We down to the last four in this years ABSA Currie Cup with the Golden Lions hosting the Sharks at Ellis Park and Western Province taking on the Blue Bulls in Cape Town.
First up this morning though is a small matter of struggling Aussies hosting the All Blacks in Australia for the last Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane.
Saturday 18 October 2014
Australia 0, All Blacks 0 (Live – 11:00 on SS1)
With the Bledisloe Cup safely tucked away in the NZRU trophy cabinet for yet another year and with the Wallaby camp clearly disrupted by the Kurtley Beale saga, predictions of an All Black demolition job have been common place all week. But they are perhaps a little exaggerated.
In the light of the comments in support of Beale coming from some senior players – including skipper Michael Hooper – it’s safe to say the Wallabies won’t be playing their hearts out for Ewen McKenzie. Nor will they be putting their bodies on the line for the ARU. But that doesn’t matter. The men in gold will have plenty of motivation.
One cannot measure the depths of the desire that this Australian side has to topple their rivals from across the ditch. Beyond that, the Aussie players will be motivated to honour a special occasion for a special Wallaby, Adam Ashley-Cooper, who hits 100 caps on Saturday.
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Matt Hodgson, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Rob Horne.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Charles Piutau
Date: Saturday, October 18
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19:00 local (11:00 BST, 10:00 GMT)
Weather: 24°C. Chances of rain
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa
Xerox Golden Lions 0, Cell C Sharks 0 (Live at 14:00 on SS1)
The Golden Lions will be out for revenge when they host the Sharks in their Currie Cup semi-final in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Two weeks ago, these sides met in a league match in Durban and the Sharks claimed a morale-boosting 26-23 victory. While that result secured the Sharks’ place in the semi-finals it proved costly for the Lions as it cost them the top spot on the table as the Durban-based outfit also beat eventual tabletoppers Western Province last weekend.
The Lions enjoy a fast-paced 15-man game which has proved successful throughout their campaign.
While knockout matches favour a conservative approach, the home side’s coach Johan Ackermann said they would not deviate from the expansive game plan that got them this far into the competition.
2014: Sharks won 26-23, Durban
2013: Sharks won 31-25, Johannesburg
2013: Sharks won 33-25, Durban
2012: Lions won 28-22, Johannesburg
2012: Sharks won 30-14, Durban
2011: Lions won 42-16, Johannesburg (Final)
2011: Sharks won 53-9, Durban
2011: Lions won 28-19, Johannesburg
Golden Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Mark Richards, 22 Harold Vorster
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu (c), 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 JC Astle, 20 Khaya Majola, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga.
Date: Saturday, October 18
Kick-off: 14:30 local (13:30 BST 12:30 GMT)
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Sieg van Staden
DHL Western Province 0, Vodacom Blue Bulls 0 (Live at 17:00 on SS1)
There will be plenty of pressure when Western Province host the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands on Saturday.
The home side head into this clash as overwhelming favourites after another stellar campaign during the league phase of the competition. The men from the Cape finished at the top of the standings with 39 points from 10 matches while the Bulls trailed them by 11 points.
WP also won both league fixtures – 23-18 in Pretoria and 41-17 in Cape Town – between these teams but their coach Allister Coetzee is not underestimating his opponents.
2014: Western Province won 23-18 in Pretoria
2014: Western Province won 41-17 in Cape Town
2013: Western Province won 29-18 in Pretoria
2013: 24-24 draw in Cape Town
2012: Western Province won 42-6 in Cape Town
2012: Blue Bulls won 26-13 in Pretoria
2011: Western Province won 35-7 in Cape Town
2011: Blue Bulls won 28-20 in Pretoria
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 EW Villjoen.
Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Handrè Pollard, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Sampie Mastriet, 22 Jesse Kriel.
Date: Saturday, October 18
Kick-off: 17:00 local (16:00 BST 15:00 GMT)
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Lesego ‘Pro’ Legoete
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker, Linston Manuels
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein