Five weeks in and we’re already at the end of the first round of matches, with the return leg starting next week. Let’s see who’s going to do what this week.
Griquas v Sharks
This should be a hugely entertaining game, with both sides providing their share of thrills and spills last week in narrow wins over the Lions and Cheetahs respectively. The sides have been kept much the same, but the home ground advantage will go Griquas’ way and the Sharks will need to ensure much better ball protection this week, since it was exactly that aspect that proved the Lions undoing in round 4. The men from Durbs are in mean try-scoring mood though and were defensively very good for most of the game against the Cheetahs. The Sharks should take this one, by around 4 points.
Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Walter Venter, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Wesley Wilkins, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Ligtoring Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts
Substitutes: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Ivann Espag, 18 Frikkie Spies, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Richard Lawson
15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Sbura Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel (capt), 6 Jacques Botes, 5, Anton Bresler, 4 Jandre Marais, 3 Wors Herbst, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Marius Joubert
Bulls v Lions
Another interesting game, this time between two teams who suffered shock losses last week. The Bulls have been good at home this season, though and the Lions have changed virtually their whole team after losing to Griquas. It’s pretty hard to see an away victory in a game that could produce some interesting moments, but will probably be a rather dour affair. Bulls to take it by about 7.
Blue Bulls: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Jurgen Visser
Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14.Deon Helberg,13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Alwyn Hollenbach, 11. Ruan Combrinck, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Michael Bondesio, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Willie Britz, 6. Cobus Grobbelaar, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Hendrik Roodt, 3. Jacobie Adriaanse, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg (captain)
Substitutes: 16. Bandise Maku, 17. CJ van der Linde, 18. Michael Rhodes, 19. Jaco Kriel, 20. Ross Cronjé, 21. Butch James, 22. Jaco Taute
Cheetahs v WP
The best game is saved for last and if WP can replicate the superb running rugby that they played against the Bulls, it should be a hugely entertaining contest. The Cheetahs will fancy their chances at home, though and their flat defence could pressure Province into playing the game backwards, in which case they will probably lose. Heinrich Brussow is back and our call is that the Cheetahs’ best player will spur them on to a narrow, but memorable victory at home. Cheetahs by 5.
Cheetahs:15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn (captain), 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 Heinrich Brüssow, 4 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Substitutes: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Hendro Scoltz, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Rayno Benjamin.
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Deon Carstens
Substitutes: 16 Steven Kitshoff, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 Louis Schreuder 21 Patrick Howard, 22 Kurt Coleman