Round 9 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: Griquas v Cheetahs
Griquas have been a bit of a mixed bag this season – always fearsome at home, yet strangely meek away, they have a 50% win record in this year’s competition.Their only home loss has been to Province, but that was by a huge margin. The Cheetahs, in contrast, have played well of late and did superbly to unseat the self-same Province at Newlands on Friday – this after coming badly unstuck against the men from the Cape in the first round. As much as one would like to see Griquas win here, for no greater reason than the fact that they have a few Sharks in their lineup this week, I’m afraid I don’t see the Cheetahs losing. Free State will take it, by fewer than 10 points.
Griquas: 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Rocco Jansen, 13. Wilmaure Louw, 12. Barry Geel, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Naas Olivier (Captain), 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Burger Schoeman, 7. Justin Downey, 6. Rohan Kitshoff, 5. Cecil-John Kemp, 4. Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3. Jean Botha, 2. Ryno Barnes, 1. Steph Roberts
Replacements: 16. Simon Westraadt, 17. Jacobus Adriaanse, 18. Edwin Hewitt, 19. Johan van Deventer, 20. Marnus Hugo, 21. Jean Stemmet, 22. Rudi Vogt
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. Willem Petrus (WP) Nel, 18. Izak van der Westhuizen, 19. Kabamba Floors, 20. Tertius Carse, 21. Sias Ebersohn, 22. Riaan Smit
Game 2: Leopards v Pumas
These minnow derbies are always a bitch to call, but I have a feeling this one might not be quite so close. The Leopards are still winless this season and seemingly on a downward spiral, having lost their best player, scrumhalf Michael Bondesio, to injury. The Pumas have been something of a mini revelation and have been building up some good form, culminating in a win over the Bulls last weekend. The men from Mbombela will be too strong for their near neighbours, despite being away from home. Pumas to win by 10.
Leopards: 15 Danie Dames, 14 Deon Scholtz, 13 Jovan Bowles, 12 Walter Venter, 11 Dumisani Matyeshana, 10 Clayton Durand, 9 Theo van Wyk, 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 Divan Kotze, 21 Cecil Dumond, 22 Cornelius Rautenbach.
Pumas: 15. Nicky Kritzinger, 14. Braam Pretorius, 13. Shaun Venter, 12. Ashwin Scott, 11. Allister Kettledas, 10. Elgar Watts, 9. Tian Meyer, 8. Christo le Roux, 7. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 6. Corne Steenkamp, 5. Marius Coetzer, 4. Andries Kruger, 3. Ashley Buys, 2. Hannes Franklin (Captain), 1. Ronnie Uys
Replacements: 16. De-Jay Terblanche, 17. Dawie Steyn, 18. Willem Serfontein, 19. Jaco Bouwer, 20. Ricardo Croy, 21. Johan Jackson, 22. Vainon Willis
Game 3: Lions v Western Province
These derbies are what the Currie Cup is all about and the first big game of the weekend sees the somewhat resurgent Lions face a Western Province team that has hit a few speedbumps over the last two weeks. Province, unbeaten up until they came unstuck in Durban in round 7, lost to the Cheetahs last week and could surrender second place to the Cheetahs if they lose in Joburg. The Lions are on the up, having won their last three games, although they need to show that they can still knock over other members of the big five. Province have lost a talisman in hooker Tiaan Liebenberg and their once-mighty pack seems to be creaking just a little. This one is tough to call, but I’m going to go with the home side here and back the Lions to knock Province over, but win by 5 points or fewer.
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. Derick Minnie, 5. Franco van der Merwe (Captain), 4. George Earle, 3. Ross Geldenhuys, 2. Martin Bezuidenhout, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16. Edgar Marutlulle, 17. Wayne Swart, 18. Johan (Joe) Snyman, 19. Renaldo Bothma, 20. JP Joubert, 21. Burton Francis, 22. Marius Delport
Western Province: 15. Conrad Jantjes, 14. JJ Engelbrecht, 13. Tim Whitehead, 12. Paul Bosch, 11. Frikkie Welsh, 10. Willem de Waal, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Pieter Myburgh, 6. Francois Louw, 5. Anton van Zyl (Captain), 4. Adriaan Fondse, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. JD Moller
Replacements: 16. Callie-Theron Visagie, 17. Wicus Blaauw, 18. Buhle Mxunyelwa, 19. De Kock Steenkamp, 20. Yaasir Hartzenberg, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Marcel Brache
Game 4: Blue Bulls v Sharks
Woohoo! Loftus looms for the table-topping Sharks and if Plum and his boys deserve the title this year (as much as the fans and pundits seem to think they do) then a win at Loftus is a pretty good way to increase their stranglehold on the log. The Blue Bulls are reeling after a terrible first round which saw them drop half of their games. They haven’t lost at home, though, but winning at Loftus in the Currie Cup has not been too big an ask for the Sharks of late. The Sharks team has yet to be confirmed, but I just don’t see the Bulls having the guns in their side to upset the Sharks, regardless of where the game is played. Sharks to win by 7 or more.
Blue Bulls: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Jaco Pretorius, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 10. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9. Ruan Snyman, 8. Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7. Dewald Potgieter, 6. Derick Kuun (Captain), 5. Fudge Mabeta, 4. Juandre Kruger, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Bandise Maku, 1. Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16. Henri Bantjes, 17. Frik Kirsten, 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. CJ Stander, 20. Dustin Jinka, 21. Stefan Watermeyer, 22. Jaco Engels