Now that we’ve got through the first round of matches, we should be in a bit of a better position to predict the outcome of this first set of games in the return leg. Our calls have been pretty woeful so far, but I guess we can only improve from here.
Griquas v Blue Bulls
This should be very interesting indeed… in the first round, we expected Griquas to take the inexperienced Bulls at home. That didn’t happen and it was the men from Kimberley who went on to suffer a run of three defeats before finally finding their mojo against the Lions. The Bulls, on de udder hand, have failed spectacularly in their last two outings and have again made sweeping changes as coach Pine Pienaar attempts to stumble upon a winning combination. Griquas have lost captain Rayno Barnes to suspension, which may unsettle them, but if they can replicate the hard-tackling display against the Sharks, I think they could win here. Griquas to sneak it, by about 3 points.
Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Walter Venter, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Wesley Wilkins (captain), 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Rynhardt Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Matt Dobson, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Ivann Espag, 18 Frikkie Spies, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Richard Lawson.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Rudi Paige, 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.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Jan Serfontein.
Cheetahs v Lions
The Lions picked up a good away win against the Bulls last week and were far too strong for these self-same Cheetahs in Round 1 – all of which point to a good win for the away team. Add to that some further strange selections from Naka Drotske, who has backed Tewis de Bruyn at flyhalf and it starts to look even more positive for the Lions. They’ve been rocked by a fresh exit, though, with Josh Strauss on his way to Scotland and it remains to be seen whether they end up being a little flat as a result. My money, though, is on a Lions win, by around 8 points.
Free Sate Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn (Captain, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Tewis du Bruyn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Hendro Scholtz, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen (Vice Captain), 4 Francois Uys, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Sias Ebersohn, 21 Phillip Snyman, 22 Rayno Benjamin.
Golden 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).
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Butch James, 22 Jaco Taute.
Sharks v Western Province
The biggest game of the round sees these coastal rivals both scrambling for the underdog tag. Province coach Allister Coetzee insists that his side are not favourites, despite good wins in the last two weeks. The Sharks came horribly unstuck in Kimberley, but has a proud home record to defend and have made changes that make them look a little stronger this week. All-in-all, it’s going to be a closely contested battle, but one I feel the Sharks should probably edge based on home ground advantage and just that little bit more experience in crucial positions. Sharks to win by 5.
Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Tim Whitehead, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Rosco Speckman, 10. Riaan Viljoen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Keegan Daniel (Capt), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Jandre Marais, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Pieter Dixon, 1. Dale Chadwick
16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Julian Redelinghuys, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Brynard Stander, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Marius Joubert, 22. S’bura Sithole
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 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Deon Carstens
Replacements: 16 Steven Kitshoff, 17 Tom Botha, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Joe Pietersen