Currie Cup, Round 11 - Teams and Predictions
KEY CLASHES: It’s another short turnaround for some teams as the race to the Currie Cup play-offs is well and truly on.
It’s especially short for the Bulls and Lions after their games on Wednesday when they clash in a Jukskei Derby in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The two other matches in Round 11 are scheduled for Sunday.
The Sharks host the Cheetahs in Durban, and the Pumas travel to Cape Town to face Western Province.
Griquas have a bye.
We take a closer look at all Round 11’s matches!
Saturday, August 14:
Lions v Bulls
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg – Kick-off: 13.30; 11.30 GMT)
The Lions face a tough task as they will come up against the current pace-setters and Currie Cup defending champions, the Bulls, in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The men from Joburg come off two high-scoring matches – a big win in Kimberley and a draw in Bloemfontein – and will back their attack against their neighbours.
However, the Bulls have their confidence back after defeat to the Sharks a few weeks ago and will be looking to emulate their seventh-round 40-21 victory over the Lions.
With the Lions sitting in fifth place in the standings, Bull Director of Rugby Jake White knows that his opponents will be desperate for points.
“If you look at where they are on the log and what points they need in terms of making the play-offs then there is no doubt that they are going to try and score as many tries as they can,” said White.
“We always seem to struggle at Ellis Park. It’s one of those games where we have to be on song.
“If our players are aware of what challenges we are going to get then we will be ok.
“They [Lions] need points. They started badly and they need to win a couple of games.
“They have got nothing to lose on the bases that if they don’t win, they are not going to make the play-offs.”
Last 10 Currie Cup matches
2014: Lions won 41-13, Johannesburg
2014: Bulls won 36-26, Pretoria
2015: Lions won 36-28, Pretoria
2016: Bulls won 31-17, Pretoria
2017: Bulls won 54-22, Pretoria
2017: Lions won 36-33, Johannesburg
2018: Lions won 38-35, Pretoria
2019: Bulls won 31-26, Johannesburg
2020: Bulls won 26-21, Pretoria
2021: Bulls won 40-21, Pretoria
@rugby365com: Bulls by three points.
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Travis Gordon, 7 Sibusiso Sangweni, 6 Mark Snyman, 5 Ruben Schoeman, 4 PJ Steenkamp, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Oupa Mthiyane, 20 MJ Pelser, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Manuel Rass.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Keagan Johannes, 8 WJ Steenkamp, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Arno Botha (captain), 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements – from: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Stedman Gans, 24 Joe van Zyl, 25 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 26 Cornal Hendricks, 27 Stravino Jacobs.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Local appointment
TMO: Quinton Immelman
Sunday, August 15:
Sharks v Cheetahs
(Kings Park, Durban – Kick-off: 13.30; 11.30 GMT)
Sunday’s first match is in Durban, where the Sharks take on the Cheetahs in a match that will be important for both teams.
Victory for the KwaZulu-Natalians will mean they remain in the race to finish in the top two on the log, while the Free Staters need the result to keep alive their play-off hopes and move away from the bottom of the log.
Cheetahs head coach Hawies Fourie has made several changes to his team following their thrilling 44-all draw with the Lions in midweek.
“We decided in advance that we are going to rotate for the Sharks,” said Fourie. “It is in the middle of six games in 20 days.
“All the players knew about the plan and who was going to start against the Sharks.
“We prepared as well as we could with the guys that didn’t play against the Lions – just to use that little time for training a bit better.”
One of the more noteworthy changes will see Robert Ebersohn making his comeback off the bench.
Ebersohn will feature in the Cheetahs’ matchday squad for the first time since his return from France – where he played almost 100 games for Montpellier (2013 to 2016) and Castres (2016 to 2021).
“Robert comes with a lot of experience,” said Cheetahs captain Tian Meyer.
“He is calm and very clear on what he likes.
“He gives advice and he really helps the guys.
“We got a lot of youngsters in the team. They are all training really hard and I think everyone working together makes the job [captaincy] easier.”
Last 10 Currie Cup matches
2014: Sharks and Cheetahs drew 30-all, Bloemfontein
2015: Sharks and Cheetahs drew 34-all, Bloemfontein
2016: Cheetahs won 38-30, Durban
2017: Cheetahs won 47-12, Bloemfontein
2017: Sharks won 45-15, Durban
2018: Sharks won 33-29, Bloemfontein
2019: Sharks won 27-20, Durban
2019: Cheetahs won 51-30, Bloemfontein
2020: Cheetahs won 37-10, Bloemfontein
2021: Sharks won 47-30, Bloemfontein
@rugby365com: Sharks by five points.
Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Henco Venter (captain), 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Emile van Heerden, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Khwezi Mona
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jeandre Labuschagne, 20 James Venter, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Yaw Penxe
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Mihlali Mosi, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Reinier Viljoen, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Brandon de Kock, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Robert Ebersohn.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Local appointments
TMO: Egon Seconds
Western Province v Pumas
(Newlands Stadium, Cape Town – Kick-off: 16.00, 14.00 GMT)
The final match of the weekend, on Sunday in Cape Town, also promises to be a humdinger as the Pumas take on Western Province.
The Lowvelders are clinging to fourth spot on the log and if they hope to make it to the semifinals, a win at Newlands will go a long way in ensuring they remain in the top four.
But the Capetonians – currently sixth on the log, two points behind their opponents this weekend – will be desperate to repeat their Round Seven win in Nelspruit to move up in the standings as the competition moves towards the business end.
Western Province head coach John Dobson is expecting a physical game from the Pumas.
“They are a physical team – there maul is very good, so we expect that to be a big part of their game,” said Dobson.
“Eddie Fouche and Devon Williams bring a good kicking game, which could put us under pressure.
“We not expecting them to try and run us off our feet. I think this is going to be more direct.”
Dobson believes the inclusion of Warrick Gelant at fullback will bring another attacking edge to their game.
“One of the things we try to vary in our attack is our ability to play direct as well as playing wide.
“I think we have been struggling with Sergeal [Petersen] being a stopgap fullback. If you only got one first receiver, it does make your attack a bit more predictable.
“To have Warrick back allows us to attack both sides. I think we got to try and blend it,” Dobson added.
Last 10 Currie Cup matches
2011: WP won 24-13, Witbank
2011: WP won 43-18, Cape Town
2014: WP won 37-23, Nelspruit
2015: WP won 50-19, Cape Town
2016: WP won 31-23, Cape Town
2017: WP won 34-19, Cape Town
2017: Pumas win 22-12, Nelspruit
2018: WP won 57-28, Nelspruit
2019: WP won 45-14, Cape Town
2020: WP won 28-14, Cape Town
2021: WP won 37-23, Nelspruit
@ruby365com: Western Province by 15 points.
Western Province: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Leon Lyons.
Replacements – from: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Rikus Pretorius, 23 Tristan Leyds, 24 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 25 De Wet Marais.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sebastián de Klerk, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Matt More, 11 Ettiene Taljaard, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Pieter van Vuuren, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 IG Prinsloo, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Etienne Janeke.
Replacements: 16 Eduan Swart, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Marne Coetzee, 19 Kwanda Dimaza, 20 Khwezi Mafu, 21 Chriswill September, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Tapiwa Mafura.
Referee: Griffin Colby
Assistant Referees: Local
TMO: Quinton Immelman