Round 8 of the ABSA Currie Cup is upon us and it’s time to gaze into the crystal ball a little and predict what we think will happen.
There’s a lot riding on this one. Getting the result right can help you make serious progress in our Last Man Standing competition, as well as making your way up the log over at SuperBru. For those of you who prefer to take a more direct financial stake in things, perhaps using an online sports betting site, such as Marshalls World of Sport to place a bet on the results will be more your thing. Knowing who’s playing (and who isn’t) is also pretty important for Fantasy League managers.
Game 1: Lions v Leopards
The Lions have suffered a few injury setbacks this week, with winger Deon van Rensburg and hard-working flanker Derrick Minnie the main victims. That said, the Leopards haven’t looked like winning a game and are unlikely to do so this week, even with the return of try-scoring ace Bom Samaai on the left wing. Lions to take this comfortable, by around 20 points. Watch out for a real cat-fight in the inside centre position, with Walter Venter sure to be keen to get one over his old rival Doppies la Grange.
Golden Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Renaldo Bothma/Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe (captain), 4 Johan Snyman, 3 Ross Geldenhuys/Ruan Dreyer, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Wayne Swart, 18 George Earle, 19 Minnie/Jaco Kriel, 20 JP Joubert, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Pieter Engelbrecht.
Leopards: 15 Jan van Zyl, 14 Deon Scholtz, 13 Jovan Bowles, 12 Walter Venter, 11 Shuaib Samaai, 10 Neill Jacobs, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Riaan Swanepoel, 7 Reginald Kember, 6 Wilhelm Koch (captain), 5 Anthonie Gronum, 4 Brad Mockford, 3 Barend van der Walt, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1 Bennie Uys.
Replacements: 16 Marthinus van der Westhuizen, 17 Johan Coetzee, 18 Edrich Linde, 19 Christo van Niekerk, 20 Jean Tiedt, 21 Clayton Durand, 22 Danie Dames.
Game 2: Sharks v Griquas
Griquas have been the only side to beat the Sharks so far this year. That said, their side has been hit by injuries and the Sharks are red hot at the moment. The Sharks haven’t lost to Griquas at home in ages and generally put in a good performance against the Kimberley men when playing at ABSA Stadium. Sharks will take this one by at least 10, but probably more.
Griquas: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Richard Lawson, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Barry Geel, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Naas Olivier (captain), 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Burger Schoeman, 7 Rohan Kitshoff, 6 Davon Raubenheimer, 5 Cecil-John Kemp, 4 Michael Passaportis, 3 Jean Botha, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse/Ivann Espag, 18 Johan van Deventer, 19 Gerhard Human, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Rocco Jansen, 22 Rudi Vogt.
Game 3: Pumas v Blue Bulls
This one should be easy on the face of it, but the Pumas continue to upset my predictions by playing a lot better than I expect them to! While they haven’t managed to scalp a big side yet, they’ve come very close against the Sharks and the Lions, while their first-round match against the Culls at Loftus was anything but one-way traffic. That said, the Bulls have been bolstered by the return of a number of discarded Boks and really must have too much in the tank for the Pumas. I reckon the visitors will take it by around 15 points.
Pumas: 15 Nicky Kritzinger, 14 Vainon Willis, 13 Shaun Venter, 12 Tian Meyer, 11 Allistair Kettledas, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Christo le Roux, 7 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 6 Corné Steenkamp, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Andries Kruger, 3 Ashley Buys, 2 Hannes Franklin (captain), 1 Ronnie Uys.
Replacements: 16 Dee-Jay Terblanche, 17 Dawie Steyn, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 Eduan van der Walt, 20 Ricardo Croy, 21 Ashwin Scott, 22 Jaco Bouwer.
Blue Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Hayden Groepes, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Dustin Jinka, 8 Dewald Potgieter, 7 CJ Stander, 6 Derick Kuün (captain), 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Henry Bantjes, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Fudge Mabeta, 19 Okkie Kruger, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22 Jaco van der Westhuyzen.
Game 4: Western Province v Free State Cheetahs
This is the only reasonably tricky fixture of the weekend, with both of these sides likely to be among the semi-finalists at the end of the season. Province dispatched the Cheetahs with ease at the beginning of the season and suffered their first loss against the Sharks last week. The Cheetahs have blown hot and cold, but are still right up there on the log after a majestic away win over the Bulls a few weeks ago. Then again, a team that conspired to lose to the Lions probably isn’t going to have enough to topple Province at home, particularly without inspirational skipper Juan Smith. Looking at the flyhalves on offer, expect this to be a dour affair, which Province will take by around 7 points. Don’t expect many tries, though.
Western Province: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Nick Köster, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (captain), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Buhle Mxunyelwa, 18 JD Moller, 19 De Kock Steenkamp, 20 Pieter Myburgh, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Lionel Cronjé.
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Kobus Calldo, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 WP Nel, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tertius Carse, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Riaan Smit.