The Boks take a breather this weekend, so it’s time to focus on South Africa’s oldest tournament – the much kicked and dented, yet unbelievably resilient Currie Cup … Into the tournament come Bok discards Keegan Daniel and JJ Engelbrecht, honeymooner Pete Dixon, and out of the tournament go new Boks Duane Vermeulen, Johan Goosen and Juan de Jongh …
Fresh off a win against WP, and playing at home (not that it makes that much difference given the paltry attendance at the cavern that is Ellis Park) against a side that is 0 from 3, it would be a pretty big upset to see the men from Kimberley take this. The Lions are looking pretty good, though, with their skipper JC janse van Rensberg scrumming like a machine, and Jantjies and James combining nicely at 10 and 12. Not really a head to head but both Coetzee and Le Roux have looked very exciting with ball in hand. Sporting bet will give you only 2/11 on the Lions and 5/1 on Griquas … About right I would say.
My prediction: Lions by 9
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willie Britz, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Joshua Strauss, 3 CJ Van der Linde, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Bench: 16 Callie Visagie/Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Alwyn Hollenbach, 22 Deon Helberg.
Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Walter Venter, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Wesley Wilkins, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Rynhardt Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts.
Bench: 16 Matthew Dobson, 17 Ivann Espag, 18 Frikkie Spies, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Matthew Rosslee.
Saturday 01 Sep
17:05 Sharks vs Cheetahs, Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistants: Jason Jaftha, Reuben Rossouw
Both sides are 2 from 3, making this a key match for both of them. Sharks will be looking to bounce back after what was a pretty comprehensive loss to the Bulls last weekend, and with Keegan Daniel back at 8, I see that happening, perhaps even by a lot more than the conservative 7 I have gone with. The clash of the half backs should make for good viewing, as will the Jordaan vs Ebersohn head to head. Has potential to be a real thirst inducer. Sporting bet will give you 4/11 on the Sharks and 11/4 on the Cheetahs. Again … About right.
My prediction: Sharks by 7
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel (captain), 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Bench: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Rosko Specman.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn (captain), 12 Barry Geel, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Kabamba Floors, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Bench: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Phillip Snyman, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
19:10 Western Province vs Blue Bulls, Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistants: Jonathan Kaplan, Marc van Zyl
TMO: Johann Meuwesen
Much like the Ikeys vs Maties game happening down the road (which would have made for a legendary curtain raiser, and perhaps even worth having at the new stadium with the fan walk open), a clash that comes with much tradition. Yet only 12 000 people are expected at Newlands. No doubt a function of the amount of rugby being played, these 2 sides facing each other so often during the season, and the diabolical kickoff time! Expect box kicks, lots of chasing from the wings, industrial defence, and one off runners from the locks and loosies in front of the flyhalf. A proper arm wrestle in the rain, with Stegmann outclassing Fourie on the floor, and Fouche bossing the field position. Losing both Vermeulen and De Jongh will hurt the home side … Sporting bet will give you 10/11 on WP and 11/10 on the Bulls. Perhaps worth a flutter on the men in light blue?
My prediction: Bulls by 3
WP: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Ederies Arendse, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Deon Carstens.
Bench: 16 Steven Kitshoff, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Damian de Allende, 22 Kurt Coleman.
Blue Bulls: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn.
Bench: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Rudi Paige, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Jurgen Visser.
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Other weekend fixtures …
15h30 Ikeys vs Maties, Green Mile
Currie Cup 1st division:
Friday 31 Aug
19:00 Eastern Province Kings vs Valke
19:00 Border Bulldogs vs Griffons
Saturday 01 Sep
15:00 Ford Pumas vs SWD Eagles
15:00 Leopards vs Regent Boland Kavaliers
16:00 – Boland vs Griquas
16:45 – Blue Bulls vs Border
12:30 – Pumas vs SWD
12:45 – Leopards vs Free State
15:00 – Valke vs EP KIngs
16:45 – Western Province vs Lions
14:15 – Boland vs Griquas
15:00 – Bulls vs SWD Eagles
11:00 – Leopards vs Free State
11:00 – Pumas vs Border
13:30 – Valke vs EP Kings
15:00 – Western Province vs Lions