The Currie Cup are now in full swing and with the Springboks having a bye this week there are some players returning to their unions after injuries which will make Erasmus very happy.
We have again three matches this weekend starting on Friday with the Toyota Free State Cheetahs hosting the iCollege Pumas in Bloemfontein.
Here is the current standings:
Here is our preview for the weekends matches:
Cheetahs v Pumas (17:00 Friday on SS1)
Both teams are making up the numbers at the moment sitting at the bottom and for the Free State this will be their last macth in this years competition.
The Pumas still have a change but it is a long shot. They have both struggled in the competition and at times played some brilliant rugby but they have never been consistent enough to threaten the top teams.
It is sad really as the shorten format played well in their hands with much smaller squads than the top unions in the competition.
The Free State will want to end the competition with a win at least and will go full out in their last outing at home on Friday.
Cheetahs coach Daan Human has made a few changes to his side.
Dennis Visser comes into the side at lock, with Abongile Nonkontwana shifting to the side of the scrum.
Elsewhere, Jannes Snyman replaces Nardus Erasmus at blindside, with the latter dropping down to the reserves, while Daniel Maartens moves from blindside flanker to number eight.
Stephan Malan drops out of the matchday 23 altogether, while Elandre Huggett has recovered from injury and will provide cover on the bench.
The Pumas have made two changes from their team for this clash.
Up front Morgan Naudé comes in for Kwezi Mona at loosehead prop while Jeandré Rudolph is brought in at number eight for the fixture. Rudolph’s inclusion in the back-row means Willie Engelbrecht will shift to the flank where he joins the busy Marnus Schoeman.
The Pumas’ backline is retained from the group that lost 39-29 to the Blue Bulls as they look to pick up only their second win of the season.
Prediction: Pumas by 12
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Adriaan Carelse, 14 Ali Mgijima, 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Vuyani Maqina, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Rudy Paige (c), 8 Daniel Maartens, 7 Jannes Snyman, 6 Abongile Nonkontwana, 5 Louis Conradie, 4 Dennis Visser, 3 Reinach Venter, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Johan Kotze
Replacements: 16 Hanno Snyman, 17 Stephan van Schalkwyk, 18 Nardus Erasmus, 19 Luigy van Jaarsveld, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Reinhardt Erwee, 22 Maputa Dolo
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Morné Joubert, 13 Neil Maritz, 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Ruwellyn Isbel, 10 Christopher Smith, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Hugo Kloppers (c), 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Morgan Naudé
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Kobus Marais, 22 Henko Marais
Cell C Sharks v Xerox Golden Lions (17:00 Saturday on SS1)
Looking forward to this clash between the Lions and Sharks in Durban. The Lions is coming off a humiliating lost against Province at home but it does not get any better with them having to travel to Durban to face a Sharks team who is coming off a bye.
The Sharks also welcome back some of their Springboks who were injured and this will be closely watch by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus I suspect.
S’bu Nkosi and Coenie Oosthuizen will play off the bench for the Sharks on Saturday.
The Sharks also have fit again Springbok Thomas du Toit who will start at tighthead. New signing Ruben van Heerden will earn his first start of the bench as well on Saturday.
The Golden Lions welcome back Ross Cronje who will also captain the side this weekend.
In the only other changes to the starting line-up Pieter Jansen will start at hooker while Johannes Jonker is back at tighthead.
The Sharks will go into the match as favourites playing at home.
Prediction: Sharks to take the win by 8
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (c), 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Ruben van Heerden, 19 Jacques Vermeulen, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Sbu Nkosi, 22. Aphelele Fassi.
Golden Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (captain), 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Len Massyn, 6 James Venter, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Reinhard Nothnagel, 19 Driaan Bester, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gianni Lombard, 22 Wandisile Simelane
DHL WP v Tafel Lager Griquas ( 19:00 Saturday on SS1)
The last match of the weekend sees Province hosting Griquas at home after a perfect start in their first three matches picking up a full-house of points.
Province have been the inform side so far in the competition and looks set to defend their title this year. They have been brilliantly coached by Dobson and the players are playing some great rugby as well.
Scoring tries at will have given them three bonus points wins but they have let tries through as well. Something the men from Cape Town would have worked on in the week to sharpen their defence as Griquas can be a dangerous team on attack and counter attack.
They will be happy to be playing at home again and in front of their faithful put up a good showing.
Griquas have been blowing hot and cold but the last two weeks saw much better from the Northern Cape side.
They were impressive against the Free State last week in that second half and will want to build on that performance. For them it will be a make or break on Saturday and can not afford to loose this one.
Weather permit we should see a great game of rugby.
Prediction: Province should take this at home with 15 +
Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Chris van Zyl (c), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Dan du Plessis, 22 Dillyn Leyds
Griquas: 15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn (c), 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Conway Pretorius, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Eital Bredenkamp, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 4 FP Pelser, 3 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Khwezi Mkhafu, 1 Devon Martinus
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Stephan Janse van Rensburg, 21 Wendal Wehr, 22 Christopher Bosch
Here is the Schedule for this weekend:
|17:00||Toyota Free State XV||v.||iCOLLEGE Pumas|
|17:15||Cell C Sharks XV||v.||Xerox Golden Lions XV|
|19:30||DHL Western Province||v.||Tafel Lager Griquas|