Pro14 Cheetahs v Bok-laden Lions?

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 13:45

CURRIE CUP SHOOTOUT: Golden Lions coach Zacharia de Bruin will not hesitate to rush back all his available Springboks for the final round of league action.

And he will have good reason to do just that.

The Lions, despite their impressive 29-20 come-from-behind win over Western Province at Ellis Park this past Saturday is likely to face vastly improved Free State Cheetahs team in the final round of league action.

With the Pro14 taking a two-week hiatus - while the European Champions and Challenge Cup competitions get underway - the Cheetahs will be fielding a significantly strengthened team.

The Cheetahs Pro14 coach Rory Duncan told OFM that they will be making use of Pro14 players.

"We will put a competitive side together for the match against the Lions," Duncan told the Bloemfontein-based radio station.

That means the Cheetahs will field players like Francois Venter, William Small-Smith, Makazole Mapimpi, Teboho Mohoje, Torsten van Jaarsveld and Retshegofaditswe Nche - to name only a few.

The Cheetahs also confirmed that their "full coaching structure" will take charge of the Currie Cup team in preparation for the upcoming match.

The structure includes Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith as Director of Rugby and Rory Duncan as head coach - assisted by Corniel van Zyl, Daan Human, Charl Strydom and Dave Williams.

The Cheetahs and Lions will be in a straight shoot-out for play-off places - given the final round of league matches.

The Blue Bulls and Pumas get the action underway at Lotus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday. If the Blue Bulls win, they will move past the Cheetahs and Lions into third place in the standings. If the Pumas win they move ahead of the Lions into fourth place.

Next up will be the Sharks against Western Province in Durban - with the Sharks already ensured of first place and home ground advantage in the play-offs.

If the Sharks win, second place (and home ground advantage in the semifinals) is up for grabs. Victory for WP will secure the second spot for the Cape Town outfit.

After that, the Cheetahs and Lions will be in a shootout - with anything from second to fourth place up for grabs.

The Lions mentor, De Bruin, admitted his team will be in for a tough encounter on Saturday.

"We know it is in the home straight now, regardless of what they [the Cheetahs] do [with their team selection]," he said.

Asked if he will be able to use his Springboks, he said he is hopeful to be able to do so.

"They are contracted to us," he said, adding that he will make some phone calls to the players to see who is keen to play.

Obviously, the contracted Springboks are not available, but De Bruin could call on players like Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan and Ross Cronje.

@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26