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.
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.
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