We have a look at this weekends Currie Cup fixtures and squads
Pumas vs Griquas
On the face of it this sounds like a game that could be skipped to in order to gain some brownie points for Saturday but on further inspection this one my contain a fair amount of entertainment value.
The Pumas always tend to perform at the Mbombela stadium and have already claimed the scalp of a visiting Cheetahs side in the opening round of this years Currie Cup, the Griquas have not yet been able to register a win yet but will feel that they are due a positive result having come fairly close in both their fixtures so far. Expect both teams to play with positivity and theirs a fair chance of a try fest
Pumas – 15 Heinrich Steyl, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Trompie Pretorius, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corné Steenkamp (c), 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Swys du Toit, 1 Corné Fourie.
Subs: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 Dee-Day Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Dylan Frylink, 21 JC Roos, 22 Rosko Speckman.
Griquas – 15 Francois Brummer, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (c), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Ruan Lerm, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts.
Subs: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Doppies la Grange, 22 Niel Marais.
Blue Bulls vs EP Kings
It’s hard previewing this game as both teams have been pants in their fixtures thus far, the Kings have the slightest of edges due to their first half showing in the season opener against Western Province but both teams have almost 100 points racked up in the “against” column.
Frans Ludeke has made wholesale changes to his squad making no less than 7 changes to the team that went down 41-17 in Cape Town, notably livewire hooker Bongi Mbonambi gets a long overdue start.
Carlos Spencer has resisted the urge to follow his counterpart and has only tweaked his team , he has beefed up his pack by naming Steven Sykes and Darron Nel as his lock pairing and has only made one injury enforced change to his backline.
Blue Bulls – 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudi Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenburg, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
EP Kings – 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Luke Watson (c), 7 Paul Schoeman, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Darron Nell, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Mike van Vuuren, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Steven Cummins, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Jaco Grobler, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Siyanda Grey.
Western Province vs Lions
Billed as the game of the weekend and rightly so, both the WP and Lions have thrilled so far this season bagging the full complement of points that were on offer.
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has named an unchanged squad from the one that made light work of the Bulls last weekend and he would have been pleased at not having an injury list long as Eben Etzebeth’s arm for a change, Nizaam Carr and and Siya Kolisi were in some scintillating form last week but will be up against an entirely different beast this weekend.
Johan Ackerman has lost his captain Warren Whiteley to Springbok duty but one gets the feel that this Lions team is about the collective rather than the individual, the loose trio of Britz, Tecklenburg and Minnie will set out to make it a long afternoon for the home side using their blend of speed and ferocious contesting at the breakdown. The Lions seem more comfortable and settled with their game plan than their hosts and hold the edge in that regard.
Expect the game to be played at a blinding pace even though the last few days the Cape has experienced some heavy rainfall.
Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Jaco Taute.
Golden Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Derick Minnie (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Guy Cronje, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Howard Mnisi.
Sharks vs Cheetahs
The final game of the day has the old enemies facing off, while the Sharks should take the result out of this one the Cheetahs love nothing more than to spoil the party for the Durbanites.
The Cheetahs were dealt a cruel double blow this week with flyhalf Elgar Watts and robust 8th man Boom Prinsloo laid low by injury, Willie du Plessis and Neil Claasen will try and fill obvious void left by the former but will have to be at their utmost best.
Brad Macleod-Henderson has named Matt Stevens in his first starting role and will be hoping the experienced TH will provide plenty of grunt at scrum time. The Sharks have managed to win their last two fixtures with bonus points but their performances have not set the competition alight , the Cheetahs were more cohesive against the Griquas last weekend but will have to make a marked step to trouble the hosts.
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Tera Mtembu (c), 7 Francois Kleinhans, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies / Johan Meyer, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Dolph Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Kevin Stevens.
Subs: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 George Marich, 18 Heno Venter, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 JP du Plessis.