First division final, top of the log up for grabs, as is that final semi final spot, and the Boks are back! All the Currie Cup teams, times, refs and predictions from Tank Lanning.
First division final on the goggle box on Friday night if you have nothing better to do, give the Griquas game a miss (no need to watch if they are not prepared to play), and then all your focus (well worthy of a pink ticket) on the two crackers of the weekend at 5 and 7. There is not enough time between the 2 games to do justice to a full braai, so best to get that done and dusted before the game in Bloem, then coolerbox emptying and biltong popping for the finest 4 hours of Currie Cup glory this year!
Pre weekend Currie Cup log:
Western Province Pld:9 W:7 Pts:33
Sharks Pld:9 W:7 Pts:32
Free State Cheetahs Pld:9 W:4 Pts:22
Golden Lions Pld:9 W:3 Pts:21
Blue Bulls Pld:9 W:3 Pts:17
Griquas Pld:9 W:1 Pts:10
The weekend at a glance …
Friday, October 11
Pumas v EP at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit (19:10)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Stefan Breytenbach
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein
I have not seen enough of the 1st division to offer any form of educated opinion, but I have seen enough of the Pumas to know that they border on being invincible at this level.
My prediction: Pumas by 12
Pumas: Coenie van Wyk; JW Bell, Wilmaure Louw, Stefan Watermeyer, Rosko Speckman; Carl Bezuidenhout, Faf de Klerk; RW Kember, Renaldo Bothma, Corné Steenkamp (captain), Eduan van der Walt, Rudi Mathee, Dee-Jay Terblanche, Frankie Hearne, Corné Fourie.
Bench: Francois du Toit, Vincent Koch, Giant Mtyanda, Doppies le Roux, Reynier van Rooyen, JC Roos, Dewald Pretorius.
EP: Scott van Breda; Michael Killian, Ronnie Cooke, Tiger Mangweni, Brian Skosana; George Whitehead, Dwane Kelly; Tim Agaba, Mpho Mbiyoza, Devin Oosthuizen; Darron Nell (captain), Steven Sykes; Charl du Plessis, Hannes Franklin, Lizo Gqoboka.
Bench: Robert Dyer, Ross Geldenhuys, Wayne van Heerden, Stefan Willemse, Kayle van Zyl, Dukisa Ntabeni, Wayne Stevens.
Saturday, October 12
15h00 – Golden Lions v Griquas at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Sieg van Staden
Television match official: Johan Greeff
With the season in tatters, quite clearly Griquas have their eye on the promotion relegation game against the Pumas, choosing to rest plenty players for this dead rubber. Well, dead rubber for them. The Lions still need 2 bonus points to be sure of a semi, which they should do at a canter …
My prediction: Lions by 28
Golden Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Andries Coetzee, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie (captain), 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Bench: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Lambert Groenewald, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronjé 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Kobus de Kock
Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Jonathan Francke, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Du Randt Gerber, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Ligtoring Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse (captain), 2 Matt Dobson, 1 Janro van Niekerk.
Bench: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Dalton Davis, 19 Patrick O’Brien, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 JP Nel, 22 Logan Basson
17:05 – Free State v Blue Bulls at Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Francois de Bruin
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee
Like the Boks last week, the Bulls need to score 4 tries in a win that denies the Cheetahs any form of bonus point. Only, they do not get the safety of Loftus or Ellis Park, they need to do it in Bloem. Sadie and Ebersohn vs JJ and Serfontein is almost too good to be true, as is the battle up front which sees an all Bok front row taking to the field for the Bloem boys. The Bulls are on the brink of finding themselves, and I have backed them too many times this season as such, but even with the Boks back, and Engelbrecht at 8 (top call that), I think this will be a bridge too far for them. Good to see Johan Goosen back in the mix … I just hope he has not been rushed back to soon – the oke seems to be made of glass!
My prediction: Cheetahs by 7
Free State: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Bench: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19 Freddy Ngoza, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Johan Goosen, 22 Willie du Plessis
Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 David Bullbring, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Marcel van der Merwe
Bench: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Francois Venter, 22 Clayton Blommetjies
19:10 – Sharks v Western Province at Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Jaftha Jason, Rossouw Reuben
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman
The battle for top of the log! Would it be completely insane of me to equate this with the All Black test last week? Of course it would, but I actually cannot remember when I was last this excited for a Currie Cup game. Fired up to see how Cilliers, Ntubeni, and Kitshoff go against this absolute beast of a Sharks pack. Whitehead vs De Jongh is also a cracker, as is the clash of the back three. As they say in the classics, the forwards decide who wins the game, the backs by how much, and I just think this Sharks pack will have a little too much in the tank for the mountain goats. That said, there will definitely be a little fatigue in those Bok legs, and it might take a while for the Sharks to gel as a side. WP certainly not out of it …
My prediction: Sharks by 3
Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Tim Whitehead, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Peet Marais, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Bench: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Stephan Lewies, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Patrick Lambie, 22. Louis Ludik
Western Province: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Siya Kolisi, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Bench: 16. Frans Malherbe, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Michael Rhodes, 19. Schalk Burger, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Jean de Villiers