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Currie Cup Wrap Week 5

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The Currie Cup Qualification rounds is going along quietly in the background of the Vodacom Super Rugby with some interesting surprises yet again this past weekend around our country.

Here is a recap of the results of this weekends matches supplied by Sport24 and the Unions websites ….

Friday 6 May 2016

GRIFFONS vs SWD EAGLES

he Griffons currently reside in second place in the new provincial competition after beating the SWD Eagles 30-14 in the HT Pelatona Projects stadium in Welkom on Friday afternoon.

With a spot in the illustrious Currie Cup competition up for grabs, the Purple People Eaters are currently six points behind Griquas on the points log, the latter currently in the first position. With a couple of games still to be contended over the weekend, the ranking order is bound to change, but the hosts have shown they are in hunt of a spot among the bigger unions.

Both the Griffons and Eagles played some of their better rugby, the first 20 minutes pretty much a tussle between two sides that in turn played good attacking rugby and showed good defence.

The Griffons made most of their possession and scored the first points of the afternoon after relentless attacks paid off. Winger Selvyn Davids scored a good try and fly half George Whitehead converted to give the hosts a much deserved lead of 7-0.

The remainder of the first half belonged to the Griffons, with Whitehead kicking two penalties five minutes apart to give the Purple People Eaters a halftime lead of 13-0. The Eagles went into halftime knowing that they squandered a couple of chances and were out to rectify it in the second stanza.

Hooker Mark Pretorius scored just two minutes after fly half Hansie Graaff got proceedings underway, the latter converting to reduce the gap between the sides to a mere six points. The Griffons, eager to build on their good win over the Hino Valke last week, stretched the lead once again as centre Daniel Pretorius burst over for his five pointer in the 47th minute, with Whitehead converting the try.

Another penalty by Whitehead in the 57th minute seemed to dampen the Eagles spirits somewhat, the gap of 16 points seemingly insurmountable with only 23 minutes of play left. And when Davids darted over for his second try of the afternoon and Whitehead converted, the writing was on the wall for the visiting side from George.

The lead meant that the Griffons started to rest on their laurels and credit must go to the Eagles, who capitalised by sneaking in a try to full back Daniel Roberts in the 69th minute. Graaff converted, but the last couple of minutes before fulltime just weren’t enough for the visitors to make a comeback.

Scorers:

Griffons

Tries: Selvyn Davids (2), Daniel Pretorius

Conversions: George Whitehead (3)

Penalties: Whitehead (3)

SWD Eagles

Tries: Daniel Roberts, Mark Pretorius

Conversions: Hansie Graaff (2)

Saturday 7 May 2016

EP KINGS vs BLUE BULLS

he EP Kings stood firm in the closing stages to claim a 19-14 (halftime 13-7) victory over the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their new provincial tournament rugby fixture at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, on Saturday.

Both teams had much to play for leading into the game have only chalked up one win each in their respective campaigns to date.

Eastern Province drew first blood as early as the fifth minute as flyhalf Garrick Mattheus slotted a penalty from distance.

The Bulls spent time settling down but they were sparked into action by a fine individualistic try by their flyhalf Joshua Stander who started his attack on the Kings 10 metre line, kicked ahead and then picked up the ball to scored under the uprights. He kicked his own conversion.

The Kings closed to deficit to a point after 26 minutes with second Mattheus penalty.

The home side then regained the lead in the 31st minute as loosehead prop Liam Hendricks crashed over for a try after receiving an inside pass from tighthead prop Louis Albertse. Mattheus added the two points.

The Kings started well after the break and forced two penalties out of the Bulls that Mattheus calmly slotted to see the home side leading 19-7.

However, the Bulls bounced back and after sustained pressure replacement prop Dean Greyling forced his way over from close out. Stander kicked the conversion.

The match closed out with the Bulls exerting tremendous pressure on the Kings’ tryline. But the home team stood firm to claim the win.

Scorers

EP Kings – Tries: Liam Hendricks; Conversions: Garrick Mattheus; Penalties: Garrick Mattheus (4)

Blue Bulls – Tries: Joshua Stander, Dean Greyling; Conversions: Joshua Stander (2)

LEOPARDS vs BOLAND CAVALIERS

The Boland Cavaliers brushed aside the Leopards with a bonus-point 43-31 (halftime 24-12) victory in their provincial tournament clash at the Johann du Randt Stadium in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

The victory lifts the Cavaliers up to second on the log with 15 points while the Leopards are languishing third-from-bottom with just six points from four matches as the visitors ran in six tries to the five of their hosts.

Boland raced into a 14-point lead within the first eight minutes of the match as they ran in two converted tries through flyhalf Theuns Kotze and right wing Sergio Torrens with Kotze being spot on with the boot.

The hosts recovered quickly and ran in their first unconverted try three minutes later through their captain and Number 8 Jeandre Rudolph before Kotze restored a 12-point lead with a penalty 12 minutes before the break. The Leopards never gave up, pressing the visitors hard which resulted in a converted try though outside centre Johan Deysel which flyhalf Schalk Hugo converted.

With the hosts just five points off the pace and the first half coming to a close, the Cavaliers gave themselves a cushion when Torrens ran in for his second five-pointer of the afternoon. Kotze converted to hand the Cavaliers a handy 12-point lead at the break.

The second stanza followed the same script as the first with the Cavaliers racing away into the distance as the centre-pairing of Ryan Nell and Christopher Bosch both burst over the tryline for converted tries that left the hosts 26 points adrift.

With just 10 minutes left on the stadium clock, Deysel cut inside and burst through the defence to score his second try of the afternoon and with replacement flyhalf Benhard Janse van Rensburg converting, the Leopards felt they had some belief of pulling this game out of the fire. That was enhanced just two minutes later as fullback Gene Williemse crossed the line in the corner but Janse van Rensburg was unable to convert, leaving the Leopards still 14 points off the pace.

Replacement utility back, Edwin Sass then rubbed salt into the wounds of the hapless Leopards as he crossed over for an unconverted try to all but seal the game with just six minutes left. But the Leopards managed to round off another poor afternoon with a consolation try through their captain, Rudolph with Janse van Rensburg knocking the ball between the sticks.

Scorers:

Leopards – Tries: Johan Deysel (2), Jeandre Rudolph (2), Gene Willemse; Conversions: Schalk Hugo, Benhard Janse van Renseburg (2).

Boland Kavaliers – Tries: Sergio Torrens (2), Theuns Kotze, Ryan Nel, Christopher Bosch, Edwin Sass; Conversions: Kotze (5); Penalty: Kotze.

GOLDEN LIONS vs FS CHEETAHS

The Toyota Free State XV claimed a valuable 29-15 (halftime 15-8) away bonus-point victory over the Xerox Golden Lions in their provincial tournament match at the Diggers Rugby Club in Randburg on Saturday.

The match started out as a tight tussle between the two sides as they looked to exert dominance over each other with penalties being traded by Free States flyhalf, Sias Ebersohn and his Lions counterpart, Shaun Reynolds.

But the visitor broke open the play a quarter way through the first period when left wing Maphutha Dolo dashed over the line for the opening try which Ebersohn converted to hand the Free Staters a seven point advantage. Ebersohn then rounded off a wonderful move for the visitors, scoring his own try in the corner to extend the lead to 12 points as the flyhalf missed his own conversion.

Reynolds struggled with his kicking as he missed an easy penalty shortly before the break but fullback Ashlon Davids went over in the corner a minute later to narrow the gap to one score with Reynolds again missing hi attempt at goal.

The Lions levelled matters shortly after the resumption of play when right wing Koch Marx burst over the line and this time Reynolds was spot on with the conversion. The turning point in the game came when the Lions suffered two sin-binnings which allowed the visitors to score two converted tries.

First Lions’ captain and Number 8 Ruaan Lerm was given a breather on 48 minutes and then flanker Derick Minnie was also shown a yellow card by referee Francois Pretorius. Free State’s third try was then scored by hooker Joseph Dweba and then five minutes later, Number 8 Jasper Wiese rumbled over the line for the bonus-point try with Ebersohn converting both efforts.

The victory moved the Free State XV level on 12 points with the Lions but with a game in hand but the Free State side will have to contend with the Cell C Sharks XV next weekend in their attempt to overhaul the Lions and climb the log as the men from Johannesburg have a bye weekend.

Scorers

Xerox Golden Lions – Ashlon Davids, Koch Marx; Conversion: Shaun Reynolds; Penalty: Reynolds.

Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Jasper Wiese, Joseph Dweba, Maphutha Dolo, Sias Ebersohn; Conversions: Ebersohn (3); Penalty: Ebersohn

PUMAS vs WELWITSCHIAS

The Pumas ran in seven tries to one to thrash the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 47-7 (halftime 35-0) in their new provincial tournament rugby fixture at Ermelo High School, Ermelo, on Saturday.

Scorers

PUMAS – Tries: DJ Terblanche, Francois du Toit (3), Hennie Skorbinski, Nardus van der Walt (2); Conversions: Justin van Staden (5), Marlou vaan Niekerk

WELWITSCHIAS – Tries: Russell van Wyk; Conversions: Justin Nel

GRIQUAS vs BORDER BULLDOGS

Griquas have managed an almost insurmountable lead in the new provincial competition by beating Border 21-12 (halftime 14-5) at Griqua Park in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.

Still unbeaten in the hunt to qualify, the Peacock Blues remain the hot favourites to contest this year’s Currie Cup competition alongside the other so called bigger unions.

The hosts are still unbeaten having now won five from five in the last couple of weeks and their inclusion in the competition seems almost certain. No doubt their fifth victory will give them great confidence before traveling to Windhoek next weekend to take on the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias.

Griquas didn’t have the easiest of outings against Border, with the visitors doing their bit to put the hosts under pressure early on. The East London based side’s chances of qualifying are all but over, but that did not stop them from taking the game to the Peacock Blues from the get go.

A early try by Griquas winger AJ Coertzen in the 5th minute and conversion by fly half Clinton Swart predicted a long afternoon for Border, but what followed was good defence by the visitors that fizzled all the hosts chances on the attack.

Centre Jonathan Francke’s try in the 35th minute seemed like just reward for Griquas patience on the attack and the conversion that followed gave the hosts a 12 point lead. Border looked after their possession and made use of it just before halftime as lock Wandile Putuma burst over for an unconverted five pointer to make it 14-5 at the break.

Tactical subs on both sides 10 minutes after the second half resumed meant another ten minutes of high impact play before Griquas replacement scrum half Rudi van Rooyen went over for what was to be the hosts last try of the afternoon.

Ntabeni Dukisa converted, but Border kept pushing and got just reward for their prowess as full back Maxisole Banda scored and converted his own try five minutes from fulltime. A yellow card near the end to hooker Mihlali Mpafi left the visitors one man short, but Griquas couldn’t capitalise.

SCORERS:

Griquas 21 (14): Tries: AJ le Roux, Jonathan Francke, Rudi van Rooyen. Conversions: Clinton Swart, Jonathan Francke, Ntabeni Dukisa.

Border 12 (5): Tries: Maxisole Banda, Wandile Putuma. Conversion: Maxisole Banda.

SHARKS vs WESTERN PROVINCE

he Cell C Sharks XV secured a 24-16 (halftime 10-11) victory over DHL Western Province in a provincial tournament clash at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday evening.

Province, who had won their opening three games of the campaign, were looking to make it four from four but the Sharks put up a strong second half performance, outscoring the visitors by two tries to one in the second stanza.

WP flyhalf, Grant Hermanus opened the scoring with two penalties before scrumhalf Godlen Masimla dotted down for the first try of the match, which was unconverted by Hermanus as the visitors opened up an 11-point lead midway through the first half.

But the Sharks began to compose themselves and took control of the remainder of the opening half, with flyhalf Tristan Tedder slotting his only penalty of the game before centre Marius Louw flew over the line for the Sharks’ opening try which Tedder converted as the teams entered the change-room with just a single point separating them.

Tedder then opened up the game early in the second stanza when the flyhalf scored his try and converted it to take the Sharks into the lead for the first time. But with 15 minutes left in the game, WP right wing Khanyo Ncgukana dived over in the corner to leave the visitors just a point behind as Hermanus missed the conversion.

But a late try from fullback Alwin Eksteen secured the win and the conversion from Eksteen denied Western Province a losing bonus-point as well as inflicting a first defeat on the men from Cape Town.

Scorers

Cell C Sharks XV – Tries: Marius Louw, Tristen Tedder, Alrin Eksteen; Conversions: Tedder (3); Penalty: Tedder.

DHL Western Province – Tries: Godlen Masimla, Khanyo Ngcukana; Penalties: Grant Hermanus (2).

EP Kings team for Namibian Welwitschias match

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EP Kings Currie Cup Head Coach, Robbi Kempson, has announced his team to take on the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias in the fourth round of the 2016 Currie Cup competition in Namibia on Saturday.

Kempson has had to make a number of changes to his squad as a number of his starting players received  call ups to the SA U20 training camp.

Up front Liam Hendricks comes down from the Southern Kings structures to replace Nicolaas Oosthuizen at loosehead prop, while SF Nieuwoudt moves up off the bench to flank in place of JP Jonck, who is out with a facial injury.

Sintu Manjezi takes on the captaincy in place of Jeremy Ward, while Jacques Engelbrecht comes in from the Southern Kings squad at 8th man in place of Junior Pokomela.

At the back, Davron Cameron takes up position at scrumhalf in place of Franswa Uekermann, while JP du Plessis comes in from the Southern Kings for Ward at inside centre.

Kempson said he was expecting a tough match against  the Namibian team.

“It is going to be a tough game as we both currently sitting at the bottom of the log, but we are hoping for a positive result,” he said.

“The Welwitschias are especially good in their counter attack so we will need to remain focused throughout the game,” he said.

Kempson said the team had been working hard through the week.

“We are really fortunate that we have been able to secure the services of some of the Southern Kings players for our match against Namibia in the absence of our U20 players,” he said.

The game will be played at the Hage Geingob Stadium, Windhoek at 16:00 local time on Saturday, 30 April.

TEAM:

  1.  Liam Hendricks
    2.    Warrick Venter
    3.    Louis Albertse
    4.    Tazz Fuzani
    5.    Cornell Hess
    6.    SF Nieuwoudt
    7.    Sintu Manjezi  (Capt)
    8.    Jacques Engelbrecht
    9.    Davron Cameron
    10.    Simon Bolze (VC)
    11.    Lindelwe Zungu
    12.    JP du Plessis
    13.    Somila Jho
    14.    Athenkosi Mayinje
    15.    Courtney Winnaar

Reserves
16.    JP Jamieson
17.    Vukile Sofisa
18.    Philip du Preez
19.    Stephan Zaayman
20.    Chuma Faas
21.    Sphu Msutwana
22.    Yaw Penxe

Pumas side to play Border Bulldogs

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Head Coach of the Steval Pumas, MJ Mentz announced his 22 man squad for the fourth 2016 Currie Cup Qualifier match of the season this Saturday afternoon in East London.

 

“The Bulldogs will certainly be on a high after their three consecutive wins and we know they are a difficult team to beat on their home ground. We tried to keep continuity in the team selection after our win last week, and hopefully we can build on our winning momentum. It’s going to be a tough encounter, but we are definitely going to East London for the win,” Coach MJ Mentz said.

 

Mentz explained that Marné Coetzee has a slight ear infection, and should he not be cleared later the week, De-Jay Terblanché would then move to the starting 15, with Jacques Kotzé on the bench. Kotzé will then make his debut for the Steval Pumas. Hennie Skorbinski was withdrawn late last week with his hand injury, but is back in action for the East London clash.

 

The Steval Pumas:

  1. Heinrich Steyl
  2. Bernado Botha
  3. Hoffmann Maritz
  4. Wilmaure Louw
  5. Marcello Sampson
  6. Justin van Staden
  7. Reynier van Rooyen
  8. Carel Greeff
  9. Lambert Groenewald
  10. Marnus Schoeman – in for Nardus van der Walt
  11. Hugo Kloppers (captain)
  12. Stephan Greeff
  13. Marné Coetzee / De-Jay Terblanché
  14. Frank Herne
  15. Simon Westraadt

 

Replacements:

  1. Francois du Toit
  2. De-Jay Terblanché / Jacques Kotzé
  3. Jannie Stander
  4. Nardus van der Walt – in for Marnus Schoeman
  5. Emile Temperman
  6. Hennie Skorbinski – in for Deon Helberg
  7. Tyler Fisher

 

SWD Eagles keep Steval Pumas winless after two rounds

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The Steval Pumas had to travel to George this week to play their second league game against the SWD Eagles in the Currie Cup qualifying round. It was a perfect sunny day for rugby which the Eagles used to give the Pumas their second loss of the season.

The Pumas Justin van Staden accurate kicking boot kept the score board rolling from as early as the seventh minute. An experienced Eagles Hansie Graaf had two early opportunity succeeding with only one.

Martin Du Toit made use of a turnover ball to score the first try for the home side.

Marnus Schoeman, the workhorse flanker of the Pumas returned the favour and scored the first Puma try of the season. Van Staden added the additional two point before Sampson showed off his brilliant speed and skill for his try late in the half.

He chased hard on a chip kick by Maritz and after retrieving it he kicked it again to catch it for a brilliant try in the corner. Van Staden missed the conversion, but within a minute secured another penalty for the half time score 21-8.

Fifteen into the second half the Eagles forwards drew blood with a ten-meter drive from a lineout. Graaf added the two points and a minute later they did it again to shrink the score to a one-point difference.

The Eagles forwards were n fire with Du Plessis scoring yet another try from a drive and by this time coach MJ Mentz used most of the impact players off the bench.

At the end the Eagles came back from 21-8 to win the game 25-21 and hand the Pumas the second loss this year leaving them without a win this far the season.

 

Lessons from Lions v Crusaders

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The Lions will look back a rue a few errors that they created on their own. It was end to end stuff and it will take some performance from the teams that today to beat the show the Crusaders and the Lions put on yesterday. With Johann Ackermann admitting the side just have to deal with bruises and niggles the match up against the Sharks next week will definitely be one to look out for.  The replacement will receive the most praise from me. They not only swung the momentum in favor of the Lions but they brought the fighting chance back for the Lions. Hooker Armand ‘Akkers’ van der Merwe was massive showing brute strength, a turn of pace and a hunger like no player out there. Not that the players lacked hunger, but Akkers was on fire. The determination within the squad saw the Lions not give up, but they kept fighting to the end. The Lions discipline during the game was exceptional. Conceding just 6 penalties all game compared to the Crusaders’ 12.

I will query two things from the referee; how have the Crusaders conceded 5 penalties in the 22, including 3 in a row in one passage of play and escape without a single card? This is in the red zone. Of the five conceded; 4 between the 5 meter and the try line.

The officiating at the mauls and breakdown looked sketchy and unconvincing with the Crusaders getting away with several offside breaches and some questionable entries.

However, like any team you must be able to adapt and deal with the controllable variables that you can control.

There were a few notables when it comes to the Lions performance that will need to improve in the games ahead:

Territory- The Lions won the territory and possession battle during the game with both aspects being an average of 62%. The inability to maximize on these opportunities will hurt the team and coaching stuff. The Lions also managed to beat 29 defenders in an attacking master class at times. A few key players had a difficult game and will be the first to admit when they look at the game again. Faf de Klerk had a game to forget, as did Howard Mnisi who will be out to fix the wrongs in the game against the Sharks. Playing in the right areas and picking moments when to risk it will be key. The Lions are bold and at some point they over did which resulted in an aimless kick by Faf de Klerk that ended in a try. The territory game & the decision making will need to sharpen up ahead of more testing clashes.

Breakdown- The crusaders dominated the breakdown. They managed to win 97% of their rucks and with the two Lions rucks they won (turnovers) in the first half managed to score two tries in the 1st minute and in the 17th minute. A similar tale to that of the Highlanders match. The New Zealand side looked to keep the ball alive and when possible avoided the rucks. They lost the solitary ruck and defended for the most part of the game.

Defensive effort- Despite missing a mammoth 29 tackles compared to the Lions 17. Howard Mnisi’s two missed tackles led to Crusaders breaching the try line twice off the movement. How tight the inches were. The Crusaders managed to concede just 4 tries compared to the Lions’ 6. It was a combination of the Lions’ inability to finish off chances and impressive scramble defense that helped the Canterbury side.Both sides will realise to be champions a lot of work will need to be done on their defensive efforts and they can’t afford to concede so many points despite creating a spectacle of a match.

EP Kings announce their squad ahead of Currie Cup campaign

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The Eastern Province Kings have announced their squad for the upcoming first round of the Currie Cup competition.

Forwards

Brandon Brown, David Murray, Gerrit Huisamen, Greg Jackson, Hayden Tharatt, JP Jamieson, Kevin Kaba, Lusanda Badiyana, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Roche van Zyl, SF Nieuwoudt, Sintu Manjezi, Tango Balekile, Mzuvukile Sofisa, Warrick Venter, Wynand Grassmann, Stephan Zaayman.

Backs

Athenkosi Mayinje, Davron Cameron, Courtney Winnaar, Garrick Mattheus, Jeremy Ward, Jixie Molapo, Keanu Vers, Lindelwe Zungu, Michael Brink, Riaan Esterhuizen, Sibusiso Ngcokovane, Simon Bolze, Somila Jho, Siphumelelo Msutwana, Warren Swarts, Thaki Boloko, Chuma Faas

Head Coach Robbi Kempson has named Jeremy Ward as his captain and Sintu Manjezi as vice-captain for the first round of the competition.

“It is a fairly young team but a very enthusiastic squad that is looking forward to the opportunity to play in the Currie Cup and test themselves against the other provincial teams in the competition,” said Kempson.

Kempson said he was enjoying working with the group, as the majority of the players were current or ex Kings Academy players.

“The Kings Academy was established in 2012 to identify up and coming talent from the region and to provide these players with a career path in professional rugby in their home province, as opposed to losing these players to other rugby franchises,” he said.

Kempson said this goal remained the objective of Eastern Province Rugby and that the first round of the Currie Cup provided the opportunity for these up and coming players to gain exposure at professional rugby level.

“Despite the current challenges being faced by the union, it is imperative that we do everything possible to retain these players for the future of rugby in the province,” he said.

Kempson also confirmed that Junior Pokomela, Tyler Paul, Philip du Preez, JP Jonke and Louis Abertse would be available on loan from the Southern Kings Super Rugby Franchise.

Kempson will be assisted by Zondie Soloshe as Team Manager, Kyle Meyer as physiotherapist, Eric Fisher as Conditioning Coach, and Dr Clement Plaatjies as team doctor. Sean O’ Dea is the High Performance Analyst and will be assisted by Zuko Ndlela

Kings name side to take on SWD Eagles

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The Southern Kings have selected a strong squad to take on the SWD Eagles at Outeniqua Park in George tomorrow, with Steven Sykes being selected to captain the side.

Southern Kings Head Coach, Deon Davids, said he had selected Sykes based on his experience and because he had shown leadership in the group.

“We gave Edgar (Marutlulle) and Schalk (Ferreira) leadership opportunities during the session against NMMU Madibaz last week, and want to see how Sykes will manage the role,” he said.

“It is important that you have a few leaders available to you in the group,” he said.

Davids said he was looking forward to the hit out against the SWD Eagles, who had put in a stellar performance against the DHL Stormers last week, having lead the game up until the 50th minute.

The SWD Eagles are known for their strong structures and match fitness.

Davids said his aim for the pre-season preparations was to ensure that each player received enough game-time before they face the Cell C Sharks in their Vodacom Super Rugby opener at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on the 27th of February.

“This week we will be focusing more on specific combinations of players, as well as improving on areas identified during last week’s hit out against the Madibaz,” he said.

“This will be an important game for us, especially from a match fitness perspective, as it will be our first full length match,” he said.

The Southern Kings squad is:

1              Schalk Ferreira
2              Edgar Marutlulle
3              Jacobie Adriaanse
4              Schalk Oelofse
5              Steven Sykes ©
6              Chris Cloete
7              Thembelani Bholi
8              Jacques Engelbrecht

9              Ntando Kebe
10           Elgar Watts
11           Michael Makashe
12           Stefan Watermeyer
13           JP du Plessis
14           Luzuko Vulundlu
15           Jurgen Visser

 

Substitutes
16           Vukile Sofisa
17           Martin Bezuidenhout
18           Tom Botha
19           Tazz Fuzani
20           JC Astle
21           Cornell Hess
22           CJ Velleman
23           Stephan Willemse
24           Junior Pokemela
25           Leighton Eksteen
26           James Hall
27           Theuns Kotze
28           Shane Gates
29           Siyanda Grey
30           JP Jonck

‘Currie Cup in danger’

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Western Province coach John Dobson says the gradual watering down of the Currie Cup is threatening to ‘destroy South African rugby’s production line’. CRAIG LEWIS reports for SARugbyMAG.co.za

This season saw one of the most low-key Currie Cup competitions facing a battle to grab the attention of rugby followers, with the World Cup completely overshadowing the domestic tournament.

However, even before this year, there have been warning signs that the public profile of the Currie Cup is in danger of continuing to diminish, with the continually expanding Super Rugby competition serving to further saturate an overloaded rugby calendar.

Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Already we have seen top Bok players being withdrawn from domestic action, and with the Super Rugby competition expanding to include 18 teams from next year, while being followed immediately by the Rugby Championship, the Currie Cup will continue to face a battle against waning interest.

‘This is probably the most poorly attended Currie Cup final that I can remember,’ Dobson commented after Saturday’s title decider in Joburg. ‘I appreciate the Boks were playing the All Blacks on the same day, but South African rugby needs to look very carefully at what we are doing to the Currie Cup. It’s a unique selling prospect, and with so many guys playing overseas, these guys here are going so quickly from Currie Cup to Super Rugby to Springbok rugby. If we’re going to keep watering down the Currie Cup, we’re literally destroying our own rugby production line.

‘I really feel incredibly strongly about this, we have to look after the Currie Cup. I think the new Super Rugby format requires a professor from MIT or Stanford to work it out,’ he added. ‘I don’t feel any competition should be judged on teams that don’t play each other; it goes against the very nature of such a competition. We must look after our Currie Cup and I think at the moment we’re in danger of watering it down.’

The expanded Super Rugby competition will kick off at the end of February and run until August, while breaking in June for the incoming internationals. The exact format and dates of the 2016 Currie Cup competition are still to be confirmed.

It’s believed that the Vodacom Cup will be done away with next year, with the Currie Cup qualifying competition set to be run concurrently during part of the Super Rugby season.

Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Untouchable Golden Lions Champions of 2015 ABSA Currie Cup

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The Golden Lions ended the perfect season with a great win over Western Province on Saturday with 32-24.

Photo by: @1891Man
Photo by: @1891Man

They were as unstoppable as throughout the season when they scored quick tries in the first half to pull away from Western Province and at the end it was too much too catch up for Province.

Both teams stated nervously and made a few errors on attack with both Boshoff and Du Preez miss penalties to poles but the Lions kept to their simple way of playing attacking rugby and build up a lead quickly over Province.

Tries were coming easy as it have been throughout the season to the Lions with excellent skills and handling from number 1 to 15.

Province had no answer to the constant attacking play from the Lions and it took a brilliant piece of strong running from Du Preez just before halftime that put the score to a more respectable score line.

Province seemed to be a nervous outfit and struggled to get over the Lions defense for most of the half and resorted to a kicking game which played in the Lions hands as there attacking play was just too good from Province.

The crowd was keeping the Lions going throughout the match and it was great to see so much support for both teams.

At times you would have wonder why Province kept kicking ball away on attack? They looked like they had no ideas to counter the Lions defense and was playing catch-up rugby for the whole game.

Province tried to come back but it was a little too late for the men from Cape Town.

Scorers:

Golden Lions:

Tries: Warren Whiteley, Ross Cronje (2), Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (3)

Penalties: Boshoff (2)

Western Province:

Tries: Robert du Preez, Nizaam Carr, Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Conversions: Robert du Preez (2), Kurt Coleman

Penalty: Du Preez

 

Golden Lions 32(22), Western Province 24(10) (ABSA Currie Cup Final)

71

CC Final

Great rugby day for South Africans as we have the World Cup Semi-Final with the Springboks vs All Blacks and also the ABSA Currie Cup final with the Golden Lions hosting Western Province.

The Currie Cup moved along quietly in the background as the World Cup took centre stage the last two months but we had some classic games in this year’s Currie Cup with about 100% of these games involving the Lions.

They almost seemed to have the perfect balance this year and by far they had their best Super Rugby season and now one of their best Currie Cup season but it means nothing if they lose the last one.

Province does come into the game as defending Champions but this time around they come into the Lion’s den where they were well beaten a few weeks ago and that will be in the back of the minds of the men from Cape Town.

It seems that Province never could get started this year but with the selection of Du Preez at ten they started to look like a more complete team and they also started to score tries again. The scrums will be the starting point for both teams and the old cliché of win up-front and win the game does come the buzz word.

At the back Province have as much excited players as the Lions but it is in the forwards where one feel the Lions have the upper hand and should dominate.

Kriel have been sensational again in the Currie Cup and has become a great leader as well. He is no longer earmark as a great future Springbok he is a certainty.

This will be one of the more exciting finals with these two team going at each other.

Prediction: Lions all the way as they are just too good in all departments over Province, should win by 8 or more.

Previous results:

October 2: Golden Lions won 62-32 in Johannesburg
October 25 2014 (final): Western Province won 19-16 in Cape Town

Head-to-head: The battle between the two fly-halves will have a huge bearing on this game’s outcome. Lions pivot Marnitz Boshoff is renowned for his goal-kicking but the jury’s still out on his big match temperament after he failed with a last-minute penalty which would have given his side a draw in last year’s final and taken that match into extra time.

That experience should be enough motivation but he faces a tough opponent in Robert du Preez who will present a formidable challenge. Du Preez has made WP’s number 10 jersey his own with several impressive performances.

His kicking – out of hand and from the tee – has been solid but he has also shown that he can play expansively and is solid on defence. He came of second best to the more experienced Boshoff in their previous battle and will be determined to stake his claim for the Stomers side in 2016 with a commanding performance in such a high pressure match.

The teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Malcom Marx, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Fabian Booysen,19 Steph de Witt, 20 Jaco van der Walt, 21 Stokkies Hanekom, 22 Sampie Mastriet.

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (c), 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Huw Jones.

Date: Saturday, October 24
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 13:45 local (11:45 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Stuart Berry, Jason Jaftha
TMO: Marius Jonker

 

Province unchanged for Final against Lions

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DHL Western Province will field an unchanged line-up in Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup Final against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg (kick-off 13h45).

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 09: Juan de Jongh of Western Province during the  Absa Currie Cup match between DHL Western Province and Eastern Province Kings at DHL Newlands on October 09, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

Kotze will start in his first-ever Absa Currie Cup Final, one of seven players doing so, whilst a total of 12 players in the matchday squad will be wearing Province colours in a final for the first time.

Dobson told the www.wprugby.com website: “We have a massive task ahead of us on Saturday, so it was good to retain this kind of (selection) continuity ahead of the final.

“The Lions deserve to be hosting this weekend’s final. They’re unbeaten and have been consistently brilliant throughout the season, so we are certainly up against it.”

The DHL WP Under-21s will also be involved in a final at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday (kick-off 11h15), emulating their senior team’s achievement of four consecutive final appearances.

“There is a certain amount of resilience in this team of ours,” said Dobson, who was the DHL WP U21 coach from 2010 until 2014.

“I thought the guys showed good signs against the Bulls last week, but we certainly need to take it up a notch against this Lions side who will be looking to make up for last year’s final and ensure their current unbeaten run is rewarded with some silverware.”

Juan de Jongh will again skipper the DHL WP team on Saturday, with loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff playing in his final match for the union before he departs for France at the end of the season.

The DHL Western Province team for Saturday’s final (v Xerox Golden Lions, away) is as follows:

15. Cheslin Kolbe – 38 DHL WP caps
14. Dillyn Leyds – 14 DHL WP caps
13. Johnny Kotze – 9 DHL WP caps
12. Juan de Jongh (captain) – 55 DHL WP caps
11. Seabelo Senatla – 16 DHL WP caps
10. Robert du Preez – 19 DHL WP caps
9. Nic Groom – 68 DHL WP caps
8. Nizaam Carr – 36 DHL WP caps
7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe – 40 DHL WP caps
6. Rynhardt Elstadt – 39 DHL WP caps
5. Ruan Botha – 18 DHL WP caps
4. Jean Kleyn – 21 DHL WP caps
3. Wilco Louw – 21 DHL WP caps
2. Bongi Mbonambi – 11 DHL WP caps
1. Steven Kitshoff – 38 DHL WP caps

Replacements:
16. Michael Willemse – 23 DHL WP caps
17. Oli Kebble – 15 DHL WP caps
18. Chris van Zyl – 18 DHL WP caps
19. Jurie van Vuuren – 14 DHL WP caps
20. Jano Vermaak – 7 DHL WP caps
21. Kurt Coleman – 60 DHL WP caps
22. Huw Jones – 9 DHL WP caps

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Jason Jaftha
TMO: Marius Jonker

Strong Lions team for final

1

CC Final

The Xerox Golden Lions side to take on DHL Western Province shows three changes to the starting line-up for the Absa Currie Cup final taking place at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday 24 October 2015 at 13:45.

Robbie Coetzee starts at hooker with Malcolm Marx moving to the bench, Kwagga Smith will wear the number seven jersey while Stephan de Witt takes up a seat on the bench and in the last change Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Stokkies Hanekom will swop places with the latter moving to the bench.

Three finals will take place on Saturday. The programme for the day is as follows:

08:30 Gates open

9:30 Under 19 final: Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province

11:15 Under 21 final: Western Province vs Free State

13:45 Absa Currie Cup final

17:00 Springboks vs New Zealand (Big Screen)

 

Golden Lions Team for Final

  1. Jacques van Rooyen
  2. Robbie Coetzee
  3. Julian Redelinghuys
  4. Lourens Erasmus
  5. Franco Mostert
  6. Jaco Kriel ©
  7. Kwagga Smith
  8. Warren Whiteley
  9. Ross Cronje
  10. Marnitz Boshoff
  11. Anthony Volmink
  12. Howard Mnisi
  13. Rohan Janse van Rensburg
  14. Courtnall Skosan
  15. Andries Coetzee

Replacements

  1. Malcolm Marx
  2. Ruan Dreyer
  3. Fabian Booysen
  4. Stephan de Witt
  5. Jaco van der Walt
  6. Stokkies Hanekom
  7. Sampie Mastriet

 

 

 

 

Lions deserve the spoils…

11

bunny

 

By: Bunny (Jacques Nortier)

 

 

 

Golden Lions, 80 min away from a perfect season

2

It will be a repeat of last year’s finalist as the Golden Lions will host Western Province at Emarites Airline Park after they came back a few times on Saturday to beat the Cheetahs 43-33 in there semi-final clash.

Ross_Cronje50

The game change lead a few times and the Lions supporters had to wait till the last 15 min to start relaxing as the Cheetahs came out to play on the day.

The match was played at a thrilling pace and tries were flowing from the start o fthe match.

The Lions had to dig deep to pull away from the young Cheetahs side and only after a yellow card and penalty try they were able to get away to an confrotable lead late in the second half. There was again some questionable decisions from the referee and one have to start asking if there is not a better way than this free for all yellow cards and penalties at scrum time.

That the contest was taken out of the game when Cheetahs prop was yellow carded by referee is not the problem, but that the lottery that has been going on at scrum time and then a yellow card that follows that, one need to ask if there is not a better way to keep the game a contest troughout.

The Cheetahs played there best game of the season and were showing what they have develop in since Smith took over as coach and they will get better.

The man of the match must be the Lions captain Jaco Kriel who again shown the rugby world how great a player he is.

Now the Lions are again in a Currie Cup Final and only 80 min between them and Province stand in the way of a brilliant season. If they go on and beat Province next week they would have done so unbeaten throughout the whole Currie Cup which wll be a great achievement.

Not too many people will bet against that but a final is a different game and anything can happen does not matter how good you were or actually are.  As a team you need to pitch up and do it for one last time for 80 min.

The Lions will this time play Province at home and they will take a lot of experience from last year’s heartbreak at Newlands.

The scorers:

For Golden Lions:

Tries: Kriel 2, Erasmus, Penalty Try
Cons: Boshoff 4
Pens: Boshoff 5

For Free State Cheetahs:

Tries: Venter, Prinsloo, Olivier, Marais, Ebersohn
Con: Marais
Pens: Marais 2
Yellow Cards: Prinsloo, Van Dyk

 

Experience of Province too good for Blue Bulls

10

And then the unthinkable happened at Loftus on Friday night as Province beat the Blue Bulls……or was it?

(Photo by Luigi Bennett/Gallo Images)
(Photo by Luigi Bennett/Gallo Images)

In the week leading up to the final one thing that stood as a huge positive for the men from Cape Town was the fact that a lot of their players have been in the situation of playing in play-off matches and a few even won the Currie Cup as well.

The last dividing try that was eventually scored by Vermaak was exactly some in-experience that was showed when Bulls wing Travis Ismaiel ran out the ball close to his line which Kolbe took quickly.

Kolbe shocked the Bulls early in the second half as well with a brilliant individual try which showed his skill and speed to score the first try for his team and the match.

Province seemed in control the whole match and one had the feeling that the Blue Bulls played too much presentence rugby and never got to play the game that made them such an exciting team throughout this year.

Tian Schoeman also did not have a happy game and he never really had much control over the flow of his backline with his kicking game also way below his normal high standards.

As surprising the dominance in the game for Province was the surprise that the Blue Bulls did not really struggled in the scrums. One must mentioned the normal lottery that we are used to now from the referees this year.

The first half was dominated by the flyhalves with Tian Schoeman and Robert du Preez slotting thee penalties each for the Blue Bulls and WP respectively.

It appeared that the home side had the upper hand until they were reduced to 14 men after loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman was sent to the bin for a dangerous and high tackle on Kolbe.

From that moment on WP had the ascendancy, but a combination of resilient Bulls defence and ill-discipline meant that they couldn’t capitalise on the numerical advantage and the sides went into the break locked at 9-9.

The Bulls had a penalty with just 12 minutes to go in a kickable position, but they instead set up a lineout that they lost – a decision that would prove to hurt them.

Kolbe was at his best again in the moments that followed.

He kicked the ball through and Bulls wing Travis Ismaiel ran it into touch. Kolbe then ripped the ball out of Ismaiel’s hands and took the quick lineout and it went wide where substitute scrumalf Jano Vermaak scored in bizarre fashion.

Kurt Coleman’s conversion was good, and all of a sudden it was an eight-point game with eight minutes to play.

A late Schoeman penalty set up a nervy final five minutes for the visitors, but they held on to secure their spot in the Currie Cup final against either the Golden Lions or the Free State Cheetahs, who play on Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Bulls will look back at this game thinking they were supposed to be in the final but maybe let the occasion got too big on the night.

Next week the final will either be at Emirates Park against the Lions or at Newlands against the Cheetahs depends who wins the second semi-final.

Scorers:

Blue Bulls 18 (9)

Penalties: Tian Schoeman (6)

Western Province 23 (9)

Tries: Cheslin Kolbe, Jano Vermaak

Penalties: Robert du Preez (3)

Conversions: Du Preez, Kurt Coleman

 

The year of the Lions?

0

bunny

 

By: Bunny (Jacques Nortier)

 

The second semi-final of this year’s ABSA Currie Cup will be at Emirates Airline Park between the high flying Golden Lions against the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday.

Ross_Cronje50

The first question that pops up in my mind is if there is any team in South Africa that can stop this Lions team?

The question is YES……Sport and especially the game of rugby can be cruel some days and twice in play-off matches. The Lions have been on the other end of the line the past few years when it came to play-off matches losing in a semi-final and last year in the final.

They have been a team that have taken rugby in South Africa to a total new direction which all teams what to follow now. They have been so good this year and are still unbeaten through the competition.

The Lions have not just won the other teams this year in the Currie Cup but have beaten them in each time they took to the field home and away. Having not have even one player in the World Cup squad has helped them to keep the core of their Super Rugby team for the Currie Cup.

The best part of this Lions team this year have been the way that they have improved in each game they have played. They are one of those teams that you look at them and think they are a complete team who will become one of those great teams who people will talk about for years to come.

The Free State Cheetahs have had a mixed year in the Currie Cup who had to pull a last minute try out of the bag last week against the Sharks to draw there last pool match and win a place in the play-offs.

They have had a few changes at the union with a new coach who took over from Naka in the last few game of the Super Rugby this year in Smith. The best way to describe the Cheetahs this year will be as a team in a building process.

That they have been improving is a fact the problem for them was just that it was inconsistent and struggled to put good performances in week after week. The signs are there of a team that is building to something great and they will get back to the Cheetahs team we all know and love.

This Saturday will be a huge occasion for this young Cheetahs team as they have a lot of up and coming youngsters in this squad this year.

The big question who will take it?

I really cannot see the Cheetahs winning this at all and this will be as a big upset if they do as when Japan got one over the Boks in the World Cup.

This will be one of those matches where the Lions will absorb the pressure and pull away as the game goes on. The Lions will be the one team that I believe will hold Sir Donald Currie’s trophy at the end.

50/50 Going into Loftus Semi-Final

7

bunny

 

By: Bunny (Jacques Nortier)

 

The hype maybe not that much around the Currie Cup this year as we also move into the play-off stages of the World Cup in England but the week will warm-up towards two great semi-finals this weekend.

rugby

In the first match on Friday Western Province will take on the Blue Bulls at Loftus and beside the fact that this match has always been one of the games their supporter’s life for, the Blue Bulls have been a team on the rise this year.

There supporters have been coming back to Loftus due to the way they change not just their attitude but also the way they play and it is great to see.

Both side’s supporters and players will be nervous going into this match as they two teams have been closer than what many believe this year. The Blue Bulls have been playing a much improved and attractive brand of rugby. There back three have been most properly one of the most dangerous back three in the competition but will have to overcome the pressure that is there in play-offs.

Last meeting between the two teams this year defence was Province biggest problem as the Blue Bulls backline ripped them apart in that second half after Province had a confidant lead going into the break.

The Blue Bulls biggest problem the whole year as started and ended at scrum time and this will be a concern for them as Province have been on the other side of the field with one of the best scrumming packs for the past two years in South Africa.

No team in today’s modern game can win games consistently and even more so in a play-offs scenario if you do not have a great scrum to play off. The free for all lottery from referees at scrum time will also cost team’s big time and it has become a very important part of the game.

The one thing that has been constant about Province this year were there inconsistency, almost as the French. They have been much better since Robert Du Preez took over the ten jumper as the team have a much better attacking game which have been with purpose.

We can make all the predictions we want for play-off matches but at the end of the day it is all about the hunger shown on the field by the team who wants it more and execute everything to perfection with some luck sometimes as well.

Who will take it?

It is 50/50 for me as the Blue Bulls have shown they have the talent and they are playing at home with Province who have the experience, players and game to upset the Blue Bulls at home….

So your guess is as good as mine…

Dobson pick his team for semi-final

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It is fantastic that we are going into this weekend with World Cup Quarter Finals and ABSA Currie Cup semi-finals.

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First semi-final will be on Friday night with Western Province going to Loftus to get one over the Blue Bulls.

Province coach John Dobson has announced his team for the clash which kick-off at 19:10.

Dobson have included Kolbe, Senatla, Kotze, Eldtadt, Botha and Bongi to the starting line-up for the semi-final.

Allot will be put on Elstadt to bring the physicality to the team as they looked to upset a good Blue Bulls team at Loftus. A few weeks ago Province got a real beating from the young Blue Bulls side at Loftus but did manage to turn the cards on the return match at Newlands.

The team will be led by Juan de Jongh with some great back three that can test the Blue Bulls with Senatla, Kolbe and Leyds.

The one player that will be responsible for how Province go on Friday is Du Preez who has lived up to the hype that has been around the youngster for the past two years. He has made a huge difference in the team’s ability to attack with purpose and score tries.

Having players like Rynhardt and Jano back in our 22 is a big boost for us, given that they’re both experienced players who have played in games of this nature before,” Dobson told the WP Rugbywebsite.

Our average (match-day squad) age is just over 23; Dillyn Leyds, Johnny Kotze, Rob du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Wilco Louw, Mikey Willemse, Jurie van Vuuren and Huw Jones are all playing in their first-ever Currie Cup semi-finals – so any additional experience can only help those players and, of course, the team on the whole.”

We have had a short week, but it’s been a sharp one as we look to take on a Blue Bulls team that has been excellent at home this season and, thus, deserving of hosting a home semi-final.

Meanwhile, the WP Under-19s will face up to the Blue Bulls’ Under-19s in the curtain-raiser to Friday’s senior semi-final at Loftus Versfeld (in their Absa Provincial U19 semi-final), with the WP Under-21s hosting the Golden Lions in their Under21 semi-final at City Park on Saturday (14:00 kick-off).

Western Province:

  1. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Juan de Jongh (captain), 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. Steven Kitshoff Substitutes: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Chris van Zyl, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Huw Jones

 

ABSA Currie Cup Semi Finals decided…

1

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs clinched a dramatic 34-34 draw on Saturday against the Cell C Sharks in Bloemfontein to finish fourth on the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division log, and in doing so, they booked themselves a Semi-final clash against the Xerox Golden Lions next weekend in Johannesburg.

Absa

The Cheetahs scored two converted tries in the in last five minutes at the Free State Stadium while replacement fullback Neil Marais slotted the vital conversion after the final hooter to draw the two teams level in Bloemfontein, and at the same time shatter the Sharks’ playoff hopes. The Cheetahs finished two points above the Sharks on the final log with 24 points.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls finished second on the log after they edged the Steval Pumas 25-24 in Nelspruit on Friday and they now meet third-placed DHL Western Province in Pretoria in the playoffs. The Bulls versus Province clash is set for this coming Friday evening at Loftus Versfeld.

In Cape Town, WP finished their league commitments with a bonus-point 45-14 win over the Eastern Province Kings. Runaway log leaders, the Xerox Golden Lions, completed the round-robin phase unbeaten with ten wins after their much changed side defeated the ORC Griquas 29-19 in Johannesburg.

 

Xerox Golden Lions (14) 29 ORC Griquas (14) 19

The Golden Lions made 13 changes to their team and tried to assert their dominance, but the new combinations struggled to get into their rhythm initially. They improved as the match went on and managed to secure a bonus-point win, which meant the Lions finished the regular season unbeaten.

Griquas flank RJ Liebenberg was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Golden Lions scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder.

Springbok Sevens internationals Sampie Mastriet and Kwagga Smith both scored a try each for the Lions, while outside centre Jacques Nel stole the show of the two Nel-brothers by scoring two tries.

He is the brother of Blitzbok Ruhan Nel, who played opposite him in the No 13 jersey for Griquas. Flyhalf Jaco van der Walt slotted three conversions and also succeeded with a penalty.

The visiting Griquas team scored three tries, one each by No 8 Carel Greeff, scrumhalf and captain Tian Meyer and replacement No 9 Dylan Frylinck. Fullback Gouws Prinsloo converted two tries.

Score:

Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Sampie Mastriet, Kwagga Smith, Jacques Nel (2); Conversions: Jaco van der Walt (3); Penalty: Van der Walt.

ORC Griquas – Tries: Carel Greeff, Tian Meyer, Dylan Frylinck; Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo (2).

Toyota Free State Cheetahs (17) 34 Cell C Sharks (13) 34

The Sharks were trailing by two points in fifth place on the log at the start of this match, an encounter they had to win if they were to advance to the playoffs.

With just five minutes of play left and from a penalty deep in their own half, the Cheetahs took a tap and sent Rayno Benjamin away on a terrific run for his second try. And then, as they piled on the pressure, the Sharks conceded another penalty which gave the Cheetahs a lineout five metres out. Gerard Olivier was driven over and with Neil Marais kicking the two conversions, the home team snatched an unlikely draw, and with that the last Semi-final place offer.

Benjamin (2), Boom Prinsloo and Gerhard Olivier were the try scorers for the Bloemfontein side. Flyhalf Sias Ebersohn kicked two conversions and also two penalties, while substitute Neil Marais succeeded with the two important late conversions to draw the teams level.

The Sharks scored four tries through Ettienne Oosthuizen, Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf), Paul Jordaan (centre) and Garth April (fullback).  Joe Pietersen converted one try and added four successful penalties.

Scorers:

Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Rayno Benjamin (2), Boom Prinsloo, Gerhard Olivier. Conversions: Sias Ebersohn (2), Neil Marais (2). Penalties: Ebersohn.(2)

Cell C Sharks – Tries: Ettienne Oosthuizen, Cobus Reinach, Paul Jordaan, Garth April. Conversions: Pietersen, Penalties: Pietersen (4).

Steval Pumas (7) 24 Vodacom Blue Bulls (13) 25

The Bulls led 13-7 at halftime and were 25-10 in the lead at one stage, however, the Pumas produced a stirring fightback in the last period of the second half to almost cause an upset.

The home side opened the scoring in the third minute through flank Marnus Schoeman, who picked the ball up from the base of a ruck and crashed over. The Bulls hit back when flank Deon Stegman finished off a rolling maul.

Fullback Warrick Gelant then started a move in his own half which saw left wing Jamba Ulengo diving over as the Bulls went 10-7 ahead. Flyhalf Tian Schoeman slotted a penalty to give the visitors a six point lead at halftime.

Pumas pivot Marnus van Staden narrowed the gap after the break with his penalty, but the Bulls took control when Stegman and Ulengo each scored for a second time in the match.

The Pumas fought back impressively and they scored first through wing Rosko Specman and then lock Rudi Mathee, after the siren, to make the final score 25-24.

Scorers:

Steval Pumas – Tries: Marnus Schoeman, Rosko Specman, Rudi Mathee; Conversions: Justin van Staden (3); Penalty: Van Staden.

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Deon Stegman (2), Jamba Ulengo (2); Conversions: Tian Schoeman; Penalty: Schoeman.

DHL Western Province (24) 45 Eastern Province Kings 14 (14)

Province took the lead after just three minutes when Nizaam Carr took advantage of some hesitant defending. Fullback Scott van Breda kept the Kings in the game with three penalties.

Captain Juan de Jongh scored his team’s second try shortly after Van Breda’s third penalty, when he rounded off a quick tap from a kickable penalty. Flyhalf Robert du Preez added the extras to make it 17-9. Scrumhalf Godlen Masimla easily broke for a converted try but the Kings hit back through an Enrico Acker (No 9) try.

Province secured the outcome with two tries in the second half. First fullback Dillyn Leyds dotted down and then substitute Justin Benn, for WP to take a 38-14 lead. Another late try from Leyds wrapped up a comfortable 45-14 win for WP.

Scorers:

DHL Western Province – Tries: Nizaam Carr, Juan de Jongh, Godlen Masimla, Dillyn Leyds (2), Justin Benn; Conversions: Robert du Preez (4), Kurt Coleman (2); Penalties: Du Preez.

Eastern Province Kings – Try: Enrico Acker; Penalties: Scott van Breda (3).

ABSA SEMI FINALS

Currie Cup still great for SA Rugby

2

bunny

 

By: Bunny (Jacques Nortier)

 

Blue Bulls secure home semi-final with win over Pumas

3

The Blue Bulls have secure a home semi-final against Western Province next week after beating the Pumas in Nelspruit 25-24

bluecow

The Pumas open the scoring early in the game to surprise the men from Pretoria.But the Bulls hit back less than 10 minutes later when Deon Stegman finished off a rolling maul after the Bulls had won their own lineout from close range – Tian Schoeman striking the upright with his conversion attempt.

The Blue Bulls had a the ability to keep the Pumas out for most of the game and kept the distance on the scoreboard and kept the board ticking over when it was needed.

It was a great preparation for the Blue Bulls before hosting for Province next week. It will be a different team that they beat earlier this in the Currie Cup.

The Pumas did end the game and the season with the same passion as what we used to when they play at home as they scored a late consolation try after the hooter through lock Rudi Mathee to make it a 25-24 final score.

Scorers

Pumas 24 (7)

Tries: Marnus Schoeman, Rosco Specman, Rudi Mathee

Conversions: Justin van Staden (3)

Penalty: Van Staden

Blue Bulls 25 (13)

Tries: Deon Stegman (2), Jamba Ulengo (2)

Conversions: Tian Schoeman

Penalties: Schoeman

Province beat Kings to play Blue Bulls in semi

1

Western Province have easily beaten the EP Kings on Friday night in the last round of matches before the semi finals with 45-14.

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The game was a bit of a stop start affair with plenty of penalties in the scrums but Province kept the scoreboard ticking as they scored 6 tries at the end.

Province were going full out to get a bonus point win to have a slight change, if the Blue Bulls lost in Nelspruit, to secure a home semi final but it was not mend to be and will be traveling to Pretoria to face the Blue Bulls next week.

One of the best aspects apart from the six tries for Province was there defense especially after the hammering which the Lions game them last week in Johannesburg.

 

Fullback Scott van Breda kept the Kings in the game with three penalties to make it 10-9 to WP after half an hour.

But Province scored their second try through Juan de Jongh shortly after Van Breda’s third penalty when the home side took a quick tap from a kickable penalty. Robert du Preez added the extras and it was 17-9.

Province then had their third when scrumhalf Godlen Masimla broke to score under the posts in the 34th minute before the Kings hit straight back through their No 9 Enrico Acker.

The hosts put the game to bed with two tries in the second half through Dillyn Leyds and then substitute Justin Benn to take a 38-14 lead into the last 20 minutes.

A late try from Leyds wrapped the game up as Province cantered to a 45-14 win.

Scorers

WP 45 (24)

Tries: Nizaam Carr, Juan de Jongh, Godlen Masimla, Dillyn Leyds (2), Justin Benn

Conversions: Robert du Preez (4), Kurt Coleman (2)

Penalties: Du Preez

EP Kings 14 (14)

Tries: Enrico Acker

Penalties: Scott van Breda (3)

Whiteley rushed in to lead Lions

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The Golden Lions have made late changes to their side to take on Griquas in a Currie Cup clash in Johannesburg on Saturday (16:05 kick-off)….reports Sport 24

Golden Lions

Lock Martin Muller (ankle injury) has failed a late fitness test, which sees Warren Whiteley come into the starting team.

Whiteley will start at No 8 and also takes over the captaincy after scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder was initially named captain for the match.

Bobby de Wee will now start at lock, with Ruaan Lerm moving to No 7 flank and Fabian Booysen coming in on the bench.

With the Lions already certain of top spot on the log, coach Johann Ackermann opted to rest several of his star players for the match.

Teams:

Golden Lions:

15 Vainon Willis, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Gerdus van der Walt, 11 Mark Richards, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruaan Lerm, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith

Substitutes: 16. Mark Pretorius, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Fabian Booysen, 19. Stephan de Witt, 20. Lohan Jacobs, 21. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22. Salom Gavor

Griquas:

15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Ruan Nel, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Jono Janse van Rensburg, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Sidney Tobias, 1 Danie Mienie

Substitutes: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Steph Roberts, 18 Leon Karemaker, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Dylon Frylinck, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Jonathan Francke

Leopards clinch Absa Currie Cup First Division

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The Leopards clinched the Absa Currie Cup First Division title in style on Thursday evening thanks to a great 44-20 comeback victory over the SWD Eagles in Potchefstroom. They also managed to finish the season unbeaten with 12 wins.

ABSA

However, it was a game of two halves after the visiting Eagles dominated possession and territory to lead 20-10 at halftime. The home side recaptured their prolific scoring form in the second half to score 24 unanswered points to lift the Cup in impressive fashion.

SWD were quick off the mark and raced onto a 20-3 lead after 24 minutes of play in the opening half. Left wing Alshaun Bock and inside centre Luzuko Vulindlu each ran through for tries after the Leopards struggled to plug the gaps in midfield. Fullback Leighton Eksteen was on target with the two conversions.

He also added to mid-range penalties to send a clear signal to the home side not to concede penalties anywhere near his kicking range.

The Leopards took a while to find their rhythm and centre Adriaan Engelbrecht slotted a penalty after 25 minutes to open their account. The successful effort kicked the Leopards into action and after two minutes of good forward pressure it was hooker Dane Engelbrecht who crashed over for their first try from a driving maul to cut the deficit to 21-10.

Eksteen sent his drop goal attempt to the left on the stroke of halftime, with the visiting Eagles deservedly in the lead after controlling much of the first half.

A different Leopards team took the field for the second half and they stamped their authority on proceedings immediately after the restart. Lock Walt Steenkamp crashed over for a converted try and then the forward mauled menacingly to clinch another try, scored by flank and captain, Juan Language, to put the Leopards in front for the first time.

Two further tries by No 8 Marno Redelinghuys and lock Robert Kruger stretched the lead to 34-20 after 65 minutes and also swung the momentum fully in favour of the home team. Engelbrecht also kicked another penalty.

Replacement prop Bart le Roux added a final try on the sound of the hooter to complete a fantastic win for the Leopards. Skipper Language was deservedly rewarded with the Absa Man of the Match award for leading his team to a great win.

Absa junior winners

In the two junior championship finals, the Down Touch Griffons Under-19 and SWD Eagles Under-21 walked away with the B-Division honors2015 honours. The Griffons defeated the Steval Pumas 24-21 in the Absa Under-19 B-Division final after leading 17-16 at halftime.

In the Absa Under-21 B-Division final, the SWD Eagles overturned a 13-22 halftime deficit to win 32-29 against the Limpopo Blue Bulls. Eagles’ fullback Fizell Fredericks delivered in a match-winning performance and contributed 21 points to the winning effort.

Absa Under-19 B-Division Final

Scorers:

Down Touch Griffons Under-19: Tries: Stephan Malherbe, Gift Dlamini, Luan James and Richman Gora. Conversions: James (2).

Steval Pumas Under-19:  Tries: Christo Swart, Ian Truter. Conversion: Theunis Sauer; Penalties: Sauer (3).

 

Absa Under-21 B-Division final

Scorers:

SWD Eagles Under-21: Tries: Fizell Fredericks, Pierre van Zyl (2), penalty try; Conversions: Fizell (4); Penalties: Fizell (2).

Limpopo Blue Bulls Under-21: Tries: Deon Davids; Aya Mavuso, Sheperd Mhembere; Conversions: Jean Grobler (3); Penalty: Grobler.

 

Absa Currie Cup First Division Final

 

Scorers:

Leopards – Try: Dane van der Westhuizen; Walt Steenkamp, Juan Language, Marno Redelinghuys, Robert Kruger, Bart le Roux; Conversion: Adriaan Engelbrecht (4); Penalties: Adriaan Engelbrecht (2).

SWD Eagles – Tries: Alshaun Bock, Luzuko Vulindlu; Conversions: Leighton Eksteen (2); Penalties: Eksteen (2).

 

Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs

ABSA Currie Cup Round 10 Preview

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The last round of this year ABSA Currie Cup will bring some excitement when the countries best teams end of the normal season. With the Golden Lions Blue Bulls and Western Province already sure of a play-off spot the only two teams fighting for survival is the Sharks and the Cheetahs who will take each other on Saturday.

The Golden Lions has been the top form team throughout the season and have already secure a home semi-final and possible final if they go through with the Blue Bulls only needing to win on Friday against the Pumas to secure there home semi final spot. If they loose with no points against the Pumas and Province win with a bonus point against the Kings the other semi-final will move to Cape Town but it is highly unlikely that will happen.

The crunch match is Saturday afternoon when the Cheetahs and the Sharks will face each other to decide who will take the forth and final spot in this years play-offs.

Super Sport will broadcast both the Blue Bulls and Province games on Friday, although some clever remote action will be needed to follow the two matches as they both start at 18:00 on SS1 and SS2.

On Saturday the match between the Cheetahs and Sharks will be broadcast “Live” on SS2 at 16:05.

Friday 9 October 2015

Western Province vs EP Kings, Newlands 

Picture2

The men from the south suffered a massive defeat at the hands of the Golden Lions last week, with the undefeated side running in nine tries.

Western Province have already made the play-offs, but a win could see them secure a home semi-final should the Blue Bulls slip up against the Pumas.

Springbok centre Juan de Jongh will lead his side out at Newlands on Friday, with Sevens star Seabelo Senatla and Johnny Kotze being rested due to niggling injuries.

As a result, U21 player Leolin Zass will have an opportunity to prove himself on the left wing. The good news for the home side is that flyer Dillyn Leyds has fully recovered from his groin strain and will start in the 15 jersey.

Meanwhile, the visitors will be without stalwarts Tim Whitehead and Steven Sykes. Ronnie Cooke and Stefan Willemse have their work cut out to fill the experience void, with Cooke taking over the captaincy from Whitehead.

In terms of form, the Kings can draw confidence from leading 20-17 at halftime against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versveld last week.

However, Brent Janse van Rensburg’s men are yet to win away from home this season and they will be hard pressed to do so in front of the Newlands faithful.

Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Juan de Jongh (c), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Jurie van Vuuren, 5 Chris Van Zyl, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Jan de Klerk, 19 Justin Benn, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Jaco Taute.

EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Ronnie Cooke (captain), 12 JP du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi/Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Stefan Willemse/Tazz Fuzani, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Basil Short, 19 David Bulbring, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Karlo Aspeling

Date: Friday, October 9
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 18.00 (16.00 GMT)
Referee: Pro Logoete

Blue Bulls vs Pumas, Loftus Pretoria

Bulls vs pumas

The Blue Bulls will be determined to secure a home semi-final when they go head-to-head against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.

With this being the final round of the league matches for this year’s tournament, the visitors from Pretoria know a win will be enough to secure them second spot on the table and a home semi-final.

The Golden Lions – who are still the only unbeaten team in the competition – are currently in first place in the standings with 43 points from nine matches while the Bulls are second with 34 points and Western Province third with 30 points.

Although they are sitting in a comfortable position, Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais is taking nothing for granted.

“This is our last match before the play-offs, so we need to confirm the momentum and rhythm we want to take into the knock-out stage,” said Marais.

“I am happy that we could select a strong team for this match against a very capable opponent,” Marais said.

“We are probably playing our toughest match of the year. The Pumas at home, on a very hot afternoon, can be a very taxing encounter.

“We are going to need great individual performances, but also a massive team effort to bring this one home. We dare not look past this match to the play-offs, as we need to grow as a team and continue our upward curve in the competition.”

The teams:

Pumas: 15 Hoffmann Marnitz, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (captain), 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Rudi Mathee, 4 Giant Mtyanda, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanché, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Dylan Petersen, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Hennie Skorbinski, 22 Wilmaure Louw

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Ruan Steenkamp, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 William Small-Smith.

Date: Friday, October 9
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 18:00 (16:00 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Willie Vos

Golden Lions vs Griquas Emirates Airline Park

lions vs griquas 1

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann has made 14 changes to his side for their final round-robin match against Griquas in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The Lions are assured of a home semi-final after securing top spot on the Currie Cup log a fortnight ago.

In a total overhaul of the side that pounded Western Province 62-32 last week, only loosehead prop Dylan Smith has been retained in the starting lineup by Ackermann, while flanks Fabian Booysen and Kwagga Smith as well as wing Sampie Mastriet are promoted from the bench to the run-on XV.

Elsewhere, the Van der Walt brothers Jaco and Gerdus will start at flylhalf and inside centre respectively; Vainon Willis, Mastriet and Mark Richards form the back three; and Jacques Nel gets the nod at ouside centre.

Ricky Schroeder will captain the side from the scrumhalf position.

Up front, hooker Robbie Coetzee returns from a two-week suspension to scrum down with props Smith and Pieter Scholtz; Martin Muller and MB Lusaseni are the locks; and Ruaan Lerm comes in at No 8.

The Teams:

Golden Lions – 15 Vainon Willis, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Gerdus van der Walk, 11 Mark Richards, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Kwaga Smith, 5 Martin Muller, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Pieter  Scholtz, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith.
Subs: 16 Mark Pretorius, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Stephan de Witt, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Salom Gavor.

Griquas – TBA

Free State Cheetahs vs Cell C Sharks, Free State Rugby Stadium

sharks vs cheetahs

The Cheetahs have made five changes to their side for Saturday’s crucial Currie Cup clash with the Sharks in Bloemfontein.

The backline is unchanged however Franco Smith has overhauled his pack, with Boom Prinsloo fit to return in the back row, where Niell Jordaan also starts.

Armandt Koster gets the nod in the second row, and up front Jacques du Toit and BG Uys start at hooker and loosehead respectively.

The Cheetahs currently sit fourth in the table heading into their final game of the regular season, with the Sharks two points further back in fifth.

That makes Saturday’s game effectively a quarter-final, with the winners qualifying for the play-offs and the losers missing out.

The Sharks have made just two changes to the squad that will face the Free State Cheetahs in a do-or-die Currie Cup clash on Saturday.

Garth April will start at full-back for the men from the east coast. As a result, veteran Odwa Ndungane moves from 15 to right wing.

Hooker Kyle Cooper slips out of the match day 23 due to injury and he is replaced by Monde Hadebe on the bench.

The Sharks travel to Bloemfontein with the hope of unseating the Cheetahs from fourth on the Currie Cup table, which will secure them a semi-final berth.

The Teams: 

Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 David McDuling, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Christiaan de Bruin, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Heimar Williams 22 Waylon Murray.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys (c), 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 BG Uys
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach,17 Teunis Nieuwoudt, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Freddy Ngoza, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Ruan van Rensburg, 22 Niel Marais, 23 AJ Coertzen

Date: Saturday, October 10
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 16:05 local (14:05 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Rico van der Hoven
Television match official: JJ Wagner

Lions stay leaders of the pack

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The Xerox Golden Lions produced their most impressive display of the season when they outplayed DHL Western Province 62-32 in their Absa Currie Cup match at Emirates Airline Park on Friday evening in Johannesburg.

Absa

The Lions stretched their unbeaten run to nine games and their prolific form saw them stack up 135 points in their last two games. They are nine points clear of second-placed Vodacom Blue Bulls, who outplayed the Eastern Province Kings 48-27 also on Friday in Pretoria.

Although WP suffered their third loss of their campaign against a rampant Lions team, their 30 league points means they are assured of third place on the standings irrespective of the outcome of their last round-robin clash this coming Friday against the EP Kings in Cape Town.

ORC Griquas were no match for the Cell C Sharks in Kimberley on Saturday as the Durban-based side ran in six tries for a 45-20 victory to move within two points of the fourth-placed Toyota Free State Cheetahs on the log ahead.

The Steval Pumas and the Cheetahs played to a thrilling 37-37 draw in their encounter at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday after the visitors led 24-16 at half-time.

Currently, the Golden Lions lead the way on 43 points, followed by the Blue Bulls on 34, WP are third (30), FS Cheetahs fourth (21), followed by the Sharks (19), Pumas (16), EP Kings (12) and Griquas (8).

This coming weekend sees the Cheetahs host the Sharks in Bloemfontein and the winner of this encounter will play the Lions in one of the Semi-finals in Johannesburg. The Blue Bulls just need a win in Nelspruit to set up a home meeting in the playoffs against WP.

The last round of league fixtures are:

Friday 9 October: DHL WP vs EP Kings (DHL Newlands, 18h00); Steval Pumas vs Vodacom Blue Bulls (Mbombela Stadium, 18h00).

Saturday, 10 October: Xerox Golden Lions vs ORC Griquas (Emirates Airline Park, 14h00); Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs Cell C Sharks (Free State Stadium, 16h05).

Xerox Golden Lions (36) 62 DHL Western Province (20) 32

The Lions smashed through the 50-point barrier for a second week in a row at Emirates Airline Park, scoring nine tries in the process against last year’s winner from Cape Town.

The Lions gave early warning of their intent with a superb break through the middle which ended with Marnitz Boshoff slotting his only penalty after three minutes, on his way to a personal tally of 18 points from a try, five conversions and the penalty. WP responded with two Robert du Preez penalties. But then the Lions got themselves organised and their precision and pace proved too much for Province.

First No 4 lock Lourens Erasmus scored under the posts after multiple phases in the 11th minute, and on the half hour No 5 lock, Franco Mostert, scored their bonus-point fourth try for a lead of 29-6. Flying hooker Malcolm Marx followed next and he in turn, was followed by Boshoff.

WP then hit back, first though a Sikhumbuzo Notshe try from a driving maul, and then just before halftime when centre Johnny Kotze dotted down. However, to the delight of the home support, the Lions replied in typical fashion. First it was centre Howard Mnisi who wiped out the Notshe try, and five minutes after the restart Andries Coetzee went over in the corner for the Lions’ sixth try.

More was to follow from wing Anthony Volmink, who sliced through a gap and flank Kwagga Smith. Later Stokkies Hanekom finished another superb move. WP never gave up and Notshe as well as Nic Groom each scored after driving mauls.

Scores:

Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Lourens Erasmus, Malcolm Marx, Marnitz Boshoff, Franco Mostert, Howard Mnisi, Andries Coetzee, Anthony Volmink, Kwagga Smith, Stokkies Hanekom; Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (5), Jaco van der Walt (2). Penalty: Boshoff.

DHL Western Province – Try: Sikhumbuzo Notshe (2), Johnny Kotze, Nic Groom; Conversions: Robert du Preez (3); Penalties: Du Preez (2).

Vodacom Blue Bulls (17) 48 Eastern Province Kings (20) 27

The Vodacom Blue Bulls ran in seven tries to register a comprehensive victory over the EP Kings at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening. The Kings started strong with fullback Scott van Breda landing a penalty goal before centre Tim Whitehead crossed for the first try of the match.

The Blue Bulls hit back with two tries through captain and flank Lappies Labuschagne and Springbok No 8 Arno Botha. Flyhalf Tian Schoeman converted both tries and a penalty goal to give the home side the lead before halftime. However, the Kings refused to lie down and were rewarded with an Elgar Watts try. Van Breda converted to allow the visitors a slender 17-20 lead at the break.

Kings’ replacement hooker Edgar Marutlulle was shown a yellow card in the 49th minute and the Blue Bulls used the advantage to allow centre Dries Swanepoel to score from close range. Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard then scored a brilliant solo try moments later and prop Werner Kruger got their fifth try before the Kings also lost replacement prop Schalk Ferreira to a yellow card. Replacement flank Ruan Schoeman and lock Jacques du Plessis both dotted down in the final minutes while Kings centre JP du Plessis pulled back a consolation.

Scorers:

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Lappies Labuschagne, Arno Botha, Dries Swanepoel, Francois Hougaard, Werner Kruger, Ruan Steenkamp, Jacques du Plessis; Conversions: Tian Schoeman (5); Penalties: Schoeman.

Eastern Province Kings – Tries: Tim Whitehead, Elgar Watts, JP du Plessis; Conversions: Scott van Breda (3); Penalties: van Breda (2).

ORC Griquas (10) 20 Cell C Sharks (31) 45

Griquas were no match for a rampant Sharks side during their Absa Currie Cup match at Griquas Park in Kimberley on Saturday. The Sharks secured their four-try bonus point before halftime already and took a commanding 31-10 lead into the break.

Cobus Reinach, Paul Jordaan, Francois Kleinhans and Andre Esterhuizen were first-half try scorers for The Sharks, while Michael Claassens and Sibusiso Sithole added a try each in the second half.

Joe Pietersen enjoyed a fine afternoon with the boot as he succeeded with all six conversions to go with one penalty. Sevens specialists Ruhan Nel (2) and Sandile Ngcobo scored three tries amongst them for the Griquas. Clinton Swart converted both tries and also slotted a penalty.

Scorers:

ORC Griquas – Tries: Ruhan Nel (2), Sandile Ngcobo; Conversions: Clinton Swart (2); Penalty: Clinton Swart.

Cell C Sharks – Tries: Cobus Reinach, Paul Jordaan, Francois Kleinhans, Andre Esterhuizen, Michael Claassens, Sibusiso Sithole; Conversions: Joe Pietersen (6); Penalty: Pietersen.

Steval Pumas (16) 37 Toyota Free State Cheetahs (24) 37

The Pumas played superbly in the second half to wipe out a 24-16 deficit. The Cheetahs scored five tries through wing Sergeal Petersen, No 8 De Wet Kruger, flank Oupa Mohoje, centre Francois Venter and replacement Freddy Ngoza.

Flyhalf Sias Ebersohn added three conversions and a penalty while replacement Niel Marais was also on target with a penalty. The Pumas responded with four tries of their own by flank Jaco Bouwer, and replacement forwards De-Jay Terblanche, Marnus Schoeman and Rudi MatheeFlyhalf Justin van Staden was successful with all four conversions and three penalties.

Both teams picked up three points – two for the draw and one for scoring four tries or more.

Scorers

Steval Pumas – Tries: Jaco Bouwer, De-Jay Terblanche, Marnus Schoeman, Rudi Mathee.; Conversions: Justin van Staden (4); Penalties: Van Staden (3).

Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Oupa Mohoje, Francois Venter, De Wet Kruger, Freddie Ngoza. Conversion: Sias Ebersohn (3). Penalties: Ebersohn, Niel Marais.

Golden Lions unstoppable as they smash Province

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The Golden Lions demolish Western Province on Friday night with 62-32 in round 9 of the ABSA Currie Cup.

Logo_Golden_Lions_Rugby.svg

One cannot really look at a team and think that they are the ultimate rugby team, but hell the way the Golden Lions are just light-years ahead of any other team in South Africa is something special.

You do not see too many teams like this Lions team too often but that is why so many compare them to the best in the world these days as they just play with so much speed, accuracy and skill.

There is a huge differnce between a team with talented players that play well and a team of talented players that are coach well. For so long the world was admiring the All Blacks for always evolving as a team and making the game of rugby a plessure to watch, but one can now add this Lions team and there coaching team for the same.

The Golden Lions have show the last two weeks just how great a team they have become after humiliating not just the Cheetahs team but also the men from the Cape.

There ability to create space out of nothing is something special which not too many teams can do these days with defensive systems being so good. They do everything at speed and just never let up putting their opposition under pressure throughout the game.

They have a great balance upfront and some real stars who can turn it on at any given moment. Opposition just cannot keep up with the way they keep coming and mixing up there play. With the added value of having some great speed in players like Kriel who can rip a team apart.

There will be some people that will say…..that the Lions have their full team in the Currie Cup, but that is just plain a good excuse as this Lions team has played the same throughout the year.

Province had a good start to the game and led 6-3 but then the Lions just show the different class they are in by scoring tries from all over the field and led at halftime 36-20.

The Lions did not led up in the second half as they got to fifty points in the 68 min.

For Province, Notshe was the standout player and showed his class throughout the match. Du Preez also keep on developing as a player and will become a great prospect at ten not just for Province and the Stormers but also for South African rugby in the future.

At the end no team can compete against pure brilliance from a group of players who are well coached.

Golden Lions – Tries: Lourens Erasmus, Malcolm Marx, Marnitz Boshoff, Franco Mostert, Howard Mnisi, Andries Coetzee, Anthony Volmink, Kwagga Smith, Stokkies Hanekom. Conversions: Boshoff (5), Jaco van der Walt (2). Penalty: Boshoff.
Western Province – Tries: Sikhumbuzo Notshe (2), Johnny Kotze, Nic Groom. Conversions: Robert du Preez (3). Penalties: Du Preez (2).

 

WP Schickerling back after breaking his neck

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Talented lock JD Schickerling is set to make his return to the playing field when the Western Province Under-21s face up to the Golden Lions’ Under-21 team in Johannesburg on Friday (15:45 kick-off).

WP Rugby

Schickerling, who has represented his country at Under-18 and Under-20 level, suffered a broken neck in a provincial Under-21 clash against the Blue Bulls on August 30, 2014, but has been cleared to make his return to action just over 13 months later.

It is an incredible story and testament to the player’s hard work and courage, as well as the support of those around him – starting with his rugby-loving family and finishing with WP Rugby.

WP Under-21 coach Robbie Fleck told the WP Rugby website: “Any rugby-mad person wants to see JD back on the field after suffering such a traumatic injury – it’s a special moment for him, his family and us, as his team-mates and friends.

“He is a quality player and a quality individual and it’s great to have him back playing the game that he loves so much.

“It’s been a long road back for JD, but he was officially cleared to resume playing about two months ago,” explained Fleck.

“Our medical team in conjunction with the surgeon who operated on him and the various specialists have been talking for some time now, so it’s been coming for a while.

“Crucially, however, he has been mature about his comeback and we’ve all carefully plotted his return almost to the day. He’s been training with us for a few months now and taking contact over the past two (months) – he’s looked sharp and he has a presence about him,” added Fleck.

“His team-mates were stoked for him when his name was read out on Tuesday. JD, as one would expect, is excited, but we know it’s all about him getting back out there and regaining his confidence… And, if all goes according to plan, we will look to increase his game time the following week.”

Joining Schickerling on the bench this week is fit-again flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis, who has been out of action since mid-August after suffering a serious concussion.

“Again, I have to complement our medical team, they’ve plotted his (Jean-Luc’s) comeback superbly,” said Fleck.

“Jean-Luc’s concussion was serious, so he wasn’t able to train much initially and it affected his fitness. At a push I guess he could’ve played against the Bulls at Newlands two weeks ago, but we kept him back with the bye in mind – giving him the extra two weeks off – and he’s also champing at the bit to make his return.

“We have a plan for JD and Jean-Luc, in terms of their game time off the bench, and our selections – both starting and on the bench – have been made to cover all our bases.”

While Schickerling and Du Plessis eagerly await their return to action from the bench, fullback Jason Worrall, left-wing Marcus Kleinbooi (from Tygerberg RFC – who was identified during the pre-season trial period), flyhalf Brandon Thomson, scrumhalf SP Ferreira, lock Johannes Momsen and hooker Chad Solomon all come into the starting XV this week.

Backs Grant Hermanus and Sibahle Maxwane are injured and lock David Ribbans is nursing a back injury, while highly-rated speedster Leolin Zas is serving a two-week suspension for a dangerous tackle against the Bulls.

“Our bye came at a good time after a nine-week run of matches, but we came back to training on Monday – in a short week – with the Cheetahs breathing down our necks on the log,” said Fleck.

“Short weeks are also quite tough, but I think our preparation has gone well and although we’ve made more changes than I would’ve liked I am very comfortable with the team selected. I think we have a strong line-up with a strong bench at our disposal.

“The Lions will be hurting after a few losses of late and they need to win this match in order to stay in the hunt for the semi-finals, so it’s a final of sorts for them. They’re a quality side who are always tough to beat on their own turf at altitude as we look to remain ahead of the chasing pack.”

WP Under-21 team:

15. Jason Worrall, 14. Khanyo Ngcukana, 13. EW Viljoen, 12. Jarryd Sage, 11. Marcus Kleinbooi, 10. Brandon Thomson, 9. SP Ferreira, 8. Rikus Bothma (captain), 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 6. Luke Stringer, 5. Kobus van Dyk, 4. Johannes Momsen, 3. Frans van Wyk, 2. Chad Solomon, 1. Wesley Adonis

Substitutes: 16. Martin Wipplinger, 17. Liam Hendricks, 18. JD Schickerling, 19. Devon Nash, 20. Justin Phillips, 21. Ryno Eksteen, 22. Jean-Luc du Plessis

Referee: Lourens van der Merwe

Preview: Currie Cup week 9 – Time to stand up…

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bunny

 

By: Bunny (Jacques Nortier)

 

 

The ABSA Currie Cup move into Week 9 this weekend as we get closer to the final four teams that will fight it out for this years Currie Cup.

Absa

The Golden Lions have been the inform team since the start of the season and they will face a much improved Western Province side this Friday in Johannesburg.  The Blue Bulls will also face the EP Kings on Friday at Loftus to keep there hopes of a possible home semi final alive.

On Saturday the Pumas will face the Cheetahs and the Sharks will match there skills against Griquas. Super Sport will broadcast the Lions against Province game on Friday evening and on Saturday the Pumas, Cheetahs match.

GOLDEN LIONS vs WESTERN PROVINCE Friday 2 October 2015 “Live” on SS1 at 18:00

This will be the match of the weekend not just because these two team have been the form teams the last couple of weeks but because winning will be all that is on the minds of both teams to secure home play-off spots.

The Lions have suffered some big injuries to there team this year but have every single time step up and kept the momentum going throughout with there position on the log as proof.  This week they lost there experience wing Combrick who will be out for the rest of the season but if you look at the team sheet the coach selected this week you know you have a quality side.

Skosan and Vomink will be on the wing with Rohan Janse van Rensberg and Mnisi in the midfield. In the forwards the Lions inspirational captain Whiteley will partner with De Wit and Kriel on the side of the scrum. With certainly the best two scrums in the competition, the rugby lover will look forward to see these two teams battle it out in the scrums and the lose. The game will be win and lost there so both teams will go into the game with no illusions.

Province have shifted a bit in the backline with Kolbe/Leyds at fullback as there captain De Jongh returns to the team in the midfield. The coach will make his final decision on from Kolbe / Leyds / Van Wyk will get the fullback and wing jersey.

The cape have been buzzing for a couple weeks now about the young Robert Du Preez at fly half and the youngster have shown that the talent is within and that he is ready to be seen as Province and maybe the Stormers next year’s number one fly half. His ability to read the game and make the right decisions has seen Province playing a great brand of rugby as well and for a change they are scoring bonus point tries with ease.

Du Preez plays a vital role in the way Province attack and he will be the key if they will want to beat this great Lions side.

Golden Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14Courtnall Skosan, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Steph de Wit, 6 Jaco Kriel (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Subs: 16 Mark Pretorius, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Kwagga Smith, 20 Jaco van der Walt, 21 Stokkies Hanekom, 22 Sampie Mastriet.

Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe/ Dillyn Leyds, 14 Dillyn Leyds/ Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (c), 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Huw Jones.

BLUE BULLS vs EP KINGS Friday 2 October 2015 at 19:10 Loftus

The Blue Bulls have been struggling a bit after there first lost for the season against the Lions a few weeks ago. They have in the meantime made hard work in winning games and also lost to Province in Cape Town as well.

The Blue Bulls biggest problem this whole year and even in the Super Rugby has been there scrums. The game has change so much around the scrums that no team can afford to keep giving penalties away in that department and this is were the Blue Bulls have struggled.

They have one of the most exciting back three’s in South Africa bit that means absolutely nothing if they do not get forward ball on attack. No one can only live on turnover balls for players like this and if that is not getting sorted out the Blue Bulls will have a huge problem if they want to lift the cup at the end of the season.

The EP Kings has draw some inspiration from there first win this year and have been given teams a difficult time when they are on song. They are a team improving and if you do not take them seriously you will stumble against them. The strong point the whole season thus far was there never give up attitude which caught a few teams a surprise or even out.

The Blue Bulls have to good a team to lose this game but if they do not picth up they will find it hard to beat the men from PE.

Blue Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marvin Orie, 19 Ruan Steenkamp, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 William Small-Smith.

EP Kings – 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Tim Whitehead (c), 11 Luther Obi, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Paul Schoeman, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Karlo Aspeling.

PUMAS vs FREE STATE CHEETAHS Saturday 3 October Live on SS1 at 13:15

The Cheetahs and Pumas are still in it to make the play-offs and this could be on of those classic games of the year. Between the Cheetahs, Pumas and Sharks they will have to fight it out for the last spot in the Currie Cup play-offs.

The Cheetahs came off one of there worst defeats in years against the Lions last week in Bloemfontein and I am sure that they will come out hard to show there coach and supporters that they are better than what they showed last week.

This is almost a make or break situation for both team and the team that lose the game will most properly not make the play-offs, so this is in a sense a final for them.

The game will be played in Nelspruit so everyone can expect them to fire from the start.

Pumas – TBC

Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 De Wet Kruger, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Francois Uys (c), 4 Reniel Hugo, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Teunis Nieuwoudt.
Subs: 16 Chase Morison, 17 BG Uys, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 Freddy Ngoza, 20 Ruan van Rensburg, 21 Niel Marais, 22 AJ Coertzen.

GRIQUAS vs SHARKS Saturday 3 October at 15:00

The Sharks will have to travel to Kimberley on Saturday to face the Griquas. This was a season that most supporters from both the Sharks and Griquas will want to forget but for the Sharks there is still that little piece of carrot hanging in front of them to make the play-offs and we all know anything can happen on the day when it comes to finals and semi finals.

The Sharks have just had no consistency in the way they approach there games or selection and if that happens then one need to start asking the questions about the coaching staff. No player can expect to change the game-plan every week and shifting players around the whole time does not make it any easier.

The Sharks have throughout the year had the players to beat any team in the competition but a clear direction and game seems to be missing. The weekend will be an important step in the right direction for the men from Durban.

Griquas – TBC

Sharks – 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Dave McDuling, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Christiaan de Bruin, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Garth April.

 

Smith ring changes against Pumas

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Free State Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has named his team for their Currie Cup clash against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Saturday (13:15 kick-off).

Cheetahs_205px_110203

Smith has made several changes to the team that lost 73-31 at home to the Golden Lions last weekend.

Among the backs, Rayno Benjamin replaces Tertius Kruger at inside centre, with Ruan van Rensburg on the bench.

Springbok Raymond Rhule replaces Maphutha Dolo at left wing, with Shaun Venter selected at scrumhalf in place of Zee Mkhabela, with Niel Marais on the bench.

Flyhalf Fred Zeilinga is sidelined with a knee injured, with AJ Coertzen taking his place on the bench.

Up front, De Wet Kruger replaces Neill Jordaan at No 8, while Oupa Mohoje starts at No 7, with Gerhard Olivier moving to openside flank.

Lock Francois Uys leads the team onto the field with Reniel Hugo his lock partner and Freddy Ngoza on the bench.

Teams:

 

Free State Cheetahs:

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 De Wet Kruger, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Reniel Hugo, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Teunis Nieuwoudt

Substitutes: 16 Chase Morison, 17 BG Uys, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 Freddy Ngoza, 20 Ruan van Rensburg, 21 Niel Marais, 22 AJ Coertzen

Golden Lions team to host Province

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Golden Lions coach Johan Ackerman has picked his team to face the Western Province team on Friday in Johannesburg.

Logo_Golden_Lions_Rugby.svg

Dylan Smith will start in the front row for the Xerox Golden Lions when they face DHL Western Province on Friday 2 October 2015 at Emirates Airline Park at 18:00.

Smith replaces Jacques van Rooyen while Julian Redelinghuys also gets a start as part of the rotational system in the side.

In the backline Anthony Volmink replaces injured Ruan Combrink who will go under the knife on Wednesday (knee) while Rohan Janse van Rensburg starts at centre. Stokkies Hanekom moves to the bench and Sampie Mostert comes in to fill up the reserves at 22

The Team

  1. Dylan Smith
  2. Malcolm Marx
  3. Julian Redelinghuys
  4. Lourens Erasmus
  5. Franco Mostert
  6. Jaco Kriel ©
  7. Stephan de Witt
  8. Warren Whiteley
  9. Ross Cronje
  10. Marnitz Boshoff
  11. Anthony Volmink
  12. Howard Mnisi
  13. Rohan Janse van Rensburg
  14. Courtnall Skosan
  15. Andries Coetzee

 Replacements:

  1. Mark Pretorius
  2. Ruan Dreyer
  3. Fabian Booysen
  4. Kwagga Smith
  5. Jaco van der Walt
  6. Stokkies Hanekom
  7. Sampie Mastriet

Juan back as captain for Province

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Western Province has included fit again Juan de Jongh in the midfield as well as reinstate him as captain for Friday night clash with the Golden Lions at Emirates Park.

WP Rugby

De Jongh has fully recovered from his knee injury and will take the number 12 jersey again. Last week players that was given a rest all returned to the starting line up in Kolbe, Groom, Cloete, Kleyn and Kitshoff. The coach have however not decided who will his final back three be and will only make that decision before kick-off on Friday.

Province had a good few weeks with good wins over the Blue Bulls, Sharks and Pumas. They even stag up some bonus points as well as the young Du Preez at ten brought some new attacking dimensions to the Province team. One should not be surprised in the rise of Du Preez as he and Pollard competed for the 10 jumper throughout the age groups for South Africa.

Friday night will be a huge challenge for this Province team as they face a rampant Golden Lions team. A win over the Lions will put Province in a good position to fight it out for a home semi final spot with the Blue Bulls.

The Team:

 

Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe/ Dillyn Leyds, 14 Dillyn Leyds/ Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (c), 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Huw Jones.

Province release the Greek ….

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Double Absa Currie Cup-winning DHL Western Province flyhalf, Demetri Catrakilis, has been released from his WP Rugby contract in order to join French Top 14 club, Montpellier.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 26: Rob Wagner and Demetri Catrakilis of Western Province during the Absa Currie Cup match between DHL Western Province and Steval Pumas at DHL Newlands Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images)

WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal told the www.wprugby.com website: “Demetri has always been the ultimate professional and he goes to France with our blessing.

“All of us at WP Rugby would like to wish him well for his future, but he will always remain a Province man in our eyes!”

Catrakilis made his DHL WP debut in 2011, playing a total of 58 provincial matches in the Blue & White and scoring 666 points in the process. He made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut in , playing 24 games for the DHL Stormers and scoring 211 points.

Catrakilis, who booted UCT to the 2011 Varsity Cup title in 2011, will best be remembered in Cape Town for his heroics in the 2012 Absa Currie Cup Final when his two drop-goals – one off each foot – helped DHL WP to a memorable triumph against the Sharks in Durban, ending an 11-year title drought for the team in Blue & White hoops.

Youngster Robert du Preez has stepped up in grand style for DHL WP during the 2015 Absa Currie Cup, with Kurt Coleman back from his calf injury this week.

At youth level, meanwhile, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Brandon Thompson, Ernst Stapelberg and Ryno Eksteen have all been performing for the DHL WP Under-21s in 2015, with Aidynn Cupido starring for the Province U19s.

Sharks woes run deep

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Lionel Cronje of the Sharks were airborne when he lost his footing over a puma player. He had Cobus Reinach of the Sharks shouting in support during the ABSA Currie Cup rugby match between Sharks and Pumas at Kingspark Stadium in Durban South Africa on September 05, 2015 ©Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

 

KHANYISO TSHWAKU on the Vodacom Rugby portal explains why the Sharks were always going to be dealt a cruel year.

Besides the Rugby World Cup, 1995 was a seminal year for me from a rugby perspective. It was the first time I watched a Currie Cup final, albeit on TV. Two decades on, I find myself spending most of my time at King’s Park presiding over one of the worst seasons the Sharks have had in 10 years.

According to the Vodacom Rugby App, the Sharks are ranked 6th when it comes to Defenders Beaten and they have missed the most tackles of any team so far this season – 144. They are on the brink of elimination from the playoffs.

If ever the Sharks needed renewal, it was going to happen this year. However, the Sharks cannot use misfortune as an excuse for their inexplicable 2015. The malaise that has filtered into their Currie Cup campaign happened a lot further upstream.

Sustaining the momentum from the 2013 Currie Cup final success was never going to be easy and the foundations of that immediate post-John Plumtree era have been eroded. It is rather unfortunate that it happened during their 125thanniversary but with this being John Smit’s second year as chief executive, I suspect they’re having second season blues.

I was at that final where the Sharks landed body blow after body blow against tactically naive Western Province side. Not that I noticed then but with the benefit of hindsight, the Sharks had reached their domestic ceiling. Maybe it’s that unexpected early peak that lulled the Sharks into a dangerous sense of security.

Had the Sharks done well in this year’s Currie Cup, it would have plastered over the tactical and technical problems that blighted their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign. They still struggle to score tries, they cannot tackle and they haven’t found a structured and cohesive game-plan.

Those are issues that come with hard work, planning and attitude. The lack of planning and preparation, especially when the senior players moved on, is particularly glaring.

Gary Gold, coach of the Sharks during the 2015 Absa Currie Cup Cell C Sharks Press Conference at Kings Park Stadium, Durban on the 17 September 2015 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

This is none more apparent than in their Under-21 side, which played in four consecutive semi-finals between 2010 and 2013. Tellingly, the two Blue Bulls props that played in the 2011 Under-21 final which the Bulls won 46-30 against the Sharks, Gerhard Engelbrecht and Juan Schoeman, now play for the Sharks.

It is hard gauge to success at that level but the sides doing well in this year’s Currie Cup are the ones who ensured their pipeline wasn’t blocked. Despite losing the majority of that team that won at Ellis Park (their recruitment approach will always result in a high player turnover), the Bulls have thrived.

Gary Gold may be on to something by backing the players he has but the Sharks have been let down by a lack of continuity. It is a harsh lesson they have learnt but adversity brings its own examinations.

Golden Lions keep impressive form in Currie Cup

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With most people main focus on the Rugby World Cup in England the ABSA Currie Cup has gone on here in South Africa. There has been some classics this year as the younger generation are stepping up to make there name and get notice for next years Super Rugby.

Absa

The Xerox Golden Lions continued with their impressive form on Saturday when they defeated the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 73-31 in Bloemfontein to clinch their eighth consecutive Absa Currie Cup Premier Division win of the season.

The log leaders scored ten tries but they also allowed the Free Staters to score five of their own.

In Cape Town, 2014 winners DHL Western Province increased their chances of possibly hosting a semi-final when they defeated the Steval Pumas 50-19 after overturning a 15-19 half-time deficit.

Meanwhile, the Vodacom Blue Bulls returned to winning ways again after suffering two defeats in a row. They edged the Cell C Sharks 17-13 in Durban on Friday and the win enabled them to hold onto second place, despite Province breathing down their necks with the same amount of league points.

In the remaining fixture of the weekend, the Eastern Province Kings scored their second win thanks to a close-fought 40-37 triumph over the ORC Griquas in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

After eight rounds, the Lions increased their lead to 38 points and they are followed by the Blue Bulls and WP both on 29 points. The Bulls have a slightly better points difference and are therefore placed second. The Cheetahs follow next on 18, then the Sharks (14), Pumas (13), EP Kings (12) and Griquas (8). Just two more rounds of league action now remains before the semi-final playoffs.

Toyota Free State Cheetahs (10) 31 Xerox Golden Lions (31) 73

The Golden Lions continued with their unbeaten run and scored their eighth consecutive win in their ten try, 73-31 demolition of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Courtnall Skosan (wing) and skipper Jaco Kriel (flank) both bagged two tries each for the rampant Lions, which saw the Johannesburg side collecting their sixth bonus point from eight games. Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff converted all tries and added a penalty for a personal tally of 23 points.

Cheetahs flank Vincent Jobo bagged a hat-trick of tries as just reward for his team’s positive attitude, despite the heavy onslaught from the log leaders. The Free Stater’s four-try bonus point mean they are still very much in the hunt for a playoff berth.

Scorers:
Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Vincent Jobo (3), Francois Venter; Conversions: Sias Ebersohn (2), Fred Zeilinga.

Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Courtnall Skosan (2), Steph de Wit, Jaco Kriel (2), Howard Mnisi, Warren Whiteley, Jaco van der Walt, Kwagga Smith, Anthony Volmink; Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (10); Penalty: Boshoff.

DHL Western Province (15) 50 Steval Pumas (19) 19

DHL Western Province intensified their race for a home semi-final when they ran in seven tries to three to defeat Steval Pumas 50-19 (halftime 15-19) in their fixture at DHL Newlands on Saturday. Province matched their attacking flair with rock solid defense in the second half, which kept the visitors scoreless after the break.

Junior Springbok flyhalf Robert du Preez scored two tries and landed four conversions and a penalty for a personal tally of 21 points, but it was the manner in which the home side controlled the second half that gave their supporters hope of hosting a semi-final and a chance of defending their title. The Pumas, despite conceding an early try to No 8 Nizaam Carr after 10 minutes, dominated the early exchanges and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck with tries from left wing Rosko Specman and a familiar face to the Cape faithful in prop Vincent Koch.

Koch’s try came about as a result of a yellow card to Province centre Johnny Kotze, who was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle. Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak replied for the home side with their second try. But as was the case earlier in the half, the Pumas caught the home side napping and Springbok Sevens wing Specman grabbed his second try of the afternoon immediately after the kick-off.

The second stanza was all about the hosts with Du Preez controlling play brilliantly. He scored two tries and were followed by Kobus van Wyk, Jurie van Vuuren and Alistair Vermaak.

Scorers:

DHL Western Province – Tries: Robert du Preez (2), Nizaam Carr, Jano Vermaak, Kobus van Wyk, Jurie van Vuuren, Ali Vermaak; Conversions: Du Preez (4), Dimitri Catrakilis (2); Penalty: Du Preez.

Steval Pumas – Tries: Rosko Specman (2), Vincent Koch; Conversions: Justin van Staden (2).

Eastern Province Kings 40 (21) ORC Griquas 37 (25)

The match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday was always going to be a closely-contested affair between the sides placed seventh and eighth on the log. The stakes were high as the loser would be rooted to the bottom of the standings with just two matches left to play.

It was the EP Kings who came away with the honours when captain and centre, Tim Whitehead, scored in the last movement of the game to clinch only their second win of the season.

In a highly entertaining affair, both teams scored five tries but it was the Kings who came away with a full haul of five match points. Danie Dames scored twice for Griquas to assist them to clinch two log points for their efforts.

Scorers:

Eastern Province Kings Tries: Luther Obi, Paul Schoeman (2), Tim Whitehead (2); Conversions: Scott van Breda (3); Penalties: Van Breda (3).

ORC GriquasTries: Danie Dames (2), Clinton Swart, Carel Greeff, AJ le Roux; Conversions: Clinton Swart (3); Penalties: Swart (2)

Cell C Sharks (6) 13 Vodacom Blue Bulls (10) 17

The Vodacom Blue Bulls beat the Sharks 17-13 in their clash at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Friday. The visitors led 10-6 at the break and outscored their hosts by two tries to one. After suffering consecutive wins, the Bulls scored their sixth win of the season and they remain second.

The Sharks’ chances of a semi-final showing now rests on the results of others and with two rounds left they still have a mathematical chance, albeit a slim one.

Rookie Garth April scored the Sharks’ only try while Joe Pietersen added the rest with two penalties and a conversion. Jamba Ulengo and Deon Stegmann were the Bulls’ try scorers and Tian Schoeman slotted the two conversions and a penalty.

Sharks replacement prop Mzamo Majola, a 2015 Junior Springbok, was yellow carded for a dangerous clean out which allowed the Bulls to kick the ball out and secure a nail-biting 17-13 win.

Scorers:

Cell C Sharks – Try: Garth April; Conversion: Joe Pietersen; Penalties: Pietersen (2).

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Jamba Ulengo, Deon Stegmann; Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2); Penalty Schoeman.

Weekend ABSA Currie Cup preview

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Picture3

With the Rugby World Cup kicking off last week and the shocked loss of the Springboks in their first game against the Japanese it seems many have forgotten about that small little thing that we call the Currie Cup.

With the Blue Bulls and the Lions driving the pack this year with some exciting rugby, we had the last couple of weeks the Western Province side also starting to hit there stipes and joining the exciting brand of rugby that is being played currently in the Currie Cup.

This week we have a full schedule of some exciting clashes to see who will make the play-offs this year and be crowned champions next month.

First up this week is most properly the game of the weekend when the Sharks and the Blue Bulls fight it out in round 8.

Cell C Sharks vs Vodacom Blue Bulls Friday 25 Sept “Live” on SS1

The Blue Bulls have lost two straight games in a row the past few weeks against the Lions and Province after having a great run in from the start of the season.

The Blue Bulls have looked good in all matches and could have even beaten the Lions two weeks ago at Loftus but even they will admit that last week’s performance against Province was way below par for this exciting team.

They bolster a great mix of young exciting talent with some experience heads in this year’s Currie Cup and allot have been spoken about the new brand of rugby they play. This week will not be easy to pick themselves up and get back to winning ways against the Cell C Sharks.

The Sharks have been playing some descend rugby this whole season but were only able to do this in small patches.  The team has all the abilities to be up there with the best but some injuries and indifferent game plans in some games made this a real stop start season for the Sharks.

For the Blue Bulls, Jan Serfontein will return to the midfield with Swanepoel rotating to the bench. Schoeman is also back at ten for the Blue Bulls.

The Sharks will start the game with a new captain in Van der Walt with Wentzel playing off the bench.

Friday, 25 September

Cell C Sharks vs Vodacom Blue Bulls

Venue: Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban

Kick-off: 20h00

TV: SS1

The other televise on Saturday is between the Golden Lions and the Free State Cheetahs…

Free State Cheetahs vs Golden Lions on Saturday 26 Sept on SS1 “Live”

The Lions have been the team of the Currie Cup so far and by far the best performing team in the competition having won all their games so far this season. They are almost certain already of making the play-offs and will be playing now to ensure a home semi-final and possible final.

The Cheetahs have been busy with a re-building phase this year as they have been given a new coach who is still building the team around his game plan and vision. They are almost in the same boat as the Sharks with their consistency during this year’s Currie Cup and will want to start showing their coach that they are moving forward.

The Lions will be a difficult costumer and they will have to give it all to upset the log leaders at this stage of the competition.

Excitement has always been the key word when these guys have been playing each other and one can expect the same comes Saturday.

Saturday 26 September

Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs Xerox Golden Lions

Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Kick-off: 13h15

TV: SS2

Other games this weekend:

Western Province vs Steval Pumas

In the remaining fixtures, 2014 winners the DHL Western Province are at home against the Steval Pumas. This match at the DHL Newlands Stadium in Cape Town starts at 15h00, while the Eastern Province Kings host the Steval Pumas in Port Elizabeth in a 15h30 fixture.

Western Province will be without influential fullback Cheslin Kolbe and hooker Scarra Ntubeni for this Saturday’s clash against the Pumas in Newlands. Ntubeni has a calf muscle injury and Kolbe has bone bruising on his ankle, both having picked up injuries during WP’s win over the Bulls last weekend. Springbok prop Vincent Koch will make his 50th appearance for the Pumas.

DHL Western Province vs Steval Pumas

Venue: DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town

Kick-off: 15h00

EP Kings vs ORC Griquas

In Port Elizabeth, 31-year-old Steven Robert Sykes will play his 100th Absa Currie Cup game when the EP Kings take on ORC Griquas. Prior to joining the Kings, Sykes represented The Sharks in 90 Absa Currie Cup matches.

Middelburg-born Sykes attended Cradock Primary School and Marlow Agricultural, and represented EP at various age-group levels, including the EP U13 team in 1997 and the EP Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week side in 2002.

In 2003, he joined the Sharks Academy in Durban and that year he also represented South Africa at the IRB Under-19 World Championship. He made his first-class debut for the Natal Wildebeest as a lock during the 2005 Vodacom Cup competition against Border in Durban. He made his Absa Currie Cup debut for the Sharks against Eastern Province in 2005.

He then made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Sharks against the Vodacom Bulls in 2007. In 2009 he featured for the Emerging Springboks against the British and Irish Lions side in Cape Town and was also called into the Springbok squad for the third Test, but remained an unused substitute. A brief stint with Irish side Leinster was followed by a return to the Sharks, before joining the Southern Kings for their debut season in the Vodacom Super Rugby in 2013. He played for the EP Kings Absa Currie Cup team in 2013, when EP reached the First Division final, and 2014, when they were promoted to the Premier Division. He was loaned to the Cheetahs for the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Saturday 26 September

Eastern Province Kings vs ORC Griquas

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Kick-off: 15h30

 

 

 

Ebersohn start at 10 for Cheetahs

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Sias Ebersohn will start at number ten for the Free Sate Cheetahs when they face the Golden Lions in their Currie Cup clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

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Cheetahs head coach Franco Smith revealed that the former Western Force pivot will form part of new half-back combination with scrum-half Zee Mkhabela also starting.

The duo replaces former Sharks fly-half Fred Zeilinga and Shaun Venter respectively.

Staying with the backline, Ryno Benjamin takes a spot in the bench and is replaced by Tertius Kruger at inside centre.

Meanwhile, Niell Jordaan moves to seven while Gerhard Olivier starts at number eight. A knee injury has forced lock Armand Koster out of the matchday 22 altogether. He is replaced by Freddy Ngoza.

The Cheetahs will be looking to build on their impressive 44-24 win against Griquas last week.

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Zee Mkhabela, 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Niell Jordaan, 6 Vincent Jobo, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Freddy Ngoza, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Teunis Nieuwoudt
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 BG Uys, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 De Wet Kruger, 20 Rayno Benjamin, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Fred Zeilinga

Date: Saturday, 26 September
Venue: Free State Rugby Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 13:15 local (11:15 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Sindile Ngcese, Francois Pretorius
Television match official: JJ Wagner

Van der Walt to captain Sharks against Blue Bulls

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Philip van der Walt will captain the Sharks when they play against the Blue Bulls at Kings Park in Durban on Friday night. 

Sharks

Van der Walt, who will start the match at number eight once again, takes over the reins from Marco Wentzel, who will start this Friday’s fixture from the bench.

Coach Gary Gold has also included Christiaan de Bruin in the starting XV, where he will compete at flank, while Dave McDuling replaces Wentzel at lock.

Sharks young gun Jean-Luc du Preez is currently grappling with a wrist fracture and will not be available for selection ahead of the critical fixture against the Blue Bulls.

Mzamo Majola and Kyle Cooper will join the matchday squad this week, when they will replace Monde Hadebe and Dale Chadwick on the bench. The latter is suffering from a neck injury.

Jean Deysel has also been included in the squad this week, after Daniel du Preez was sidelined by a knee injury.

The Sharks backline, which showed tremendous promise against the Lions last weekend, has remained unchanged.

Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt (c), 7 Christiaan de Bruin, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Dave McDuling, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper , 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Marco Wentzel , 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Garth April.

Date: Friday, 25 September
Kick-off: 20:00 local (18:00 GMT)
Venue: Growthpoint Kings Park
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Jaco Pretorius
Television match official: Marius Jonker

Blue Bulls change a few for Sharks

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Blue Bulls captain Lappies Labuschagne will start his 50th Currie Cup fixture at flank, after three changes were made to the starting line-up, ahead of the fixture against the Sharks at Kings Park on Friday.

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Labuschagne will fill in for Roelof Smit (wrist injury), while Arno Botha will join the starting line-up at the base of the scrum. Team management will also implement straight swaps in the fly-half and centre positions ahead of the trip to Durban, where Jan Serfontein will replace his former schoolboy captain Dries Swanepoel, while Tian Schoeman will start at pivot ahead of Louis Fouche.

Ruan Steenkamp will start the crucial Currie Cup fixture on the bench and, depending on how the match progresses, could make his first appearance in the competition.

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c) 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Ruan Steenkamp, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Dries Swanepoel.

Date: Friday, 25 September
Kick-off: 20:00 local (18:00 GMT)
Venue: Growthpoint Kings Park
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Jaco Pretorius
Television match official: Marius Jonker

ABSA First Division heats up

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The battle for Absa Currie Cup First Division Semi-final places will reach a climax on Friday when the last three league fixtures are played in Kempton Park, East London and George respectively.

ABSA

In the final round-robin fixtures the Hino Valke entertain the Leopards in a 15h00 kick-off at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, and at 19h00 the SWD Eagles host the Down Touch Griffons at Outeniqua Park in George and Boland travel to East London for their encounter against the Border Bulldogs.

The Leopards are out of sight as the runaway leaders, as their nine-match unbeaten streak netted them the maximum 45 points. They are followed by the Griffons (27), Valke in third place (24), SWD (22), Boland (13) and Border (7) respectively.

The Leopards are already assured of a home Semi-final, while the Griffons, Valke and SWD have also booked their Semi-final places. However, all three of these teams still have a realistic chance of finishing second to claim the remaining home Semi-final on offer.

With the Griffons boasting a three-point lead over the third-placed Valke, a win for the Welkom team will guarantee them a second-place finish and seal a home Semi-final against the team who finishes third.

Currently, the Valke have the second-best point difference (35) and they must score a bonus-point win over the prolific Leopards to jump into second place. For that to happen, however, they must hope for a Griffons defeat against the Eagles in George.

Home ground advantage, coupled with the steady improvement they have shown over the last few weeks make Border the firm favourites against Boland, who suffered heavy defeats in their last two outings.

Despite their current log position, Border came very close to causing an upset against the Leopards in Potchefstroom last week. In fact, a last-minute penalty kick by Meel Engelbrecht allowed the Leopards to edge the Bulldogs 32-30 after a stirring comeback from the East London side.

The final round of Absa Currie Cup First Division league fixtures on Friday:

Hino Valke vs Leopards

Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park

Kick-off: 15h00

SWD Eagles vs Down Touch Griffons

Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Kick-off: 19h00

 

Border Bulldogs vs Boland Cavaliers

Venue: BCM Stadium, East London

Kick-off: 19h00

Alwyn Hollenbach retires from rugby

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Super Rugby Lions veteran 30 year old Alwayn Hollenbach has announced his immediate retirement.

Revenge sweet for Province

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Western Province’s recent resurgence continued when they claimed a 29-14 victory over the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Friday.

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The result was sweet revenge for the hosts, who suffered a humiliating defeat to the Bulls in their corresponding fixture in Pretoria in Round Three.

Western Province’s attacking enterprise and domination of territory and possession, especially in the first half, laid the groundwork to their victory and they outscored their visitors by three tries to one.

One player that have given Province a great new look on attack is Du Preez. He is controlling the game for Province on attack and defense and he has a good kicking game as well. With Du Preez at 10, I am sure that Province have found a great fly half that will take there game in the right direction

The Bulls often shone individually but seldom showed enough control when it mattered most and they committed basic errors which undermined their efforts.

WP made a superb start and were leading 5-0 after two minutes when Dillyn Leyds crossed for the game’s opening try after running onto a pass from Johnny Kotze, who tore the Bulls’ defensive line to shreds with a superb break in the build-up.

Robert du Preez added the extras and WP soon scored their second try when Huw Jones barged over from close quarters after shrugging off a tackle from Jamba Ulengo.

The visitors replied with two penalties from Louis Fouché, before Robert du Preez added one of his own to give the WP a 15-6 lead on the half-hour mark.

Fouché succeeded with another three-pointer from the kicking tee which meant the Bulls were still in the game at the interval.

Du Preez made it 18-9 five minutes after the restart when he added another penalty and for the next 15 minutes it was a war of attrition as both sides battled to gain the ascendancy.

WP drew further ahead with two Du Preez penalties and by the 65th minute they had the game in the bag with the score at 24-9.

There was some late drama when Travis Ismaiel got over for the Bulls’ only try when he dived onto a perfectly-weighted grubber kick from Warrick Gelant behind the home side’s tryline in 74th minute.

WP didn’t panic, though, and still had time to score their final try three minutes before the end. Jano Vermaak was the man who put the final nail in his former side’s coffin when he dived over after selling Ismaiel a dummy on the edge of the visitors’ 22.

The scorers:

For Western Province:
Tries: Leyds, Jones, Vermaak
Con: Du Preez
Pens: Du Preez 4

For Blue Bulls:
Pens: Fouché 3
Try: Ismaiel

Preview: Can Province turn the tables against Blue Bulls?

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We are lucky enough that we have two great ABSA Currie Cup matches to look forward to between all the World Cup matches during this weekend. The first of these main matches this weekend will be Western Province who will host the Blue Bulls in Cape Town on Friday evening.

The men from Cape Town got a proper “klap” a few weeks ago from the Blue Bulls at Loftus and will want to turn the tables at home at Newlands.

Western Province have been improving after the losses they suffered at the hands of the Blue Bulls and Cheetahs and look like they are playing a much better and improved game since those losses. Having the young Du Preez at flyhalf also looked like the better option last week and one could see a more constructive attack and defensive effort from the team against the Sharks.

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The biggest concern still for the exciting young Blue Bulls team will be there scrums. At certain stages against the Lions last week they did scrum better but overall it is a major concern in their team. Western Province have been one off if not the best scrumming unit this whole year long and possession from scrums have become very important to attack from in the modern game.

The way that referees penalise front rows these days also make the scrums a big weapon to accumulate points through penalties and the Blue Bulls will have to be up for it to make sure that it does not get away from them.

The match up of the back three of both teams will be something most will be looking at and again Western Province back three will want to make sure the same defensive errors does happen again as a few weeks ago at Loftus.

The Blue Bulls have been one of the outstanding inform teams this year with the Lions and even playing Province at home they will be the team to beat come Friday night and Western Province will know that.

Western Province will need the pack to dominate and quicker service from Groom otherwise they will get hammered again by the Blue Bulls. Du Preez will play a key role in winning or losing for Province and his abilities will be fully tested with the likes of Stegmann and Lappies in the Blue Bulls side.

One can expect a close game and if the weather in the mother city is playing her part we should have one exciting game again this weekend.

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom (captain), 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Demetri Catrakilis, 22 Kobus van Wyk

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 7 Roelof Smit, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jan Serfontein.

Date: Friday, September 18
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Lourens van der Merwe
Television match official: Marius Jonker

Preview: Kings to upset Pumas in Nelspruit?

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With the World Cup starting on Friday with England taking on Fiji in the opening game we also still have the small matter of the ABSA Currie Cup that plays it out in South Africa.

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The Pumas will host the EP Kings in Nelspruit with an early kick-off at 16:45 on Friday. This should be a most interesting clash between the two teams as the Pumas are coming off some losses and the Kings registered there first win in two years over the Cheetahs last weekend.

One can say that one team will come in the game with confidence and the other will want to get that back after last weeks lost.

The Pumas last win was in round 3 against the Kings when they beat them narrowly 15-13 in PE, so it is all to play for this weekend and this should be an most interesting clash.

The Pumas have been boosted by the return of Springbok tighthead prop Vincent Koch while regular captain Stefan Watermeyer is also back in midfield.

Scrum-half Faf de Klerk will be highly motivated to do well in his 50th game for the home side after he was yellow carded in their loss to Griquas.

Meanwhile, the Kings have kept changes to a minimum after last weekend’s victory over the Cheetahs. The only change to the starting line-up sees Schalk Ferreira taking over from Lizo Gqoboka in the front row, with Gqoboka named on the bench.

The team is very similar to last week’s side but this week we will be starting Schalk Ferreira at loosehead, with Lizo dropping to the bench,” said Kings coach Brent Janse van Rensburg. “It is part of our rotation plan after Lizo played three games in a row. Schalk is a very experienced forward and we felt it was time to give him another opportunity after he played three in a row earlier in the season.”

Despite registering their first win of the season over the Cheetahs, Janse van Rensburg said they realised they would face a massive challenge in Nelspruit.

That win was very important for us because it was reward for the hard work the players have put in and it will have helped our confidence,” he added.

But we know, while we need to be confident, we cannot be arrogant because we will still have to work hard for any win and nothing will just fall into our laps. Playing in Nelspruit is always a tough challenge and we know the Pumas will be out to make a statement after losing to Griquas last weekend.”

Captain Tim Whitehead echoed Janse van Rensburg’s sentiments and said their focus remained solely on their next game.

“Yes, it (the win) was a bit of a relief for us because we have been working so hard over the last couple of months and just to be rewarded with a good victory over the Cheetahs was massive for us,” Whitehead said. “But now we are really keen for the next challenge and we are making sure we are just focusing on one game at a time.”

The teams:

Pumas: 15 Hoffmann Maritz, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (c), 11 Rosco Spekman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Mathee/Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Corné Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 De-Jay Terblanché/Marné Coetzee, 18 Lubabalo Mtyanda/Jannie Stander, 19 Uzair Cassiem, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Hennie Skorbinski, 22 Marcello Sampson.

EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Tim Whitehead (c), 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Cornel Hess, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Elgar Watts.

Date: Friday, September 18
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 17:00 local (15:00 GMT)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Willie Vos

Fouche at 10 for Blue Bulls against WP

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Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named flyhalf Louis Fouché in his starting team to play DHL Western Province in Cape Town on Friday. The inclusion of Fouché, who swops places with Tian Swanepoel (to the bench) is one of three similar tweaks Marais made following last weekend’s defeat to the Golden Lions.

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The other tweaks see Burger Odendaal swopping places with Jan Serfontein in the midfield and Deon Stegmann swopping with Arno Botha, who moves to the bench. Stegmann is included as a flank though, with Lappies Labuschagne moving to no8, where Botha started last weekend.

In the other change, Pierre Schoeman was named at loosehead prop, with Dean Greyling dropping out of the match day squad.

“We needed to make some small adjustments as we will approach the WP match different from the one against the Lions last weekend. I have brought in Louis, Burger and Deon for a particular reason, while I think Pierre will front up come scrum time. We need to be competitive in the scrums if we want to get a result against WP, so I made a change,” Marais said.

Labuschagne is happy with the switch to the back of the scrum.

“For us to beat WP, we will have to play well as individuals as well as combinations. I think the loose trio are all capable of slotting into any of the three positions, so we should really complement each other well. Defence will probably have to win this for us, as WP remains the most attacking team in the competition,” Labuschagne said.

“We have some serious players on the bench as well, which will be important. This will take a 23 man effort to go down to Newlands and beat WP.”

The team is: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Louis Fouché, Francois Hougaard, Lappies Labuschagne (c), Roelof Smit, Deon Stegmann, Marvin Orie, Jacques du Plessis, Marcel van der Merwe, Bandise Maku, Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Werner Kruger, RG Snyman, Arno Botha, Ivan van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, Jan Serfontein.

Bongi the only change for WP

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Western Province head coach John Dobson has made just one change to his starting XV for Friday’s clash with the Blue Bulls at Newlands.

WP Rugby

The only change to the run-on side, that beat the Sharks in Durban last weekend, sees Bongi Mbonambi starting at hooker, with Scarra Ntubeni moving down to the replacements bench where he will be joined by fit-again back-row Nizaam Carr.

Carr, who took over the captaincy earlier this season from injured squad leader Juan de Jongh, missed the Sharks game with a hamstring injury and will, wisely, be blooded back via the bench this week.

Scrum-half Nic Groom will again lead WP into battle, as he did last week, with young Robert du Preez making his second successive start in the number 10 jersey after his impressive display last week as a late replacement for Kurt Coleman.

“We’re fortunate to have Nizaam coming off the bench, from a leadership point of view, after Nic led the team well last week,” said Dobson.

“Kurt is obviously still out, but Robert did nicely last week and it’s a great opportunity for him to start his first Currie Cup match at Newlands.

“Bongi, meanwhile, is deserved of a start against his old team – in a rotational switch – and we’re looking to Scarra to provide a similar impact (to Bongi’s) off the bench this week.”

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom (captain), 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Demetri Catrakilis, 22 Kobus van Wyk

Date: Friday, September 18
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Lions edge Blue Bulls in a classic

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By: Jacques Nortier (Bunny)

 

Now this is how rugby was supposed to be played and this game took me back to those classic games in the 80’s as the Blue Bulls and the Lions left everything on the field on Saturday. The Lions at the end came out winners with 36-28.

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The top of the table clash started with a bag for the Golden Lions as the came out and almost run the Blue Bulls of their feet.

The Lions were just too clinical on attack and did everything at speed which caught the Blue Bulls out and they just did not had any answer to it. In a matter of minutes the Lions were leading the Blue Bulls with more than 20 points.

The Blue Bulls played into the Lions hands and mistakes they made cost them every time they tried to get into the game. The scrums and lineouts were also going more the Lions way and they were dominating almost every aspect of the game in the first half.

When the Blue Bulls had the opportunity on attack they did put the Lions under pressure but could not keep hold of the ball close to the Lions line. The Lions defense was also outstanding and kept the Blue Bulls out for most of the Blue Bulls opertunities that did come their way.

Only some magic from Hougie gave the Blue Bulls a try on the stroke of halftime to make the halftime score 30-7 and still hard work to do to stay in this game in the second half.

Many people thought that the game was over by halftime when the Lions had a 30-7 lead but how wrong that thinking was. The Blue Bulls came out in the second half and did to the Lions exactly what the Lions did to them in the first half.

Brilliant play from the Blue Bulls put them back into the game and with the Loftus faithful getting behind their team the atmosphere was electric. The Blue Bulls did not disappoint and they score brilliant tries and stun the Lions a bit with there qaulity of play. As quickly as the Lions went into that early lead in the first half the Blue Bulls got back into the game in the second half.

At the one point they were just 5 points behind the Lions and many through the comeback of the year is busy playing out in front of them, but it was one step too far for the Blue Bulls on the night as the Lions secure the game with a penalty to extend their lead to eight points.

The two teams showed why they are the favorites to lift the cup at the end of the season and it will take a massive effort from any other team to take it from them.

If this is what we can expect in the next couple of weeks, then we are in for a hell of a ride until the final.

The scorers:

For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Ulengo 2, Stegmann, Botha
Cons: Schoeman 4

For Golden Lions:
Tries: Skosan, Mostert, Combrinck
Cons: Boshoff 3
Pens: Boshoff 3
Drop goal: Boshoff

 

 

 

Bonus point win for Province over Sharks

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By: Jacques Nortier (Bunny)

 

A brilliant second half from Western Province gave them a bonus point win over the Sharks in Durban on Saturday. They scored four tries to win teh Sharks 37-27.

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The first half started off with allot of kicking especially from the Sharks as they allied pressure through high kicks and chasing up with their fast men. Some of these kicks were pointless kicks and Western Province applied the same tactics.

With a few penalties coming their way Western Province were first to score a try after a quick tap from Groom spreading the ball quickly to Senatla who got over in the corner. Du Preez converted the try and gave Western Province an early 7-3 lead.

The Sharks were kept in the game with penalties conceded by Western Province ever time the Sharks came into their twenty two meters.

The Sharks got a brilliant try to get into the lead and stretch it to 17-10 just before half time.

In the first 7 min of the second half Western Province scored two brilliant tries to quickly go to a 24-17 lead, with du Preez the catalyst in both tries.

Western Province never really let the foot of the pedal in the second half and were by far the better team on the field, making less mistakes and dominating almost every aspect of the game.

The Sharks were getting into great positions on the field but handling and poor decision making cost them any real dominance. Given away too many penalties kept Western Province ticking over the scoreboard and extending their lead.

The Sharks were able to score a try in the second half and got within seven points of Province but gave another penalty in the scrum away just before the end of the game to close the game out. The Sharks had a change to get a bonus point at the end but missed it and end the game with nothing.

Western Province will feel very happy coming away from Durban with 5 points as they also scored their four tries.

Cloete was the man of the match and rightly so as the young Province flaker played the whole field full.

For Province the service of Du Preez at 10 was great and Province back line looked like a different outfit on attack.

This win take Province up to third position on the log and in a good position for the play-offs.

 

 

Kings get first win in Currie Cup

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By; Jacques Nortier (Bunny)

EP Kings surprise when they beat the Free State Cheetahs 32-24 on Friday night in winning their first ABSA Currie Cup game of the season.

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Starting the first half very well and dominating play in the first 15 min the Kings quickly got into a 6 point lead. They were really looking good and put the Cheetahs on a lot of pressure in that first 15 min.

The Cheetahs did start playing towards the ball and with finding some space they scored their first try from a driving lineout after a silly dangerous tackle from the Kings.

They quickly started to dominate as the Kings started to give away silly mistakes which kept the Cheetahs in there half. They quickly scored their second try and got to a 14-6 lead after the Kings made most of the play in the first half.

The Kings did manage to get back into the game late in the half and score one of the best tries you will see this season when Obi ran the perfect line to break the Cheetahs defence. Penalties was traded by both teams and they went into halftime with the Cheetahs leading the Kings 19-16.

The second half had a slow start for both teams and they made plenty of mistakes during this first part of the second half.

It was a red card for punching from Kings centre JP Du Plessis that spark the Kings and they started playing much better and quickly got the a lead of 32-19. The Cheetahs did got one try back at the end but it was too late and the Kings kept it together to get the first win of the season by beating the Cheetahs 43-24.

The scorers:

For Kings:
Tries: Obi, Grey
Cons: Van Breda 2
Pens: Van Breda 6
Red card: Du Plessis

For Cheetahs:
Tries: Blommetjies, Venter, Olivier, Petersen
Cons: Zeilinga 2

 

 

 

Preview: ABSA Currie Cup Week 6

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Absa

 

 

Week 6 of ABSA Currie Cup comes with a twist with teams starting to play a single round of matches against the other groups teams. This makes the two undefeated Blue Bulls and Golden Lions match something special to look forward to as everyone gears up for the World Cup starting in a weeks time.

First up this weekend will be…….

EP Kings v Toyota Free State Cheetahs

After two straight losses in the first two rounds the Free State Cheetahs have been playing some good rugga’s and build as a good unit which is no means an easy game for any other.

Smith has settled in now by the Cheetahs and one can start seeing a game plan coming through and players starting to play some great rugby. Smith has brought back the ability to the players in creating space for there speedsters and they have become a deadly side on turnovers.

Oupa Mohoje will capatain the side this week with fellow Springbok Hendricks to also start this week against the Kings.

The Kings have been slowly developing in the first half of the Currie Cup and if one did not watch them closely from week one, you would not have picked up that they have become a stronger unit and playing better each week. A walkover they are definitly not and if you want to win against the Kings you better bring your A-game or else you would get the rough end of it.

Our first game on Saturday …..

Sharks vs Western Province

Another interesting match to look forward too, but will certainly not get the hype as what the Blue Bulls, Lions game will get from fans and for one simple reason, neither Western Province nor the Sharks have been anything like a championship team this year so far.

The biggest disappointment this far in the Currie Cup was Western Province as everyone was excited and optimistic on the prospect that Dobson will take charge of the team, but the team has been ordinary in there attack and game plan. Strange team selection also baffled there supporters as Dobson played Demetri in the first half of the competition even though he will be leaving the union. Many expected Dobson to give Coleman and Du Preez a change to be the next 10 for Western Province and the Stormers.

Nick Groom will take charge of the team and lead them against the Sharks.

The Sharks have played some great rugby and one can see a massive improvement every week but they are unable so far to put a full 80 min together and that is what you need to win against the big guns.

Both the Sharks and Western Province must improve massively if they want to be able to compete with the Blue Bulls and Lions comes play-off time.

Sharks coach Gary Gold will be hoping for more out of his troops after two recent but unconvincing victories over the Kings and Pumas.

Griquas vs Pumas

The Pumas and Griquas are desperate for a win after some rough weeks in there last couple of outings. Although Griquas have not won a game yet this year they have been playing some great rugby and given some top teams a real workout to beat them.

Griquas have been way better than what that zero represent behind there win colum this season and the Pumas must take not that this will be a hard one as it always are with these two teams.

The Pumas can count themselves rather unlucky to not have clinched what would have been an incredible third successive win over the Sharks last weekend. Nevertheless, the Pumas remain a side that regularly punches above their weight, and they will be determined to produce a clinical performance against the winless Griquas on Saturday in search of their third win of the season.

Pumas coach MJ Mentz has made a host of changes to his side missing injured Bok Vincent Koch, and while they will be wary of a desperate Griquas team, this is a game they should be targeting for victory.

Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions

The big one this weekend will be at Loftus when the Blue Bulls host the Golden Lions in a top of logs clash with both teams undefeated and bot topping the respective sections logs.

Games like these is what makes Currie Cup rugby so special and players, supporters and coaches lives for it.

One can expect that these two teams will be the favorites to play in the play-offs and at least one if not both may contest the final this year as they both have been light years better than any other team in the competition.

The Blue Bulls will go into the game as favorites but only because the match will be played at Loftus. Must say that is only a slight advantage as the Lionns have shown that they can win anywhere and at Loftus.

 

The free-flowing Bulls have been extremely impressive this season, and it’s no wonder Lions coach Johan Ackermann acknowledged that their rivals were a dangerous and unpredictable opponent.

The Lions made a bright and breezy start to the season, and although they have failed to produce completely convincing performances over the past couple of weeks, they remain a formidable foe.

Ackermann has once again opted to effect a number of changes to his side, while the Bulls have been boosted by the return of Deon Stegmann and Dean Greyling, with Jan Serfontein also set to start his first game of the competition.

Well at least we will have an outright log leader after this weekend and we will be able to see if Western Province and the Sharks can get better and compete with the likes of the Lions and Blue Bulls

 

 

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