Fri 23 Jul 2021 | 04:32

Currie Cup, Round Seven - Teams and Predictions

Currie Cup, Round Seven - Teams and Predictions
Fri 23 Jul 2021 | 04:32
Currie Cup, Round Seven - Teams and Predictions
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TOP SPOT: It’s tough at the top.

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And that saying is so true for the Currie Cup, where Griquas surged to the number one spot on Wednesday but could see it slip away again in the coming days.

The men from the Northern Cape won their second big game on the road when they beat a 14-man Lions side in Johannesburg, but they are not in action this weekend and a number of teams will have their eyes on the top spot on the log.

In Wednesday’s other match, the Cheetahs had too much fire-power for Western Province and won their second match on the trot in Bloemfontein, bagging a try-scoring bonus point in the process.

Six teams are in action this weekend, with big matches scheduled to take place in Bloemfontein (Cheetahs v Sharks), Nelspruit (Pumas v WP) and Pretoria (Bulls v Lions).

SA Rugby also announced a decision on points allocation for the cancelled match between the Sharks and Bulls – the score will be recorded as 0-0 and both teams will be awarded four log points each.

The Bulls have also agreed to move their scheduled home fixture against the Sharks on Friday, August 6.

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This means the match will be moved from Loftus Versfeld to Kings Park in Durban after the KZN team have already had three of their home games cancelled this season.

Currie-Cup-standings-round-six

We take a closer look at Wednesday’s games!

Saturday, July 24:

Cheetahs v Sharks
( Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein – – Kick-off: 14.30; 12.30 GMT)

The Cheetahs will be looking to build on the momentum they’ve created with wins in their last two matches when they host the Sharks on Saturday.

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When these two sides met shortly after Christmas last year, also at the Free State Stadium, the Free Staters caused a minor shock as they beat the KwaZulu-Natalians by 37-10, scoring four tries in the process and restricting their visitors to only one.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt made five chances to the team that played the British & Irish Lions last Wednesday for this week’s match.

Curwin Bosch retains the No.10 jersey, while Grant Williams takes over the scrumhalf role from Jaden Hendrikse who was not considered for selection due to suspension.

One of the changes also sees the return of the hugely physical Marius Louw coming in for Murray Koster at centre.

For the Cheetahs, Rosko Specman returns to the starting XV after his stint with the Stormers and his time with the Springboks.

Coach Hawies Fourie made little modifications, with the only one change coming in the pack.

Jacques Potgieter gets a start ahead of Junior Pokomela, who will be providing cover on the bench.

Speaking to the reporters ahead of the match against Sharks, Fourie admitted his team face a huge challenge.

However, he believes they can overcome the Sharks this Saturday.

“The Sharks have a stronger squad than the Western Province,” Fourie said.

He explained: “They have depth and quality in certain positions, while WP handed opportunities to young players when they faced us.

“I think this Saturday is going to extremely tough encounter given the short turnaround for us.

“However we are prepared for them, we know how to beat the Sharks and I believe continuity also counts in our favour.”

Last 10 Currie Cup outings

2014: Sharks won 19-16, Durban
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

Prediction

@rugby365com:  Cheetahs to win by 15 points

Teams:

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 David Brits, 12 Siya Masuku, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Jeandre Rudolph, 5 Jean Droste, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Aluluthu Tshakweni
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Zinedine Booysen, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit

Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Werner Kok, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Dylan Richardson, 6 James Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 MJ Majola, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Mpilo Gumede, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Jeremy Ward

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Local appointments
TMO: Paul Mente

*Article continues below…

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Sunday, July 25

Pumas v Western Province
(Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit – Kick-off: 13.00; 11.00 GMT)

Western Province have lost their last two matches and face the tough prospect of travelling to the Lowveld for a clash against a confident Pumas side at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.

In December last year, the Capetonians won at a canter (28-14) at Newlands, with the visitors ruing a high penalty count.

But despite losing their last match in the Currie Cup, the Pumas will be going into this clash with confidence as they are currently near the top of the log.

Sitting pretty in second, the Pumans made five changes to their side who suffered a defeat to the Cheetahs on Wednesday.

There is only one change in the pack with Darrien Landsberg replacing Brandon Valentyn at lock.

The other changes are all in the backline.

At fullback, Gerrie Gerrie Labuschagne makes his Pumas debut. Labuschagne replaces the in form Devon Williams, who moves to the bench.

Out wide Jade Stingling moves from the left to right wing.

Etienne Taljaard will don the No.11 jersey.

Neil Marais comes in flyhalf, replacing Eddie Fouche.

Meanwhile, Province received a much-needed boost with the return of Springbok Scarra Ntubeni.

Fronting the media ahead of Sunday’s clash, WP forwards coach Rito Hlungwani admitted the Pumas kicking game is a major challenge.

“The Pumas are a very well-coached side,” Hlungwani said

“They play with passion.

“They have a tough pack and are very confrontational in front.

“We know they are going to bring a mauling challenge.

“But they also have an amazing back three, while their kicking game is just as impressive.”

Last 10 Currie Cup outings

2010: WP won 62-10, Nelspruit
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

Prediction

@rugby365com:  Pumas by five  points

Teams: 

Pumas: 15 Gerrie Labuschagne, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Matt More, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Neil Marais, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Franna Kleinhans, 5 Pieter van Vuuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 IG Prinsloo, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Dewald Maritz.
Replacements: 16 Eduan Swart, 17 Ruan Kramer, 18 Etienne Janeke, 19 Brandon Valentyn, 20 Kwanda Dimaza, 21 Devon Williams, 22 Eddie Fouche, 23 Sebastián de Klerk

Western Province: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Tristan Leyds, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Chris Schreuder, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Leon Lyons
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Simon Miller, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Leolin Zas, 24 JJ Kotze, 25 Cornel Smit, 26 Sacha Mngomezulu

Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Referees: Local appointments
TMO: Stuart Berry

Bulls v Lions
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria – Kick-off: 15.15; 13.15 GMT)

 

The final match of the weekend is a Jukskei Derby at Loftus Versfeld where the Bulls and Lions will be going all out to stay in touch with the top four.

The men from Johannesburg will be hurting when they travel north after losing to Griquas on Wednesday, while the Bulls will take some form into the match after they beat the SA ‘A’ team in Cape Town last weekend.

The last time they met in the Currie Cup was in the 2020 semifinals, where the Bulls beat their neighbours by 26-21 to progress to the final, which they won a week later in Pretoria.

The Bulls will field a very strong team against the Lions with the likes of Lionel Mapoe making his first appearance against his former side.

The other talking point is the start of Johan Goosen, who will make his official debut for the Bulls in the Currie Cup with a starting berth in the No10 jersey.

“We are looking forward to getting back to action in the Currie Cup,” Bulls director of rugby Jake White said, adding: “Especially against a quality outfit such as the Lions – a team that always pitches up to produce an enthralling Jukskei derby.

“Of course, to be able to select players like Lionel Mapoe and Johan Goosen, whom we have no doubt will add value top this team, is something we particularly look forward to.

He added: ” We can surely expect nothing less than a superb battle between two determined sides on Sunday.”

Last 10 Currie Cup outings

2013: Lions won 35-26, Johannesburg
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

Prediction

@rugby365com: Bulls by 15 points

Teams:

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 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Sibongile Novuka, 24 Jan-Hendrik Wessel, 25 Ruan Delport, 26 Johan Mulder, 27 FC du Plessis

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 Roelof Smit, 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 Sibusiso Sangweni, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Stean Pienaar

Referee: Paul Mente
Assistant Referees: Local appointments
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen

 

PV: 29
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