Weighing up the contenders

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content on 12 Oct 2010 at 10:21
Tagged with : , , ,

Let’s have an impartial. sober look at the four teams contesting the Currie Cup semi-finals and see if we can pick a winner based solely on the strength of their squads.

We’ll do this position by position and rank the teams from best to worst… here we go.

The front row
Leading the pack here simply has to be the Sharks, with an all-Bok front row in Tendai Mtawarira and the du Plessis brothers. The fact that their reserve props, Eugene van Staden, Pat Cilliers and even young Wiehahn Herbst have all stood up well this year, coupled with a pair of in-form reserve hookers (Craig Burden has been one of the players of the tournament) means that their depth is second to none. Next best is the Cheetahs, with hooker and captain Adriaan Strauss forming a superb unit with Coenie Oosthuizen and WP Nel. They lose out to the Sharks because their reserve depth isn’t as strong. The Blue Bulls come in third, mostly due to the fact that they are without two key men in Gary Botha and Gurthro Steenkamp, both of whom are out injured. Chilliboy Rallepelle is a more than capable hooker, while Werner Kruger at tighthead is becoming a legend in Pretoria. Where the Bulls are always impressive is the young depth they possess, with Dean Greyling, Rossouw de Klerk and countless other strong youngsters in their ranks. Let’s not forget the impact that old man Jaco Engels can bring either. Bringing up the rear here are Western Province, who are without Wikus Blaauw and Tiaan Liebenberg, on whom so much of their early season dominance was based. While JD Moller, Deon Fourie and Brok Harris are all capable players, further depth is a serious question mark for Province.

The second row
The Blue Bulls are clear favourites here, with Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha without peer in world rugby, either individually or as a pair. The backup ranks, which include further Springboks in Danie Rossouw and Flip van der Merwe, as well as promising youngsters like Fudge Mabeta, sees the Pretorians rise head and shoulders above anyone else here. The Sharks are a short head in front of Western Province in second spot, with Steven Sykes and Alistair Hargreaves probably about even with their Province counterparts, Anton van Zyl and Adriaan Fondse. Where the Sharks take this one is in the depth they have, with Gerhard Mostert and Ross Skeate both experienced options. Province have the young De Kock Steenkamp and nobody else. The Cheetahs are fourth, with a bunch of retreaded flankers whose names I haven’t yet bothered to learn playing in their second row. I think there’s also some oke called Waltie, or Zakkie, or something. Whatever!

The loose forwards
Wow… how do you call this one? Trying to find a South African side without talent and depth aplenty in the loose forward ranks is tough enough without having to limit your search to the four best teams in the country. Province have Schalk Burger, Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen who form a very complimentary trio, with the talented Pieter Louw the best of an impressive bunch of youngsters in reserve. While the Sharks are short of a second real bruiser in the absence of Jean Deysel, in Willem Alberts, Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes they have three of THE form players of the tournament so far – and that’s not even mentioning Ryan Kankowski, or Mike Rhodes, who has done well when asked. The Bulls have Pierre Spies still to come back and join a very crowded bunch that includes Derick Kuun, Dewald Potgeiter and Danie Rossouw, while Free State have the most experienced (and probably in-form) campaigners in Hendro Scholtz, Juan Smith and Ashley Johnson. Based simply on the way they play and the impact they bring, I’m going to give this battle to the Cheetahs, with the Sharks and Province tied for second place. The Bulls are fourth, simply because I don’t rate Kuun and I believe they lack balance in the back row.

The halfbacks
I don’t think anyone would have too much to say if I pick Francois Hougaard and Morne Steyn of the Bulls as the best halfbacks in the top 4. With promising Ruan Snyman and Jacques-Louis Potgieter in reserve, the Bulls have the vital decision-making positions sewn up, which could prove huge for them. The Sharks are second, with Charl McLeod and Pat Lambie proving a real handful for their opponents whenever they’ve played together. Rory Kockott and Andre Pretorius are also both talented and experienced options. Province are third here, as they have two very good scrumhalves in Ricky Januarie and Dewald Duvenage, but are nullified in having a flyhalf (Willem de Waal) who tends to nullify their attacking potential. With Tewis de Bruyn and Louis Strydom as their halfbacks, the Cheetahs have gone right through the bottom of the barrel and are now scraping the concrete floor beneath it.

The centres
With three Bok centres on their books (Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie and Juan de Jongh), Province are streets ahead of anyone else here, without even needing to look at their impressive reserve depth. The Cheetahs are second, with Meyer Bosman and Rob Ebersohn playing some great rugby. They are a little short of depth, mostly because their reserve centres are forced to play wing. The Bulls come in third, mostly due to Wynand Olivier, who always plays well for them in the Currie Cup. Jaco Pretorius is still a bit of a muppet, but they do have some good young options coming through the ranks in Stefan Watemeyer and Stephan Dippenaar. The Sharks, with the bash-it-up duo of Dries Strauss and Riaan Swanepoel at 12, coupled with out-of-position Stefan Terblanche at 13, bring up the rear here, although Adi Jacobs, at least, does offer a little bit of hope.

The back three
Province are the leaders here, with a truckload of talented players including Bryan Habana, Conrad Jantjes, Gio Aplon, JJ Engelbrecht and even Jean de Villiers, who looked the part against the Sharks. Call me biased, but I’m going to say that the Sharks aren’t far behind. Lwazi Mvovo and Louis Ludik are a real attacking threat, while the high work-rate of Odwa Ndungane in indispensable. JP Pietersen should also be fit now and can come in somewhere. The Bulls look a bit pedestrian out wide, with Gerhard van den Heever not enjoying his greatest season. Jaco van der Westhuyzen and Zane Kirchner are certainly not my cup of tea either, but they’re pretty effective playing the Bulls game. The Cheetahs bring up the rear simply because they don’t have wings to match the class of fullback Hennie Daniller, another of the players of the tournament so far.

Let’s add those up, giving 4 points for first place, 3 for second, 2 for third and 1 for fourth.

That leaves us with the following:
Sharks 15.5
Bulls 15
WP 14.5
Cheetahs 13

Sharks to win the cup? If only it were that simple!


  • Ross Sekate

    John Secada’s brother??? 😈

    Okay let me finish the read…

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.10.10 10:25:04 by Morné Reply
  • Have to give the loosies to the WP and not tied with the Sharks.

    Such a pity with WP having the best outside backs by a country mile, they don’t have a 10 to bring them into the game…

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.10.10 10:28:41 by Morné Reply
  • Can you do my books for me? I like the way you work the numbers.

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.10.10 10:34:46 by rugbypedia Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 2) : he had to tie them to give us a half, otherwise the bulls and wp would have been tied with the sharks at 15 points, thus making the bulls the leaders by alphabetical order. 😉

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.10.10 10:36:06 by VanWilder Reply

  • Interesting…

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.10.10 10:37:34 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Its a nice way to look at it Rob.. enjoyed the read!

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.10.10 10:47:52 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @VanWilder (Comment 4) :

    By any means necessary hey! 😀

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.10.10 10:53:37 by Morné Reply
  • @VanWilder (Comment 4) : hehe… I actually DIDN’T add up the numbers before I wrote the article.

    But there was, of course, the inevitable natural bias!

  • Comment 8, posted at 12.10.10 10:55:48 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Morné (Comment 2) : you’ll need to convince me… in under 500 words 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 12.10.10 10:56:16 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Skeate is injured Rob, but in Mostert, Sykes and Hargreaves and even Bresler/Rhodes as back-up, we aren’t too badly off.

  • Comment 10, posted at 12.10.10 10:58:33 by Baldrick Reply

  • @Baldrick (Comment 10) : is he still not back? Bugger…

  • Comment 11, posted at 12.10.10 11:02:14 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : not that it matters this week. Would not pick Skeate ahead of any of the other 3 for a game against the Bulls. Province tried that trick for years and it NEVER worked.

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.10.10 11:05:05 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 9) :

    You have no Deysel or Alberts (is he back?)

    WP has a better balanced trio.

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.10.10 11:05:10 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 13) : Alberts is back

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.10.10 11:07:50 by war1 Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 13) : that’s definitely based on Alberts being back 🙂

    Without him, we’re screwed

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.10.10 11:13:55 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Interesting, I really do wish it was that easy.

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.10.10 11:19:23 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @war1 (Comment 14) : @robdylan (Comment 15) :


    Alberts back hey…

    1. Beast
    2. Bismarck
    3. Jannie
    4. Sykes
    5. Mostert
    6. Botes
    7. Alberts
    8. Kanko
    9. McCleod
    10. Petoors
    11. Oupa
    12. Lammetjie
    13. Adi
    14. Odwa
    15. Ludik…

    I’ll put money on the Sharks…

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.10.10 11:19:31 by Morné Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : you should have tried refereeing. would have loved to see you ref a sharks vs bulls game. 😈

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.10.10 11:20:01 by VanWilder Reply

  • @war1 (Comment 14) : I hope so, we really need him.

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.10.10 11:20:12 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @Morné (Comment 7) : if we dont win the battle, we WILL win the war (of words)… 😉

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.10.10 11:22:49 by VanWilder Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 17) : where is JP in that team?? come-on now? 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.10.10 11:24:27 by VanWilder Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 21) :

    Has he recovered?

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.10.10 11:26:16 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 17) : no JP no Mvovo… 😯 u pick 2 of the slowest men out there. ahh, now i understand, you want a home final, dont you province supporter?? 😈

  • Comment 23, posted at 12.10.10 11:26:27 by VanWilder Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 23) :

    Check Rob’s 4 teams one trophy thread for my reasoning…

  • Comment 24, posted at 12.10.10 11:27:33 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 22) : i`m quite sure he has. 😯

  • Comment 25, posted at 12.10.10 11:27:43 by VanWilder Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 25) :

    With your lack of strike running ability, I will start Adi outside Pat Lambie (at 12), Petoors @ 10, Terblanche on the wing to cover defensively with Mvovo on the bench – explosive wingers do not pose a massive threat in finals traditionally, I would rather have the coolness of Stefan and Odwa in the back three, and if needed, the explosiveness of Ludik at 15 running off Lambie at 12 or Adi at 13.

    Reason – Bulls will kick a lot and you have 3 guys in the back who are experienced, and all having a decent boot on them.

    Reason 2 – Bulls have leaked tries in midfield throughout 2010 in the Super 14 and CC – I will exploit this with playmaking of Lambie and game breaking of Adi and Ludik.

  • Comment 26, posted at 12.10.10 11:29:51 by Morné Reply
  • @VanWilder (Comment 25) : JPP is still very doubtful it seems

  • Comment 27, posted at 12.10.10 11:32:17 by war1 Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 17) : Don’t make ANY predictions of the Sharks winning 😉

  • Comment 28, posted at 12.10.10 11:33:29 by war1 Reply
  • I expect Plum to play Lambie at flyhalf and probably start with Daniel ahead of Botes and possibly Adi 12

  • Comment 29, posted at 12.10.10 11:35:39 by war1 Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 26) : i understand your reasoning, but if the sharks chose a runing game, speed is needed to finish of counter attacking oppertunities. and with Stef and Odwa (as much as i like them), we dont have speed.

    i also believe that the bulls will rain down with the up-and-unders as the did against province at loftus the other day, so a steady back 3 is needed too, so it will be interesting what the choice will be, but i think our backline will look like this:

    15. Ludik
    14. Ndungane
    13. Stef
    12. Stauss (for his defence)
    11. JPP (if fit, otherwise Mvovo)
    10. Lambie
    9. McLoed

  • Comment 30, posted at 12.10.10 11:38:48 by VanWilder Reply

  • @war1 (Comment 27) : not geed… 😯

  • Comment 31, posted at 12.10.10 11:42:14 by VanWilder Reply

  • Jaco Pretorius is still a bit of a muppet

  • Comment 32, posted at 12.10.10 11:43:40 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 29) : The last 10 min against WP, Lambie was 10, Adi 12 & Stef 13, Ludik 15…

  • Comment 33, posted at 12.10.10 11:45:52 by Charlie Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 30) :

    If they choose to employ a running game they might just hand the win to the Bulls now and we can all just pitch up for a lekker braai at the Tank to see if the final will be in CPT or Bloem! 😈

  • Comment 34, posted at 12.10.10 11:46:33 by Morné Reply
  • @Charlie (Comment 33) : and it seemed to work, not so?

  • Comment 35, posted at 12.10.10 11:48:37 by war1 Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 34) : jip, we will just have to wait and see hey? i will pay straus good money to tackle meisiekind like he tackled vermeulen. 😈

  • Comment 36, posted at 12.10.10 11:50:53 by VanWilder Reply

  • @war1 (Comment 35) : 😉

  • Comment 37, posted at 12.10.10 11:52:36 by Charlie Reply

  • Jaque Fourie’s foot injury is more serious than initially anticipated and is likely to force him out of Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup semifinal at Newlands.

    Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said on Tuesday an assessment showed that the injury will not heal in time for the Springbok centre to play against the Free State Cheetahs.

    “It’s (the injury) not looking good and it will be a big blow to lose the services of a Springbok, especially for such a crunch match,” said Coetzee.

    “We know how valuable he is but we’ll have to soldier on with a changed backline.

    “We’ll probably bring Conrad Jantjes back at fullback and Jean de Villiers will go back to centre. Gio Aplon will move out from fullback to the wing.” Earlier, Fourie’s namesake, hooker Deon Fourie, was cleared to play after he was found not guilty of foul play in last Saturday’s match against the Sharks.

  • Comment 38, posted at 12.10.10 16:21:04 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • The Bulls just announced that Stegman and Spies will be able to play this weekend….good news for the Bulls not so good for the Sharks. 😐

  • Comment 39, posted at 13.10.10 08:25:17 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Morné (Comment 2) : WP loosies outplayed us just this saturday so it`s pretty straight forward as far as I can see.

    @Morné (Comment 17) : You do know Marius Jonker is the ref right?

  • Comment 40, posted at 13.10.10 08:34:01 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • You can add another 5 points for the Bulls for the team’s BMT and knowing how to win the important games. 😐

  • Comment 41, posted at 13.10.10 08:37:15 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • i might not be the most objective, but i would certainly rate wynand olivier and jaco pretorius higher than meyer bosman and robert ebersohn. meyer bosman is playing well, but no way is he better than wynand olivier. wynand makes a much bigger impact on the game.

    and while i might not be very fond of jaco pretorius, he does the basics well. he doesn’t get always get alot of space, but he is quite strong with the ball, and he doesn’t really ever “jaag [email protected] aan”.

  • Comment 42, posted at 13.10.10 08:55:31 by bloubulblog Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 41) : I certainly hope so :mrgreen:

  • Comment 43, posted at 13.10.10 09:05:10 by diablo Reply

  • @diablo (Comment 43) : I so hope I’m wrong 😉

  • Comment 44, posted at 13.10.10 09:08:05 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 42) : LOL Meyer Bosman hehehehe

    Possible backline for Sharks next year:
    JL Potgieter

    Would that be the slowest combination in the competition?

  • Comment 45, posted at 13.10.10 09:17:19 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • “Let’s have an impartial. sober look at the four teams contesting the Currie Cup semi-finals ”

    I think it would be a lot more fun if just for once we had an entirely biased, alcohol induced view on the four teams contesting the Currie Cup semi-finals. May I suggest the fellow that writes it is sponsored a Keg by SW? Ha ha ha.

    Oh well. It was worth a stab.

  • Comment 46, posted at 13.10.10 10:03:05 by rugbypedia Reply

  • @rugbypedia (Comment 3) : great comment 😆

  • Comment 47, posted at 13.10.10 12:10:43 by bergshark Reply

  • @rugbypedia (Comment 46) : 😆 😆

  • Comment 48, posted at 13.10.10 12:11:22 by bergshark Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 41) : true … 🙁 🙁

  • Comment 49, posted at 13.10.10 12:12:29 by bergshark Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 17) : i like the look of this team and your reasoning behind the selections ..please tell me you`re plum 😀

  • Comment 50, posted at 13.10.10 12:17:00 by bergshark Reply

  • Let’s add those up, giving 4 points for first place, 3 for second, 2 for third and 1 for fourth.

    That leaves us with the following:
    Sharks 15.5
    Bulls 15
    WP 14.5
    Cheetahs 13

    @robdylan (Comment 8) :

    Bias is understandable. What’s it worth?
    Let’s say 1 point.

    That leaves us with the following:
    Bulls 15
    Sharks 14.5
    WP 14.5
    Cheetahs 13

    There you have it.

  • Comment 51, posted at 13.10.10 13:34:54 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @fyndraai (Comment 51) : can we agree on “too close to call”? 🙂

  • Comment 52, posted at 13.10.10 14:34:46 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator

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