Currie Cup, Round Eight - Teams and Predictions
NORTH-SOUTH DERBY: Three big games are scheduled for the weekend, including a North/South derby at Newlands in Cape Town, as the teams in action jostle for position in the build-up to the semifinals.
This weekend’s matches are replays of the first-round matches, when the Pumas, Western Province and Sharks started the season with convincing victories.
The Lions, Bulls and Griquas will be looking to turn the tables, while the Cheetahs have a bye.
SA Rugby also announced a decision on points allocation for the cancelled match between the Lions and the Cheetahs.
The score will be recorded as 0-0 and both teams will be awarded four log points, which means both sides are now on 14 points with six matches to go before the semifinals.
We take a closer look at Round Eight’s matches below!
Friday, July 30:
Lions v Pumas
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg – Kick-off: 16.45; 14.45 GMT)
The Pumas had the best possible start to the competition when they smashed the Lions 39-10 in Nelspruit, bagging five log points in the process and scoring five tries against the Pride from Jozi.
The Lions never really recovered from that defeat and are in last place on the log, but Ivan van Rooyen’s men will realise the importance of turning the ship around – and that it starts at Ellis Park on Friday.
The Lions are coming off a 21-40 defeat to the Bulls in Pretoria in Round Seven and Van Rooyen knows that discipline was a big problem for his team in that game.
“At one stage we gave away a couple of double penalties. We give away a penalty in their half, they [Bulls] get the set-piece and play and get a penalty again and then you are defending on your own line again,” said Van Rooyen.
“We will go have a look at our discipline in terms of rucks. Some of them we agreed with, some of them I think might have been a little bit tough.”
Van Rooyen also wants his team to use the ball better.
“We used the ball cheaply sometimes by going for the miracle offload instead of keeping the ball and building pressure.
“Individually we work so hard and defend so proudly and then after one lapse there are seven points against you,” the coach added.
Meanwhile, with the Lions in last place on 14 points and the Pumas in fifth on 15 points, Pumas head coach Jimmy Stonehouse knows that this game will have some added importance.
“Both teams need a win. Both teams are coming off a loss,” said Stonehouse.
“They are a quality side. If you look at the players they picked and if you look at that bench, it’s amazing to have a squad like they have.”
The Pumas will be without some key forwards for Friday’s clash
“Props Corne Fourie, Morgan Naude, Marne Coetzee and Justin Forwood are out and then last week against Western Province we lost three of our starting forwards – two locks Darrien Landsberg and Brandon Valentyn and also [loose forward] Franna Kleinhans, so we got some problems,” Stonehouse added.
“I know they will target us in set-pieces because I think they have the best scrum in South Africa. We still think we got a quality scrum even though our props are out.”
Last 10 Currie Cup encounters
2011: Lions won 34-20, Nelspruit
2014: Lions won 29-15, Johannesburg
2015: Lions won 44-27, Johannesburg
2015: Lions won 41-11, Nelspruit
2016: Lions won 68-26, Johannesburg
2017: Pumas won 43-36, Nelspruit
2018: Lions won 33-21, Nelspruit
2019: Lions won 38-37, Johannesburg
2021: Lions won 33-25, Nelspruit
2021: Pumas won 39-10, Nelspruit
@rugby365com: Lions by seven points.
Lions: 15 Wandisile Simelane, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Francke Horn (captain), 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 FP Pelser, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Stean Pienaar.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sebastián de Klerk, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Matt More, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Khwezi Mafu, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Pieter van Vuuren (captain), 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Dewald Maritz.
Replacements: 16 Eduan Swart, 17 Ruan Kramer, 18 Etienne Janeke, 19 Kwanda Dimaza, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Chriswill September, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Jade Stighling.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Local appointments
TMO: Aimee Barrett-Theron
Western Province v Bulls
(Newlands Stadium, Cape Town – Kick-off: 19.00; 17.00 GMT)
Currie Cup action returns to Newlands in Cape Town, where Western Province host the Bulls after the decision to play all three Tests in the Lions Series at Cape Town Stadium.
The Capetonians were on fire against the men in blue in the opening round in Pretoria, where the hosts were depleted due to the Rainbow Cup Final, but they still managed to score four tries for a bonus point.
Unfortunately for the hosts on that day, Western Province scored six tries, with young hooker JJ Kotze bagging four by himself on Currie Cup debut in the hooped jersey.
Evan Roos also scored a try for the Capetonians and he has been on fire since, and will definitely be one of the danger-men identified by the Bulls before this match.
However, with the Bulls having several stars available for this match, Western Province head coach John Dobson knows that his team will be facing a different beast on Friday.
— WP RUGBY (@WP_RUGBY) July 29, 2021
“The Bulls defend differently to a couple of other teams in South Africa,” said Dobson. “Their defence is really good they got good line integrity. It is not really in your face, so that is something we got to get used to.
“We haven’t managed to break down their defence properly in the last few games.
“We are well aware of our need to match them up front. If they get into our 22, those mauls and pick and goes are really good.
“We know about their threats. We got some plans around their kicking game and we see that as an opportunity for us.”
Meanwhile, Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said his team is excited to be playing at Newlands again.
“Last time we said we are going to be the last team to beat Province at Newlands and then it wasn’t,” said White. “Then Covid came, and it was the second-last time at Newlands. Who knows, maybe the Currie Cup Final is at Newlands again.
“It’s important. It’s the second-oldest rugby ground in the world. Some unbelievable players have played there and some unbelievable games have taken place there and we all want to be part of that. We want to make sure we have some part in the history of Newlands.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to play at a rugby ground that has massive amounts of history and in a way we have an opportunity to write a little bit more history there.”
White said Newlands has a much better playing surface than Cape Town Stadium.
“There is a massive difference between playing at Cape Town Stadium and Newlands.
“The grass is different and one is a football field and one is a rugby field.
“We enjoy our outings at Cape Town Stadium, but it is a different stadium. Not so much the crowd, but just the underfoot slipping and sliding, which is probably a leveller.
“Newlands was made for rugby,” White explained.
Last 10 Currie Cup outings
2015: WP won 23-18, Pretoria
2016: Bulls won 45-26, Pretoria
2016: Bulls won 36-30, Pretoria
2017: WP won 45-34, Cape Town
2017: WP won 46-45, Pretoria
2018: WP won 34-7, Pretoria
2018: WP won 35-32, Cape Town
2019: WP won 20-5, Cape Town
2020: Bulls won 22-20, Cape Town
2021: WP won 48-24, Pretoria
@rugby365com: Bulls by five points.
Western Province: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 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 Neethling Fouché, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Leon Lyons.
Replacements – from: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Deon Fourie, 20 Simon Miller, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Chris Schreuder 23 Rikus Pretorius, 24 Warrick Gelant, 25 Marcel Theunissen.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Richard Kriel, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Sibongile Novuka.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Local appointments
TMO: Rasta Rasivhenge
Saturday, July 31:
Sharks v Griquas
(Kings Park, Durban – Kick-off: 14.30; 12.30 GMT)
Griquas, currently in third spot on the log, have the unenviable task of facing the table-topping Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday.
The Durbanites have missed out on playing a number of games, but showed their class in their last encounter when they beat the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
They will be hoping to repeat their 30-16 first-round victory over the men from the Northern Cape, when Boeta Chamberlain slotted a drop-goal, the only one of the entire first half of the Currie Cup.
Sharks prop Ntuthuko Mchunu warns that their opponents are going to be tough.
“It’s been a good week’s preparation,” he explained in the lead-up to the match.
“We took a lot of confidence out of the win over the Cheetahs, although we are brushing up for this weekend’s game and cleaning up a few things.”
Of the opposition, he acknowledged that they will have a real fight on their hands if they want to do the double against the side from Kimberley after their first-round win in June.
“They’re a difficult bunch, they play with a lot of pride and they have a lot of experience in their squad.
“We’re looking forward to a massive battle up front, we know they’re going to take us on, especially at scrum time and the line-out maul.
“They’ve had a very good campaign so far, they’re in the top three and currently on a roll after putting down two of the big teams [Lions and Western Province] which will be a big, big confidence booster for them.”
Last 10 Currie Cup outings
2013: Sharks won 25-24, Kimberley
2014: Sharks won 31-24, Kimberley
2014: Griquas won 21-18, Durban
2015: Sharks won 45-20, Kimberley
2016: Sharks won 46-24, Durban
2017: Sharks won 41-3, Durban
2018: Sharks won 41-11, Kimberley
2019: Griquas won 37-13, Durban
2020: Sharks won 47-19, Durban
2021: Sharks won 30-16, Kimberley
@rugby365com: Sharks by nine points.
Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Werner Kok, 12 Murray Koster, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Mpilo Gumede, 6 James Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Lionel Cronje 23 Jeremy Ward.
Griquas: 15 Ashlon Davids, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Jay-Cee Nel, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruan Steenkamp (captain), 7 Sibabalo Qoma, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Janu Botha, 2 Janco Uys, 1 Mox Mxoli.
Replacements – from: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Andrew Kuhn, 18 Andries Schutte, 19 Cameron Lindsay, 20 Hanru Sirgel, 21 Raegan Oranje, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Ederies Arendse, 24 Tijde Visser, 25 Luyolo Dapula, 26 Theo Boshoff.
Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron
Assistant Referees: Kelsey Symons, Zukile Madikizela
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen