We saw some great matched last week and even though no one could have enjoyed seeing the Springboks one need to acknowledge the brilliance of the All Blacks.
We also saw the Cheetahs register their first Pro14 win and the Currie Cup with the normal surprises.
The Currie Cup kicks off with a Friday afternoon match and two matches on Saturday.
Here is the current standings:
|1||Cell C Sharks||9||8||0||1||290||183||107||39|
|2||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||8||5||0||3||247||259||-12||25|
|3||Xerox Golden Lions||9||4||0||5||263||334||-71||25|
|4||DHL Western Province||8||4||0||4||258||187||71||22|
|6||Vodacom Blue Bulls||8||3||0||5||291||310||-19||20|
|7||Tafel Lager Griquas||9||2||0||7||267||344||-77||16|
First up the Free State Cheetahs host the Pumas in Bloemfontein after a great win over Province last week in Nelspruit. With the Cheetahs fielding a much weaker team than earlier in the season this will be one the Pumas will want to win.
With only five points between number two and number six on the log teams will be eyeing a play-off spot.
This match will go a long way for both teams to points some points ahead of the play-offs and one both will want to win. The Cheetahs was the early leaders in the Currie Cup but the inclusion in the Pro14 has force them to look very deep to field their Currie Cup team.
AT this stage it looks very difficult for them to reach the play-offs but as we have seen so far anything can happen in this years Currie Cup.
The Pumas have made impressive progress over the last few rounds, with important wins over Griquas, the Blue Bulls and Western Province lifting them to now lie level with fourth-placed WP on 22 log points.
Free State have made a host of changes to the side that last went into action against WP, with Clayton Blommetjies providing a boost at fullback, but the Pumas will come into this contest with every right to feel confident of snatching another memorable win.
Pumas – 15 Justin van Staden, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Gerrit Smith, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (c), 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 Kwezi Mona.
Subs: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Fancois Kleinhans, 20 Hilton Lobberts, 21 Theo Maree, 22 Selom Gavor.
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 114 Vuyani Maqina, 13 Ali Mgijima, 12 Lloyd Greeff, 11 Cecil Afrika, 10 Robbie Petzer, 9 Zee Mkhabela, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Chris Dry (c), 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Dennis Visser, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Gert Coetzee.
Substitutes: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Andrew Kuhn, 18 Jeremy Jordaan, 19 Nicolaas Immelman, 20 JP Smith, 21 JW Jonker, 22 Stephan janse van Rensburg.
Take nothing away from the other three matches but this will surely be the game of the weekend as the high flying Sharks take on the Blue Bulls in Durban.
The Sharks have been on a great roll and have even won matches that they normally have lost. They have a great game at the moment and dominate most packs which give them a great foundation to give their backs a run.
The Sharks have a difficult run in this year with their Currie Cup ending with the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions and WP but are sitting nicely on 39 log points with their closest rivals on 25.
The Sharks have a great set piece, great defence and have scored plenty of tries which makes them favorites to lift the trophy this year.
The Blue Bulls on the other hand have been struggling with their defence and against a very good Sharks backline it does not look good this weekend.
The Sharks have all their available Boks in their side this weekend where Blue Bulls coach Micthell opted to go without the his Boks.
The only way the Blue Bulls will win this match is to dominate a great Sharks pack and have a their defensive structures a 100%.
Sharks – 15 Garth April, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 S’bu Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Tristan Blewett, 22 Rhyno Smith.
Blue Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Burger Odendaal (c), 12 JT Jackson, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Jano Venter, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Tim Agaba, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Handre Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
The last Currie Cup match this weekend see us moving to Newlands with Province hosting Griquas. Province have been inconsistent to say the least this season with one great and one bad performance throughout.
Just as you think they have hit their strides they come and put a poor performance like last weekend against the Pumas together. Province have some exciting players in their squad this year but have not been able to keep momentum.
The same can be said about Griquas who has been great at times bit then almost in the same breath as bad.
With play-offs looming around the corner they will want to start peaking at this stage of the season.
Coach John Dobson suggested that the high error-rate was a ‘freak aberration’, but conceded that the result was a blow for Province’s ambitious playoff hopes.
Dobson has been able to bolster the side with the inclusion of Springboks Dillyn Leyds, Damian de Allende and Wilco Louw, and they will be targeting a comfortable bonus-point win against low-lying Griquas, who have managed just two wins all season.
Western Province – 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (c), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Johan du Toit, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Ruhan Nel.
Griquas – 15 Eric Zana, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Renier Botha, 8 Kevin Kaba, 7 Sias Koen (c), 6 De Wet Kruger, 5 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Devon Martinus.
Subs: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Shaun McDonald, 19 Conway Pretorius, 20 Christiaan Meyer, 22 Christopher Bosch, 23 AJ Coertzen.