It is almost play-off time in the Currie Cup of 2017 with at this stage only the Sharks assured of their place in the play-offs
In all respect every team in the competition still have a shot in making it to the play-offs but this weekends results will end the hopes for a few teams if they lose.
Here is a look at the current standings:
|1||Cell C Sharks||11||10||0||1||332||198||134||47|
|2||DHL Western Province||10||6||0||4||359||259||100||32|
|3||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||10||6||0||4||304||350||-46||30|
|4||Xerox Golden Lions||10||4||0||6||273||358||-85||25|
|6||Vodacom Blue Bulls||10||3||0||7||341||374||-33||22|
|7||Tafel Lager Griquas||11||3||0||8||353||423||-70||21|
Friday match will be more important for the Blue Bulls than the Free State with the last minute lost last week for the Blue Bulls against Western Province. It seems that the Blue Bulls are starting to find there rhythm with their new coach and young players he has put his trust in this Currie Cup season.
The Blue Bulls almost like the Springboks are playing an much improved and attractive game but still need time to develop.
This should be an win for the Blue Bulls as they are coming up against a very young Free State side who has most of their senior players playing in PRO14 this year.
Although the Free State have surprise many the last two weeks, one have to except that the Blue Bulls may be to strong for the men from Bloemfontein.
A win for the Blue Bulls will keep them in the race but a lost will surely end their hopes to make the play-offs so we can expect a Blue Bulls side that will come out fighting for 80 minutes.
It will be a great start to the weekend rugby and a game that should not be missed.
Free State Cheetahs –15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 JW Jonker, 13 Ali Mgijima, 12 Lloyd Greeff, 11 Vuyani Maqina, 10 Robbie Petzer, 9 Zee Mkhabela, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Nicolaas Immelman, 6 Chris Dry (c), 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Dennis Visser, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Johan Kotze.
Subs: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Gunther Janse van Vuuren, 18 Andrew Kuhn, 19 Jeremy Jordaan, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 JP Smith, 22 Stephan Janse van Rensburg.
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 Nic de Jager, 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Marco van Staden, 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 Jano Venter, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
This will be one of the better match-ups this weekend as the Pumas and Griquas will fight it out in Nelspruit. As the two smallest unions in the Currie Cup they have fight way above their abilities this year and although the Griquas have stumbled a bit in the middle part of the season they are playing some good old Griquas rugby again.
With two wins the lats two weeks Griquas will want to go to Nelspruit on Saturday and play not just for log points to keep their slight hopes alive to get into the play-offs but also to revenge the defeat they suffered at the hands of the Pumas at home earlier in the season.
They Pumas have been absolutely brilliant this year and almost unbeaten at home so it will be no easy task for Griquas to come and beat them on Saturday.
There have been some great players standing up for both teams this year and unions that have always produced talent and Springboks we can expect some of these players to wear the green and gold in years to come.
Both teams have been unpredictable on attack and have a great pack of forwards to lay the foundation to play the attacking game they have this year.
This is expected to be a close one so definitely worth while watching if you cannot make your way to the stadium.
Pumas – 15 Justin van Staden, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Gerrit Smit, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (c), 11 Ruwellyn Isbel, 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 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Kwezi Mona.
Subs: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Francois Kleinhans, 21 Theo Maree/Reynier van Rooyen, 22 Selom Gavor
Griquas – 15 AJ Coertzen (c), 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Jonathan Francke, 11 Kyle Steyn, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 De Wet Kruger, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 FP Pelser, 4 Wandile Putuma, 3 Stephan Kotzé, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Subs: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Marius Fourie, 18 Jonathan Adendorff, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Shaun McDonald, 21 Renier Botha, 22 André Swarts.
Sitting second on the log does not mean that Western Province is by all means safe in getting their spot in the play-offs as they have to travel to Johannesburg this weekend to face a always improving Golden Lions side.
Although the Lions have been well beaten last week in a wet and bizarre match in Durban they have found some form and playing a much better brand of rugby than the start of the season.
Western Province have been one of the more exciting teams this year but they have blown hot and cold throughout the season which is a problem when you get to this stage of the season. They have some quality players in their team and will be a huge effort from the Lions on Sunday even if they are playing at home.
The Lions have lost allot of players to the Springboks, Japan and to injury which make their squad a very young and inexperienced side. It took a while for them to get going this Currie Cup season but anyone writing a Lions side off these days will eat their hat.
The Lions are currently in forth spot on the log but have the Blue Bulls, Pumas and Griquas chasing them for that play-off spot and winning against Western Province will make it much easier for them to get that play-off spot.
This game should be a great entertaining match-up and one that will definitely be worth while offering up your Sunday afternoon snooze.
Golden Lions – TBC
Western Province – TBC