Currie Cup, Round 12 - teams and predictions
FRIDAY PREVIEW: As the battle for Currie Cup semifinal positions hots up, the playoff picture will be a lot clearer after this weekend.
With three rounds of the Currie Cup left before semifinal candidates will be revealed, we take a look at some crucial statistics to see if we can predict which teams will be left standing.
Statistics in rugby always tells its own story, but the momentum in the ebb and flow of a rugby match is a curious beast. It can leave a side in one instant and go flooding through the veins of their previously listless opponents just as quickly.
Taking a look at the tries scored compared to those scored against teams, it becomes clear that the teams currently dominating the top positions, have a good balance between defence and attack in place.
The Pumas have been the top try scoring team in the Currie Cup for a few weeks now, while they have conceded the second least tries against them with 52 tries scored while their try-line has been crossed 29 times.
This is closely followed by the Cheetahs, with 51 tries, and 29 against. The full table of tries for and against is:
Taking a look at the fixtures for this weekend, the chances are that the current top four teams (Cheetahs, Sharks, Pumas, Western Province) will most likely remain in those positions given their respective opponents.
First up are the Griffons, the potential wooden spoon recipient, hosting the Sharks in Welkom on Friday. And while Sharks forwards coach Philip Lemmer has indicated what a threat the Purple People Eaters in Welkom are, the likelihood of them disposing of the Sharks is very minimal.
“The Griffons, in Welkom, are tough. They beat the Bulls there, Province only just won there, so we acknowledge that it is a difficult game for us. It’s important that we do the job well this weekend,” Lemmer said.
The Sharks will aim for a bonus-point win and having won their last five matches, they will mostly likely shoot to the top of the log.
Western Province host the Lions in Athlone, and again, while the men from Johannesburg have their URC players back, their form has been very erratic this season while Province is on a winning streak. Western Province have scored just as many tries (37) as they have conceded while the Lions crossed the whitewash 40 times compared to the 42 tries they have let in.
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Experienced heads Scarra Ntubeni and Juan de Jongh come into the starting line-up for our Friday night Currie Cup clash with Fidelity ADT Lions at Athlone Stadium. #wpjoulekkerding #dhldelivers
📢 Team announcement https://t.co/9ExoDPqHRD pic.twitter.com/JvQDFpQH14
— WP RUGBY (@WP_RUGBY) May 25, 2023
The Capetonians have called on the experience of Siyabonga ‘Scarra’ Ntubeni and Juan de Jongh to strengthen the side, but nevertheless, Western Province are under pressure to maintain their winning streak.
The Lions’ Marius Louw returns as captain at inside centre while Rynhardt Jonker replaces Manuel Rass, a late exclusion due to illness. PJ Botha gets his first start of the campaign at hooker as regular skipper Jaco Visagie is rested. Andries Coetzee wil earn his 50th Currie Cup cap in this encounter.
All Friday’s teams and predictions:
Griffons v Sharks
(Welkom Stadium, Welkom – Kick-off: 15:00; 13:00 GMT)
@rugby365com: Sharks by 25
Griffons: 15 Duan Pretorius, 14 Domenic Smit, 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 12 Jandre de Beer, 11 Randy Fielies, 10 Robbie Petzer, 9 Jaywinn Juries, 8 Sokuphumla Xakalashe, 7 Thomas Ongera, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Michael Benadie, 4 Rian Olivier, 3 Doctor Booysen, 2 Hendrik van Schoor, 1 Xolani Jacobs.
Replacements – from: 16 Dandre Delport, 17 Stephan de Jager, 18 Buhle Nojekwa, 19 Wikus Nieuwenhuis, 20 Curtly Thomas, 21 Thato Mavundla, 22 Keanu Vers, 23 Duren Hoffman, 24 Jared Kruger, 25 Jaco Willemse, 26 Richman Gora, 27 Jamba Ulengo, 28 Ethan Williams, 29 Marquit September, 30 Bennie Human.
Sharks: 15 Nevaldo Fleurs, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Murray Koster, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Marnus Potgieter, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Bradley Davids, 8 Celimpilo Gumede, 7 James Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Reniel Hugo (captain), 4 Ockie Barnard, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Dameon Venter, 1 Dian Bleuler.
Replacements: 16 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Marco de Witt, 20 Vincent Tshituka, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Tiaan Fourie, 23 Aphelele Fassi.
Referee: Christopher Allison
Assistant Referees: Local
TMO: Ben Crouse
Western Province v Lions
(Athlone Stadium, Cape Town – Kick-off: 17:00; 15:00 GMT)
@rugby365com: Western Province by 15
Western Province: 15 Luke Burger, 14 Mnombo Zwelendaba, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Tom Nel, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis (captain), 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Louw Nel, 7 Jarrod Taylor, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Connor Evans, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Corne Weilbach, 19 George van der Westhuizen, 20 Chad Solomon, 21 Thomas Bursey, 22 Jurie Matthee, 23 Lloyd Koster.
Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Boldwin Hansen, 13 Rynhardt Jonker, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 Johannes Pretorius, 5 Darien-Lane Landsberg, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Asenathi Nthlabakanye, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Rhynhardt Runsburger, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Raynard Roets, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Andries Coetzee, 23 Tyler Bocks
Referee: AM Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Local
TMO: Aimee Barrett-Theron