Wed 18 Aug 2021 | 01:29

Currie Cup Round 12 - teams and predictions

Currie Cup Round 12 - teams and predictions
Wed 18 Aug 2021 | 01:29
Currie Cup Round 12 - teams and predictions
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CRUNCH TIME: We are heading into the home stretch of the competition’s league stages and for some teams the word ‘desperation’ is very real.

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The last-placed Cheetahs and equally low-spirited Lions – just ahead of them on the standings – will look to make some big statements this week.

No team is secured in any of the top four positions – even though the Bulls and Sharks are the best-placed.

The Bulls top the standings with 39 points, followed by the Sharks on 35.

The Pumas (27), Griquas (26), Western Province (25), the Lions (24) and Cheetahs (21) are in the chasing pack.

The men from Johannesburg, having played 10 matches, will have to win both their remaining fixtures to be in with a shout of reaching the play-offs.

The other four sides still have three games to go and have some leeway.

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“Wednesday is going to be ‘big’ for everybody,” Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said – speaking of the matches in Nelspruit, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

“We would like to play at home [in the semifinals and a possible Final],” the Bulls boss added.

So, strap yourself in, it is going to be a rough ride.

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We look at all the Round 12 matches!

Wednesday, August 18

Pumas v Bulls
(Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit – Kick-off: 14.30; 12.30 GMT)

Finishing top of the standings and securing home ground advantage is a priority for the Bulls, despite their dominant form this year.

“This is our penultimate match in the round-robin stages,” Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said.

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“It is important that we give it our best shot in the remaining matches,” he added.

Despite their position on the standings and impressive form, the Bulls are aware that winning in Nelspruit is NOT a given.

White said the Pumas team normally consist of players who have not been picked up by bigger unions and get a crack at playing Currie Cup rugby.

“The Pumas seem to keep the 26-year-old or 27-year-old guys a bit longer,” White said, adding: “That is the secret of their success.

“They have a settled coaching staff, who have been there for a long time. They also have some older [more mature] players.”

He admitted that Nelspruit is a difficult place to go play and the Pumas are difficult opposition.

“The Pumas will be a tough competitor, especially at home in Nelspruit.

“They do not occupy the third position on the log by accident.

“They have been strong competitors throughout this campaign.”

Most recent encounters

2014: Bulls won 37-6, Nelspruit
2015: Bulls won 25-24, Nelspruit
2016: Bulls won 41-14, Nelspruit
2017: Pumas won 51-15, Nelspruit
2017: Bulls won 52-32, Pretoria
2018: Bulls won 39-29, Pretoria
2019: Bulls won 25-17, Nelspruit
2021: Pumas won 44-14, Nelspruit
2021: Bulls won 32-27, Pretoria

Prediction

@rugby365com: The Bulls by 15 points

Teams

Pumas: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Sebastián de Klerk, 13 Alwayno Visage, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Khwezi Mafu, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Niel Otto, 5 Pieter van Vuuren (captain), 4 Kwanda Dimaza, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Morgan Naude.
Replacements: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Dewald Maritz, 18 Christo Bezuidenhout, 19 Shane Kirkwood, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Giovan Snyman, 22 Eddie Fouche, 23 Matt More.

Bulls: 15 Sibongile Novuka, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Arno Botha (Captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Mhleli Dlamini, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Lionel Mapoe, 24 Nolan Pienaar, 25 Reinhardt Roets, 26 Joe van Zyl, 27 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 28 Madosh Tambwe.

Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron
Assistant referees: Local appointments
TMO: Egon Seconds

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Cheetahs v Griquas
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 16.45; 14.45 GMT)

Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie admitted the pressure is on them to get off the bottom of the standings, but believes they have a realistic chance of still making the play-offs.

He pointed out that – with three rounds to play – they are just five points off fourth place and six away from the third position.

“It is a very important game, as the winner will impact massively on the loser’s prospects of reaching the play-offs,” Fourie said.

He was happy to embrace the ‘underdogs’ tag and said they thrive under such pressure.

Fourie said, despite the pressure, they won’t go into their shells and will continue with the expansive approach – which has seen them average around 40 points in their last few outings.

“We just have to get rid of those soft moments that have cost us so dearly,” the Cheetahs coach said.

He added that Griquas are one of the better-attacking sides and keep the ball through many phases.

“Apart from their hard-running forwards, they also have game-breakers in the backline,” Fourie said, adding that flying wing Eduan Keyter is one of those big threats.

Scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer and flyhalf George Whitehead are the generals that control the game.

“Sometimes they struggle in the set pieces, so we will try end exert pressure in that area.”

Most recent encounters

2015: Cheetahs won 31-9, Kimberley
2015: Cheetahs won 44-24, Bloemfontein
2016: Cheetahs won 63-26, Bloemfontein
2017: Griquas won 30-25, Bloemfontein
2017: Griquas won 59-24, Kimberley
2018: Griquas won 52-24, Kimberley
2019: Cheetahs won 68-14, Bloemfontein
2021: Cheetahs won 22-18, Kimberley
2021: Griquas won 31-10, Kimberley

Prediction

@rugby365com: Cheetahs by seven points

Teams

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 David Brits, 12 Siya Masuka, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Jean Drosté, 4 Victor Sekekete, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Cameron Dawson.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Reinier Viljoen, 21 Mihlali Mosi, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Chris Smit.

Griquas: 15 Ashlon Davids, 14 Eduan Keyter, 13 Chris Hollis, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruan Steenkamp (captain), 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Adré Smith, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Alandré van Rooyen, 1 Nqobisizwe Mxoli.
Replacements – from: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Andries Schutte, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Luyolo Dapula, 21 Raegan Oranje, 22 André Swarts, 23 Ederies Arendse, 24 Andrew Kuhn, 25 Cameron Lindsay, 26 Fiela Boshoff.

Referee: Griffin Colby
Assistant referees: Local appointments
TMO: Ben Crouse

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Western Province v Lions
(Newlands, Cape Town – Kick-off: 19.00; 17.00 GMT)

Talk of a possible coaching shake-up at Ellis Park is an indication of the space the team is in – in dire need of a revival.

The coaching shake-up is unlikely to happen before the conclusion of the Currie Cup, but the result of a dreadful season.

Western Province coach John Dobson said his team will not be short of motivation, despite being fancied to hand the hapless Lions another hiding.

“They are breathing down our necks,” he said of a table congested by a host of cancelled matches – meaning one more loss could leave either team in a heap of trouble.

Dobson added that the Lions’ backline – should they get any quality possession – poses a big threat to the home team’s defence.

“I know the conditions might not suit their backline,” he said of the cold, wet and windy weather predicted for matchday.

“However, our backs are against the wall,” he said of his teams desperation to make the play-offs.

Dobson said they are already in play-off mode, knowing a loss will be a massive blow.

“This is a must-win game for us.

“The nature of the Lions team has no impact on our motivation.”

He said the Stormers will have to lay the platform for victory by dominating up front.

“We are aware of the threat that backline poses,” he said, adding: “They were pretty impressive against the Bulls at Ellis Park this [past] weekend.

“If we perform to our potential in the forwards, we should be able to dominate and that is very much the plan – especially if it is a wet Newlands.”

Most recent encounters

2015: Lions won 62-32, Johannesburg
2015: Lions won 32-24, Johannesburg
2016: Lions won 58-32, Johannesburg
2017: WP won 39-3, Cape Town
2017: Lions won 29-20, Johannesburg
2017: WP won 19-5, Cape Town
2018: WP won 65-38, Johannesburg
2019: Lions won 30-28, Cape Town
2020: Lions won 22-19, Johannesburg
2021: Lions won 38-32, Johannesburg

Prediction

@rugby365com: Western Province by 18 points

Teams

Western Province: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Dian Bleuler.
Replacements – from: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Nama Xaba, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Cornel Smit, 23 Tristan Leyds, 24 Simon Miller, 25 Chris Schreuder.

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 MJ Pelser, 5 Ruben Schoeman, 4 Peter-John Steenkamp, 3 Chergin Fillies, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Nathan McBeth.
Replacements: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Emmanuel Tshituka, 20 Mandisi Mthiyane, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Manuel Rass.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Local appointments
TMO: Quinton Immelman

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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PV: 34
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