“Die Currie Cup kom weer” as the guys in the Cape like to say, although how they would know is beyond me, since they haven’t won the trophy since some time last century. Anyway, it is most definitely Currie Cup time again and we have three matches to look forward to this weekend.
Blue Bulls v Griquas
Friday night kicks off with Pote Human’s Griquas heading to take on Pine Pienaar’s Blue Bulls at Loftus. The Bulls side has been ravaged by Bok call-ups and looks, frankly, a little experimental. Griquas, on the other hand, have shopped judiciously during the off-season and look to have a strong squad. What’s more, the bulk of the Griquas team have been training together a lot longer, given the lack of Super Rugby competition and they typically start very well in this competition. I’m afraid I see an upset coming here, with Griquas to prevail by 5 points.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Clayton Blommetjies, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn.
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Jan Serfontein.
Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux; 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 JP Nel, 12 Stephan Watermeyer, 11 Rocco Jansen; 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Jacques Coetzee; 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Jonathan Adendorff, 6 Justin Downey, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Ligtoring Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Rayno Barnes (capt), 1 Stef Roberts.
Substitutes: 16 Matthew Dobson, 17 Janro van Niekerk, 18 Frikkie Spies, 19 Jaco Nepgen, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Wilmaure Louw.
Golden Lions v Cheetahs
Saturday’s first match sees the Cheetahs head down to Lion country, where they’ll face a team beset by internal politics behind the scenes, but despite all that, always a tough proposition on the field of play. The Cheetahs look a very useful side, but then again, so do the Lions and I think this one is going to end up being very close as a result. In this first round, we have no relative form to go on and with each side having won their respective home match in Super Rugby, it’s probably a pretty save bet to back that trend. Lions to take it, by around 4 points.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Butch James, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC van Rensburg (captain).
Substitutes: 16 Francois Du Toit, 17 CJ Van der Linde, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warren Whiteley, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Guy Cronje, 22 Ruan Combrinck.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Rob Ebersohn (capt), 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Waltie Vermeulen, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Philip Snyman
Western Province v Sharks
The awesome thing about the 6-team Premier Division this year is that you are guaranteed three strength-v-strength contest each week and while it’s probably not completely accurate to talk of this match-up as the “big game” of the weekend, it’s nevertheless a crucial one which will be watched closely by both sets of fans. The weather is expected to be ghastly and the Sharks will be carrying a few tired bodies after all their travels of late. That said, though, Province have hardly named the sort of side to send shivers of dread throughout the Currie Cup firmament and my feeling is the more experienced Sharks could – and should – take them, if they’re up for it. Sharks to win by around 3 points.
Western Province: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Deon Carstens.
Substitutes: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 JC Kritzinger, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Damian de Allende.
Sharks: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Sbura Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean Deysel (capt), 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Rosco Speckman