ABSA Currie Cup Preview – Round 6

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 11 Sep 2014 at 12:50
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

This week, we’ll take an in-depth look at Saturday’s upcoming clash between the Cheetahs and the Sharks, while also making predictions about the other Currie Cup games to be played.

Cheetahs v Sharks – 3pm Saturday in Bloemfontein

These teams played out to a dour almost-draw when they met in Durban three weeks ago, with Fred Zeilinga landing a late penalty to edge his side ahead. That game, as it turns out, was the last one that the Sharks have won, with successive defeats to the Pumas and Griquas throwing their campaign into turmoil. A win, for them, is non-negotiable, while the same can be said for the Cheetahs, who are currently below the Sharks and out of the semi-final picture. You fancy that whichever side loses here is in big trouble, with far tougher opposition to come in the closing month.

Let’s look at some key aspects:

The scrum battle
It’s hear that you’d fancy the Sharks to have the upper hand, based on a good (if unfairly penalised) showing last week and the reuniting of a front row unit that consistently did well as replacements in Super Rugby. The loss of Wiehan Hay and the usage of two lighter locks might lessen the impact a bit, but it would be very disappointing if scrums and lineouts don’t end up going the Sharks’ way. Stuart Berry should be more sympathetic than Lourens van der Merwe was last week, so I’m positive about this phase and the Sharks’ prospects therein. The Cheetahs are bolstered by the return of Caylib Oosthuizem, a good young prop, but do lack depth in the tight five and as such the Sharks must target the tighter exchanges as an area in which they can establish dominance.

The breakdown
This could go either way. Against Griquas, the Sharks didn’t protect their ball at all well leading to plenty of pressure on the halfbacks. With the Cheetahs also good at spoiling, the breakdown has to loom large as a major danger area and one on which the Sharks would do well to concentrate. Dale Chadwick will add good impetus as a fast support player with high work rate and the challenge will be for the other forwards to match his contribution here.

Controlling the game
It’s here that the Sharks face their biggest challenge; while the Cheetahs’ Wiilie du Plessis will need to play better than he did last time out, Sarel Pretorius is a master at pulling the strings and will look to quickly get on top of any hesitation from opposite number Conrad Hoffmann. With a new man at flyhalf in Lionel Cronje, there’s a really big question mark over the Sharks this week from a decision-making and game-control point of view. Of the four halfbacks picked, Pretorius is the only star and a lot will depend on how well the Sharks contain him; the challenge, though, is to ensure that they themselves dictate matters, rather than simple focusing on countering the opposition’s key playmaker.

Creating and taking chances
Both teams start out on the back foot, simply due to wholesale backline changes. The Sharks appear to have the stronger individuals, but form and cohesion has been a season-long problem. The Cheetahs have lost a huge amount of “strike threat” with the loss of Raymond Rhule and Tonderai Chavhanga needs to use his experience to get the better of debutant Maphutha Dolo, while changes at fullback for both teams see the selection of exciting runners, rather than big-booted up-and-under merchants. Aimless kicks, from either side, are likely to be punished. A very difficult contest to predict, all in all, due mainly to the fact that both sides have been very poor and can only really get better – or can they?

Taking all the above factors into account, the Sharks could edge this encounter and probably should be expected to do so, given the guns in their arsenal. They’ve played well below their paper potential to date, though and will require and immediate and substantial improvement in order to emerge with the points. We’re backing them to win an ugly game, with the pack standing up to provide the platform for Lionel Cronje to kick the necessary points. Back on a coupe of tries; perhaps one form a rolling maul and another long-range effort involving Tim Swiel and Chavhanga. Sharks to win by 5 points.

Cheetahs: 15 Rayno Benjamin, 14 Maphutha Dolo, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 JP du Plessis, 10 Willie Du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Pieter Labuschagne, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 George Marich, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Rudolph Botha, 18 Werner Lourens, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 AJ Coertzen.

Sharks: 15 Tim Swiel, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Tera Mtembu (capt), 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Marco Wentzel, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Reserves: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Johan Meyer, 19 Khaya Majola, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 SP Marais.

In other games, we expect an unprecedented return of three more away victories. The Blue Bulls should edge the Kings, by only a point or two, while the Pumas will account for an uninspiring Griquas team with some ease. The big game of the weekend should see in-form Western Province see off an injury depleted Lions outfit who are on a bit of a downward spiral after a promising start to the season.


  • Perhaps with Lewies back we can do more to spoil their lineout. Last time Uys did a pretty decent job of running their lineout.

    I agree Pretorius is their dangerman. Hoffmann and the loosies will have to be on their tows all the time.

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.09.14 13:04:37 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Bulls, Cheetahs, Pumas, Lions

    Lions missing Ross Cronje, Derick Minnie and maybe Jaco Kriel

    WP missing Senatla, Elstadt and Groom

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.09.14 13:24:15 by Baylion Reply

  • Bulls, Cheetahs, Pumas, WP

    I don’t know that we’ll be able to pull it together to take a win from Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs always plays their best against us.

    Also, I really think it’s only in the scrum that we can say we are ahead of them and that’s only if the ref sees it that way on the day. We have some good backs, but I don’t trust our new combinations especially the all important scrummie/flyhalf.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.09.14 14:00:47 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 3) : Unfortunately I am going to have to agree with you. I think it will be a close game, but Cheetahs will shade it.

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.09.14 14:06:56 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Yeah after last week I don’t see this happening – especially because we were VERY fortunate to beat them at KP a few weeks ago..

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.09.14 14:09:11 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • well, at least the expectations are low

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.09.14 14:10:45 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : I am going to be happy if we can just show a bit of improvement in execution – few more passes sticking, better kicking out of hand.

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.09.14 14:14:58 by Bokhoring Reply
  • I am going to join Rob in predicting four away wins this weekend…

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.09.14 14:38:19 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • hi there, been a long time fan of the site and the Black & White and decided to add my comments.

    here goes, I truly hope Paul Anthony’s words are an accurate reflection that mistakes in practice were taken a lot more seriously as general commitment has been abysmal. trying to get my youngster to follow the Sharks as well and it is tough with what has happened so far this year.

    Does anyone know if practices has had an increase in intensity and how the two “gambles” at 10 and 15 ran?

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.09.14 14:54:25 by Kabouter Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 9) :


  • Comment 10, posted at 11.09.14 15:33:11 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Kabouter (Comment 9) :

    I agree we’ll have to look after our error rate, I have no idea how the guys went in training, but I would assume recent results would have had an impact on the intensity of training. We’ll have to wait and see till this weekend.

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.09.14 15:34:27 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Sharks, Bulls, Pumas, Lions

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.09.14 16:08:32 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Kabouter (Comment 9) : Welcome to the site! Look at the bright side…when we were lighties Natal was in the B-section…and we turned out all right!! :mrgreen: My lighties display the advantages of indoctrination! 😈

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.09.14 16:31:36 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Does anyone know of a website (or any other source) where one can find attendance figures for this Currie Cup season so far?

  • Comment 14, posted at 11.09.14 16:42:25 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @pastorshark (Comment 14) : The wikipedia page for 2014 Currie Cup is fairly up to date (same figure as on

    Blue Bulls EP Kings 9358
    Blue Bulls WP 16368
    Blue Bulls Golden Lions 9592
    Loftus ave 11773

    EP Kings WP 20664
    EP Kings Golden Lions 15864
    PE Ave 14849

    FS Cheetahs Griquas 11991
    FS Cheetahs Pumas 4903
    FS Stadium ave 8447

    Golden Lions Blue Bulls 13561
    Golden Lions EP Kings 5955
    Ellis Park ave 9758

    Griquas Sharks 9235
    Griquas FS Cheetahs 7348
    Kimberley ave 8292

    Pumas FS Cheetahs 11513
    Pumas Griquas 8264
    Pumas Sharks 13876
    Nelspruit ave 11218

    Sharks Pumas 7615
    Sharks FS Cheetahs 17283
    Sharks Griquas 12424
    Kings Park ave 12441

    WP Blue Bulls 16652
    WP Golden Lions 18274
    WP EP Kings n/a
    Newlands ave 17463

    Figures are way down on last year

    Ellis Park 24,135
    Newlands 21,342
    Loftus 17,788
    Kings Park 16,929
    Free State 14,271
    GWK Park 6,929

  • Comment 15, posted at 11.09.14 19:20:40 by Baylion Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 15) : Ah excellent…thanks!!

  • Comment 16, posted at 11.09.14 20:14:53 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @Baylion (Comment 15) : The PE av is wrong I hope the rest aren’t.

  • Comment 17, posted at 11.09.14 20:47:59 by markp Reply

  • @markp (Comment 17) : I’ve checked the numbers on the website – there are a few little mistakes, but largely correct. I’m writing a little article on this so look out for that!

  • Comment 18, posted at 11.09.14 21:05:53 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Jissie ouens! It was tough but I put the saaaks down for a win as well hey… Just can’t get myself to not back them.
    I have a feeling that my log positions in bru might slip even further.

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.09.14 08:47:03 by R Hayward Reply

  • Well, that’s the first of my four away win picks correct…

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.09.14 22:42:32 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.