Picking the Currie Cup gems

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content on 6 Aug 2013 at 13:53
Tagged with : , , , ,

With the 2013 installment of SA’s older provincial rugby tournament set to kick off on Friday, it’s time to run the rule over the teams competing in what may well be one of the tightest Currie Cup competitions in years.

As is usually the case, big and small teams alike have been decimated by player defections, with the additional whammy of Bok call-ups removing a whack of players from the ranks of the “big four”. Even at this late stage, there’s plenty of horse trading going on and I can’t recall a recent season where the player market has been quite this active even so close to Currie Cup kick-off.

What that means is that all the teams are, to an extent, unsettled, making it really hard to pick a likely winner – or even four semi-finalists – at this early stage. For those playing in our Fantasy League competition, though, it’s obviously hugely important to figure out where the isolated stars are likely to come from. Who are the special players that are likely to stand out and turn matches for their teams in such a closely-contested competition? Let’s have a look at the teams to see if we can spot them.


The country cousins have suffered their usual merry-go-round amongst the backline, but have retained the bulk of the strong forward pack that served them well last year. They also enjoy continuity in coaching and leadership, which should stand them in good stead. It’s the front row, in particular, that stands out as an area of real strength for Griquas, with the likes of Ryno Barnes and Lourens Adriaanse sure to have good seasons. They lack any genuine flair amongst the forwards, though and will turn to the likes of Howard Mnisi and Gouws Prinsloo, both of them new acquisitions, to make stuff happen at the back. Flyhalf Francois Brummer will obviously be a key man for them as well.


A host of recent injuries looks set to really complicate the picture for the newly-promoted Super Rugby side and the loss of the likes of JC Janse van Rensburg and Hendrik Roodt will severely weaken their tight five. It’s hard to see the tight forwards being much of a strength for the Lions, but loosies such as Derick Minnie and Jaco Kriel will be good value as always. Expect the Lions to play things a fair bit looser in the Currie Cup, where their real danger men at the back will be Elton Jantjies and try machines Stokkies Hanekom and Anthony Volminck.


For once, the Cheetahs have been hard hit by Bok call-ups, but appear to have recruited well during the off-season to mitigate. Never a team to depend much on individuals, they’ll be strong in the tight five, although perhaps a little short on good locks. The loss of Hein Brussow will hurt, but the likes of Lappies Labuschange and Phillip van der Walt will ensure they remain competitive in the back row. They do look short of options at the back, though, with flyhalf and wing particularly thin. Expect Piet van Zyl, Rob Ebersohn and Johann Sadie to be their gems in the backline.

Blue Bulls

Few sides appear quite as unsettled as the Bulls this season and to most outsiders, it’s really tough to even start to predict what a Currie Cup starting lineup would look like for them. They’ll keep their Super Rugby props, for what that’s worth, but will have little else in terms of experience in the pack. Look out for some exciting youngsters like Paul Willemse and Jacques du Plessis, who should do well for the Bulls at this level. All eyes will be on Handre Pollard, once he regains fitness, but the Bulls are likely to be stretched amongst the halfbacks like never before. Further out, players like Jurgen Visser, Frans Venter and the evergreen Akona Ndungane will be their mainstays.


The Sharks have named a strong squad, with few areas of genuine weakness. A shortage of depth at loosehead prop and tight lock is a concern, but look to the likes of Kyle Cooper, Wiehahn Herbst and lock acquisition Marco Wentzel to add fire up front. There is an embarrassment of riches at loose forward too, with Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes and Jean Deysel just a few of the perennial high-scorers that Fantasy Leaguers aught to look at. At the back, things are less settled, although Lwazi Mvovo stands out as a key man from whom many tries will be expected. Butch James is a tempting pick, but our bolter amongst the Sharks backs is actually Fred Zeilinga, who might just go on to play more regularly than the old-timer. Look out for centres Tim Whitehead and Louis Ludik to play strong roles, as will veteran Odwa Ndungane at fullback.

Western Province

The current holders have named a very interesting squad which appears to have no areas of either genuine strength, or glaring weakness. They’ll look to seasoned man such as Pat Cilliers, Tiaan Liebenberg and De Kock Steenkamp to guide them upfront, while Rynhardt Esltadt and Deon Fourie are the picks of a so-so back row. They need to settle on a flyhalf quickly, with Gary van Aswegen the man likely to make big strides early on. The backline is a young one, with Pat Howard our pick to make a big step up this season. The veteran Gio Aplon will also have a big season.


  • Isn`t Piet van Zyl a bull now?
    I don`t know anymore, hard to keep up!

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.08.13 14:03:22 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Western Province beast the Sharks in Durban with a backrow more so so than this one :mrgreen:

    Don Armand ekse

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.08.13 14:10:16 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 1) :

    only AFTER the kerrie koppie my seun

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.08.13 14:19:38 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • I think the finalists could be a repeat of last year, with a different result of course!

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.08.13 14:27:26 by RuckingFun Reply

  • I thought the Greek was going over to WP for the Currie Cup season or do I have my lines crossed again?

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.08.13 14:28:43 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Sarel Pretorious will tear up the currie cup again, definitely one to watch even if he’s not starting

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.08.13 14:29:03 by RuckingFun Reply

  • @RuckingFun (Comment 6) : that’s way i got him in my team but now i’m with out 1 fly half and 1 wing still can’t decide need replacements for s’bru and butchie

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.08.13 14:33:21 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 5) : he is, but he’s also injured

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.08.13 14:52:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @sharks4eve2013 (Comment 7) : OMW I haven`t even started yet! 😯

    @Zibbie (Comment 3) : Zib, how are those arrangements for the whole Lamb I won in the super 15 UDT Fantasy League coming along? 😈

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.08.13 14:54:37 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 9) : well now would be the right time to start i think just don’t pick the way i did had to change half my team because of injuries and now again

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.08.13 15:00:07 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 5) : He will be playing second fiddle to van Aswagen.

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.08.13 15:00:21 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 9) :

    unfortunately super rugby took to long to complete ….

    the lamb died of old age …. 😛

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.08.13 15:05:59 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • Any reason why I can’t trade Piet van Zyl out of my team?

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.08.13 15:06:18 by Die Kriek Reply

  • Jacques Engelbrecht could have been wearing the Black and White but the closest he has come is the black of the Kings. He’s now 28 and is only coming to prominence now which begs the question; What if the Sharks had signed him when he played trials for us 2 years ago? 😯

    The smart money says that he would have been a Springbok and Sharks stalwart and would have added the aggression and go-forward that has been missing from the base of both teams’ scrums. Instead, he is only now joining a “big” union which makes me wonder what the former “powers that be” at Kings park were thinking back in 2011. 👿

    He’s like a HUGE version of Keegan Daniel and I’m hoping that he kicks Spies out of the Bulls starting 15.

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.08.13 15:12:42 by ChrisS Reply
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 13) : try again

  • Comment 15, posted at 06.08.13 15:17:12 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : Cool beans, thank you sir!

  • Comment 16, posted at 06.08.13 15:30:00 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 16) : no probs.

    The issue occurs when you pick a player, then transfer him out, then transfer him back in again…

  • Comment 17, posted at 06.08.13 15:39:49 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • And now the Lions have bought Willie du Plessis from under the Bulls’ noses.
    Now we sit with Pollard, Jantjies and Schoeman with the talented one amongst them gone.

  • Comment 18, posted at 06.08.13 15:57:09 by Blue Centurion Reply

    Blue Centurion
  • Rob you have mail, please tweet me or bbm me if you have not received the article.

  • Comment 19, posted at 06.08.13 16:05:12 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Blue Centurion (Comment 18) : It looks like the Lions are also going to employ Bees Roux

  • Comment 20, posted at 06.08.13 16:17:12 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @lostfish (Comment 20) : there’s a reason we haven’t picked up that story… I’m sure you can figure it out 🙂

  • Comment 21, posted at 06.08.13 16:47:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Blue Centurion (Comment 18) : where did you see that?

  • Comment 22, posted at 06.08.13 16:48:51 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : I know. I was knocing the Lions at how desperate they must be.

  • Comment 23, posted at 06.08.13 16:56:42 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @Blue Centurion (Comment 18) : Fantastic news! 😈

    When can we expect team line ups of all the CC teams for this weekend? Only tomorrow afternoon?

    Must get started on FL selection! 😯

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.08.13 08:16:43 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Zibbie (Comment 12) : Should`ve known better than to trust Lions I guess. Shame on me. 🙄

    I see Lassie lion disappeared completely after your humiliating defeat against the mighty Kings. Tell him its safe to come out, Kings aren`t in the CC !

  • Comment 25, posted at 07.08.13 08:18:44 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @robdylan (Comment 22) : Old acquaintance who is close to du Plessis’ family. 2 year senior contract. Not sure when it starts.

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.08.13 09:03:05 by Blue Centurion Reply

    Blue Centurion
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 24) : I would imagine by Thursday midday…. here’s hoping.

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.08.13 09:03:22 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 27) : Well normally the Sharks give their team last and we already have it so I have high hopes for the rest today already!

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.08.13 09:41:30 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 28) : well, Sharks are playing on Friday, so today was always going to be the deadline.

    Am pleased, though, that it came out first thing this morning. It was settled last night.

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.08.13 09:52:43 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Finally I`ve got all the team sheets for the weekend.

    Time to start.

  • Comment 30, posted at 07.08.13 13:58:53 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre

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