This weekend we will have the two semi finals of this years Currie Cup and the first match will see the two most exciting teams in the competition this year, Free State Cheetahs hosting the Golden Lions in Bloemfontein.
This have all the making of a classic and it is actually sad that they do not meet in the final, take nothing away from the Blue Bulls.
The Free State have been undefeated throughout the competition and will try and replicate what the Golden Lions did last year to go all the way in lifting the trophy without losing a match. Although this year saw a much shorter version of the Currie Cup and no home and away fixtures, the Free State Cheetahs have been a class act and deserve the position they find themselves in.
They have been the team with the Golden Lions who scored the most tries and the style of rugby won over some much needed fans for the men from Bloemfontein. Coach Franco Smith went with a no fear attitude and gave his players freedom to express themselves on the field from the first game. He said in the week although this is a semi final, they will not change anything on how they go into the game.
“I have been involved in enough play-off matches to know that your build-up for a semifinal and Final starts from round one,” Smith told rugby365. “From day one you have to play the game [style] that you want to play in a Final. There might be one or two things we do differently, but we have worked on winning every game and the semifinal is the same.”
He said they will continue to strive to produce a better product. They used the past fortnight – a break courtesy of a South African Rugby Union decision to postpone the play-offs for a week – to recharge and reset. “However, we also look at the big picture. While the semifinal and Final are important, the plan is to be more competitive in Super Rugby next year and to ensure there are more players at the disposal of the Springbok coach [Allister Coetzee],” he said of a team that has not finished inside the top 10 in Super Rugby since 2013. That is why we want to grow as a team and create better players.”
The Golden Lions had a mixed bag this year but when they did click as a team they played some of the best rugby we have seen. Their never say die attitude and attacking ability from everywhere on the field makes them one of the more dangerous teams in the competition.
The Golden Lions have been disrupted much more than previous years with a few being part of the Springbok group and also some to injuries.
With all of that the Golden Lions have still shown that they have efficient depth in the union and even without most of their Springboks (with Japanese contracts) they are still one of the favorites too take the title again this year.
Does not matter which way you lean to……..this game will be a big one come Saturday and if you are a betting man, put your money in your pocket and rather bet on something you can be sure off.