schools App

Women’s Premier Division:

The Women’s Premier Division will again deliver a weekend of classic clashes, with the Bulls Daisies and DHL Western Province the pick of the crop when they clash in Pretoria on Saturday.

The two log leaders in the competition have both qualified for the semi-finals in three weeks’ time and the visitors could confirm hosting one of those by upsetting the home team at Loftus Versfeld.

Elsewhere, Boland Dames will travel to Nelson Mandela Bay knowing that a win over the EP Queens will keep their play-off ambitions alive and in East London, the Border Ladies will have to box clever to stop the Mastercard Golden Lions Women, who are the most improved side in the tournament this season.

The Pretoria showdown will have the Daisies as overwhelming favourites. Daisies coach Hayden Groepes named his strongest pack available, with only Anatho Qolo (lock) not capped at international level, while five of his backs played at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year.

The WP backline also boast five Springbok Women so that contest alone will be worth the entry fee, but the question remains if their young pack will be able to provide a foundation to play from.

The Dames will look at Aseza Hele and their pack to provide the grunt as they need to beat the Queens at Adcock Stadium and stay in the playoff race. Hele and fellow loose forward, Buhle Sonamzi, will return to their old stomping ground and their abilities to get across the advantage line could be crucial.

For Border Ladies, the realities are clear. They need to beat their visitors from Johannesburg with a bonus point and a huge score in their last league match of the season. They have a bye next weekend and although they are safe for the semi-finals, the Ladies could lose hosting rights to Western Province.

The Lions need to win to stay in touch with Dames and the Cell C Sharks Women for the remaining semifinal sport. They play Daisies in Pretoria next weekend, so every point collected on this trip will be vital to their ambitions.

Match information:

Border Ladies v Mastercard Lions Women
Venue: Police Park, East London
Date: Saturday, 5 August
Referee: Sinesipho Foloti
Kick-off: 13h00
Livestream: SuperSport Schools App

EP Queens v Boland Dames
Venue: Adcock Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay
Date: Saturday, 5 August
Referee: Siyanda Pikoli
Kick-off: 13h30

Bulls Daisies v DHL Western Province
Venue: Loftus Versfeld B-field, Pretoria
Date: Saturday, 5 August
Referee: Bulela Qwane
Kick-off: 14h00
Livestream: SuperSport Schools App