The Currie Cup is moving into the last few matches before the playoffs and we can expect things to heat up. I must say that I quit enjoyed last weekends Currie cup matches as the teams produce a higher standard of play.
The Sharks already qaulified for the playoffs and it is now between a few others to fight it out for the other three spots.
Here is the current log standings….
|1||Cell C Sharks||10||9||0||1||308||188||120||43|
|2||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||9||6||0||3||280||291||-11||30|
|3||DHL Western Province||9||5||0||4||313||214||99||27|
|4||Xerox Golden Lions||9||4||0||5||263||334||-71||25|
|6||Vodacom Blue Bulls||9||3||0||6||296||328||-32||20|
|7||Tafel Lager Griquas||10||2||0||8||294||399||-105||16|
The last three spots for the semi’s can still be taken by five teams with only Griquas looking who will not be able to fight it out with only three games to go.
This weekend sees another few great match-ups coming our way and we start on Friday already with the Sharks and Golden Lions fighting it out.
Now you don’t need a semi final spot to make this a classic and with the Lions still have to fight for a place in the play-offs we can expect a great match-up. One just hope the weather plays it part so that we can see these two exciting teams giving it a full go.
It has not been a great start for new Lions coach De Bruyn nor the Lions but we can thank SARU in a way for that with the Currie Cup starting in the Super Rugby Play-offs already. It is no excuse with the Lions having a brilliant group of young players that will grow as they get more game time but it would have helped the Sharks, Stormers and Lions if the Currie Cup was better structured this year.
The Sharks have been the inform team this year with Robert Du Preez building a group of players that can take on the best in Super Rugby next year.
Their forwards have been impressive and with great ball the backs were able to play a most exciting game throughout the season. It is always said that the mark of a great team is to win even if you have an off day and that is exactly what the Sharks have done this season.
After the poor start to the season Swys and his troops have founded their winning ways again with the Lions playing the brand of rugby that we used to. Janse Van Rensburg has been a star for the Lions of late and is getting back to his best again.
His partnership with Vorster has clicked into gear and the Sharks will have to sharp to keep these two speedsters at bay. Jaco van der Walt is also back to his best and with Mahuza and Dyantyi their started to form a formidable back three.
Curwin Bosch is one of the players in the Sharks setup that will give the Lions allot to think about. The young flyhalf were great in the wet last week and have dominated the game well. He was also a standout in the Super Rugby playoff between the two teams and will be key to the Sharks team.
The Sharks is not anymore just a forward pack that can dominate but have some if not the best backs in the country at the moment. With the try-scoring machine of Nkosi defence will play a vital role in this game.
Nothing against the other match-ups this weekend but this is for me the game of the weekend in the Currie Cup.
Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tristan Blewett, 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 (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements:16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Inny Radebe, 22 Rhyno Smith.
Golden Lions: 5 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen (c).
Replacements: 16 Sti Sithole, 17 Pieter Jansen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Bradley Thain, 22 Anthony Volmink/Stokkies Hanekom.
We talk about the Jukskei River derbies and the North versus South but we sometimes forget about the big clash in middle earth when the Cheetahs and Griquas take each other on.
These are normally the game we live for and brings out the best when arch-rivals clash in a game of rugby and at the end of the day the reason why we love this game so much. Griquas have had most properly the worst season in years and the players and coaches will be first to admit this.
Some decisions have also not always gone their way but mostly they have not been able to put constant performances together to stay in the hunt of the play-offs. Only a miracle will help them get into the play-offs and we normally do not see allot of that in the game of rugby.
This means they will be playing for pride in their last few Currie Cup matches which makes it very dangerous for any team facing them now as they have nothing to lose.
The Griquas normally do not lie down long and against Free State we can expect that the guys will give it their all on Saturday.
The Cheetahs started like a house on fire this year but had to settle for a very young team to continue after the PRO14 started. They have slipped a bit but had a good win against the Pumas last week at home which keep them in the hunt of that final spots.
The team has grown allot and one of the best things looking at them this Currie Cup season is the fact that they just never give up no matter what the scoreboard say.
The Free State always have some exciting players in their team and this match-up against Griquas will hopefully spark the two teams into a higher gear.
The match will be another classic and one not to miss on Saturday.
Free State: TBA
The people for the the south and north will tell you that you do not get much bigger than when The Blue Bulls and WP play each other and this Sunday the two enemies clash at Loftus.
This is a big one for both and slip-ups will cost teams dearly in this late state of the season so we can expect the normal full go at each other.
The Blue Bulls are almost at a stage in the season that they cannot afford to lose anymore games and a loss against WP will not just hurt the ego but also the change to get a play-off spot. The race on top of the log is tight for that final three spots and we can be assured that both teams will go full tilt on Sunday.
With so many personal and player changes this season so far the Blue Bulls have struggled and they have only showed us in patches how good they can be. Luckily for them we have again this year a WP team that blows hot and cold and can not dominate week in an week out.
The most disappointing aspect of WP rugby at the moment and it has been for a few seasons, they just cannot put two or three good wins together. It has been the same at the Stormers and something that will make coach Dobson want to pull out the hair he no longer has.
Both teams have some exciting youngsters that brings that so-called x-factor and supporters and coaches have expected much more from their players.
Mitchell is busy building a team and culture with the Bulls and it seems to take a bit longer than what the fans expected but this late in the season will be a good indication against a very good WP team.
The match will be again one of that matches where no inch is given and we can expect the two teams to have a full go, hopefully they will be able to produced one of those classic matches from years gone by.
Blue Bulls: TBA
Western Province: TBA