Most of the top sides who will contest the Currie Cup trophy this season played friendly matches against First Division opposition this past weekend.
Last year’s losing finalists, the Free State Cheetahs, ran out to a convincing 43-7 win over the Border Bulldogs on Saturday night at the ABSA Stadium in East London, scoring 7 tries in the process. Front-ranker Coenie Oosthuizen and discarded Bok loose forward Kabamba Floors helped themselves to a brace of tries each, while former Lions flyhalf Louis Strydom was in good form with the boot, converting four from five conversion attempts before being replaced on the hour.
Down in Port Elizabeth, Gary Botha captained the Blue Bulls to a 24-11 victory over the feisty EP Elephants, although the men in blue didn’t have things all their own way, managing a slender 5-3 lead at half time against a team hell-bent on returning to the top flight. De Wet Barry captained a home side that contained a slew of former Sharks age group players, including Jacques Potgieter, Milo Nqoro and Mox Mxoli in the somewhat unusual position of hooker. The Bulls scored 4 tries, one of them through on-trial WP winger Hayden Groepes, while the Elephants could only manage a solitary one in return, scored by none other than Tiger Mangweni.
The Lions finally managed to win a match – for the first time this year, it seems – in beating Loffie Eloff’s Boland by 45 points to 29. The Lions ran in seven tries, which is all very good and well, if you ignore the fact that they conceded no fewer than 5 to the opposition. None of the other serious contenders for the Currie Cup title conceded more than a solitary try to their B-division opposition, so it looks like it’s going to be a try-fest for the visiting teams once again down at the Coke Tank this year.
Western Province stuttered their way to a 29-5 victory over the Griffons in Welkom, with all four of their tries coming via the pack – three were scored by flanker Pieter Louw and the other by lock Adriaan Fondse. Province opted to use their strong forwards to make up for the fact that, as a result of a frankly ridiculous number of Bok call-ups, they don’t really have a backline this Currie Cup.
In the other game, Griquas played well to overcome the SWD Eagles by 50 points to 12, running in 8 tries to the two of their hosts. Ikeys Varsity Cup flyhalf Matt Rosslee played inside centre for the men from Kimberley -yet another talented inside back who somehow slipped by under Rudolf Straeuli’s radar. Rosslee was one of the best players on the field for Griquas, who suffered a blow in that star scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius went down injured and must be in doubt for the opening Currie Cup game against the Sharks this weekend.Tweet