The Currie Cup moves into week 4 and it is a case of some teams that need to start winning, some that want to keep on winning and other teams that just want to use this opportunity to build and grow as a union.
With a clear difference between the leaders and the one’s that are left behind at this stage, each and every week have become a play-off match especially for a team like Western Province who has lost both their matches so far the season sitting with only two log points.
It will be the Sharks who will want to secure their fourth win and stay at the top of the log, the Lions will want to get back to winning ways after their loss against Griquas last week, Western Province will want to start winning and Griquas will want to keep that winning feeling they got against the Lions last week.
We have four matches this week and two that stands out, one Friday evening between the Pumas and Griquas and the other Saturday evening between the Sharks and Blue Bulls. These two matches should be very entertaining and we will see the best the Currie Cup can offer.
In the other two matches we have on Friday late afternoon the Lions that host the Boland Kavaliers in Johannesburg and on Saturday afternoon the EP Kings that will welcome their neighbors Western Province to PE.
Here is the current log standings:
|6||Free State Cheetahs||8||6||2||0||0||0|
Here is a quick preview on this weekend Currie Cup matches
Friday 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland Kavaliers
Although it is not close to the same Golden Lions side that played in the Currie Cup Qualifying rounds, Boland will draw some confidence from the win they had over the Lions in that competition.
What Boland will be assured off is that this Lions side will not be happy bunch of players who lost for the first time since 2004 a Currie Cup match last weekend against Griquas in Kimberley. The players and coaches do not take losses very well and one can expect that the Lions will come out firing from the start of the match to make the wrongs right again.
Ackermann has made a wholesale of changes to his side and sending a clear message to some players to be on par if they want to stay in this team. The Boland Kavaliers are coming off a big loss against the Sharks at home where they were defeated 41-20 in Wellington. Boland have showed they can win away when after they beat the Kings with a bonus-point in Port Elizabeth earlier on in the competition.
The Lions currently sit at fourth on the table but are well behind the Cheetahs and Sharks but the Pride of Jozi do have a game in hand. If they win this game with a bonus point it will send into the top three just behind the table leaders.
If Boland win they will leap-frog the Lions and go into fourth place on the overall table.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Selom Gavor, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi (c), 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Steph de Wit, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Ruan Ackermann, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Corne Fourie
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Cyle Brink, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Koch Marx, 22 JW Bell
Boland: 15 Adriaan Carelse, 14 Sergio Torrens, 13 Christopher Bosch, 12 Ryan Nel (c), 11 Danwel Demas, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Gerhard Jordaan, 8 Wayne Wilschut, 7 Shaun McDonald, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Hanno Kitshoff, 3 Basil Short, 2 Francois Esterhuizen, 1 Francois Hanekom,
Replacements: 16 Clemen Lewis, 17 Enoch Mnyaka, 18 SP Wessels, 19 Ockie van Zyl, 20 Kenan Cronje, 21 Marnus Hugo, 22 Gerrit van Wyk
Steval Pumas v Griquas
One of my matches for the weekend is the match-up between the so-called minnows of South African rugby, the Pumas and Griquas who will head to Mbombela stadium to take each other on, on Friday.
The Pumas will be desperate for a win after losing both their opening matches this far and need to win to stay in the race for that semi-final spots. With both teams desperate for a win and the history between the two sides one do expect a classic game come Friday night in Nelspruit. The history between the two sides will show that the Pumas have not won against Griquas in the last four matches they played. In fact Griquas have scored over 30 points in each of the last three matches these two played against each other.
The biggest factor must be the the confidence Griquas will come with into this game after beating the defending champions, The Golden Lions last week. After a disappointing start against the Sharks in their first game the men from Kimberley showed us just how good a team they have this year again. this win was also a sound warning to the Currie Cup’s other heavyweights and showed that their performance in the tournament’s qualifiers was no fluke.
With the Pumas having had a bye last week they do come of two heavy defeats first against the Sharks in week 1 and then the Golden Lions beating them 68-24 in Round two. With this in mind most properly the coach Mentz has rung in some changes to his starting line-up with Namibia international number eight Renaldo Bothma takes over the captaincy from Hugo Kloppers who has been replaced in the run-on side by Jannie Stander.
Other changes to the pack, Frank Herne takes over from Francois du Toit at hooker while De-Jay Terblanche comes in for Kwezi Mona at loosehead prop.
Griquas loosehead prop Steph Roberts will break the record for most appearances for the Kimberley-based union on Saturday. Roberts is set to play his 162nd match for Griquas.
The 31-year-old wants his team to build on their victory over the Golden Lions.
“The win doesn’t make us the best team in the competition,” he told the MyPlayers website. “Just like the loss against the Sharks doesn’t mean we’re the worst team in the competition.”
Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Bernardo Botha, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Leighton van Wyk, 11 Jean-Paul Lewis, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (c), 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frank Herne, 1 De Jay Terblanche.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Jacques Kotze, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Marlou van Niekerk, 22 Hoffmann Maritz.
Griquas – 15 AJ Coertzen (c), 14 JW Jonker, 13 Johnathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Steve Meiring, 20 Renier Botha, 21 André Swarts, 22 Eric Zana.
Saturday 27 August
EP Kings v Western Province
On Saturday we have great rugby to look forward to with first the Rugby Championship test from New Zealand then two Currie Cup matches and then later the Springboks.
With Western Province losing their first two opening matches a huge amount of pressure has been put on this young team to win and win big in PE when they face an surprisingly good EP Kings side who showed some great abilities against the Blue Bulls at Loftus last week. Western Province have been struggling to put a full eighty minutes together yet this season and need this win desperately to stay in the race.
Things are not looking very good for the the union as a couple of players have also in the week announced that they are leaving the union. Western Province will not be able to afford another loss and need to secure a bonus point which will not be easy from what this new look Kings side showed us at Loftus last week.
For the EP Kings it will be a case of keep doing what they did last week and improve every week as they are in a re-building phase at the struggling union. The Kings have made four changes to the team that lost at Loftus last week with JC Greyling, who hails from Namibia, starts at outside centre and Burton Klaasen moving to inside centre, after Waylon Murray was given a rest.
Ettiene Oosthuizen comes up from the bench to flank, while Sebastian Ferreira moves from flank to Lock to replace David Antonites, who has been ruled out after scans earlier this week revealed he had fractured his hand during the game against the Bulls
15. Johann Tromp, 14. Siviwe Soyizwapi, 13. JC Greyling, 12. Burton Klaasen, 11. Sampie Mastriet, 10. Kobus Marais, 9 .Ricky Schroeder (captain), 8. Christiaan De Bruin, 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Vince Jobo, 5. Sebastian Ferreira, 4. Tazz Fuzani, 3. Vukile Sofisa, 2. Mike Willemse, 1. Justin Forwood
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Barend Potgieter, 18 Dylon Pieterse, 19 Luke vd Smit, 20 Brandon Brown, 21 Lungelo Goza, 22 Ganfried May
DHL Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Robert du Preez.
Sharks v Blue Bulls
The final Currie Cup match of the weekend sees the Cell C Sharks hosting the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Durban which should be the game of the weekend.
The Sharks have been riding high in this years Currie Cup winning all three their opening matches and sitting nicely with fifteen log points on top of the log. The Blue Bulls on the other hand had a great start with full points in week 1 against Western Province but then cane back with a humiliating defeat against Free State in Bloemfontein. Last week against the EP Kings was also not what the doctor ordered and they will have to be on par to take on a good Sharks outfit on Saturday night.
Injuries have also not helped the Blue Bulls in the past few weeks but somehow they have to sort out their defense as they are letting teams to easily to score tries against them.
The Sharks have been the inform team this far the season and they team are looking like a Championship team. The most impressive part of the Sharks team this year so far was the type of game they play and the accuracy of what they do on the field. They looked like a much better all-round team from the one dimensional team we saw in Super Rugby.
Getting three bonus points on the way of winning their first three matches shows the ability the team have in scoring tries and putting pressure on the other team.
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Inny Radebe, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 S’bura Sithole, 22 Rhyno Smith.
Blue Bulls: 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha (c), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Nic de Jager, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers
Currie Cup First Division:
The Down Touch Griffons and Leopards will meet in Potchefstroom in what could be an epic clash as both teams attempt to extend their unbeaten runs to three matches. The Leopards may have had a higher success rate in meetings between the sides in the last two seasons, but the Down Touch Griffons were emphatic 76-26 victors in the Currie Cup Qualifiers, which will bolster their confidence going into the clash. In their last two matches in Potchefstroom, however, the Leopards won 64-34 and 70-25 respectively.
The match between Border and the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias will mark only the second time the teams meet. Their first meeting was in the Currie Cup Qualifiers earlier this year in which the East London side registered a 76-18 victory in Windhoek. Interestingly the Namibian side has scored eight tries in their first two matches to only four by Border, but their defence has let them down as they have conceded 16 tries, which is four times that which the East London side has leaked. Should they succeed at improving their defence, the clash could be tight.
The battle between the Hino Valke and SWD is expected to be gripping given the tight battles between the sides in the last three seasons. The Valke won four of their last six matches, with three of those victories being by five points or less. Adding to this, both teams come off defeats, which is expected to motivate them significantly.
Currie Cup Premier Division fixtures:
Friday, 26 August
Xerox Golden Lions vs Boland
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Steval Pumas vs Griquas
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Stuart Berry
Saturday, 27 August
EP Kings vs DHL Western Province
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Pro Legoete
Cell C Sharks vs Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Currie Cup First Division
Friday, 26 August
Leopards vs Down Touch Griffons
Venue: Profert Olën Park, Potchefstroom
Referee: Rodney Boneparte
Border vs Windhoek Draught Welwitschias
Venue: BCM Stadium, East London
Referee: Egon Seconds
Saturday, 27 August
Hino Valke vs SWD
Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Referee: Mpho Matsaung