PREVIEW: Golden Lions v Griquas
CURRIE CUP SEMIFINAL: The match in Johannesburg will mark the second week in a row the Golden Lions and Griquas meet after they crossed paths in the final round in Kimberley last week.
Judging by last week’s close result – the Lions won 27-26 – it is expected to be a cracker of a match.
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The last time Griquas played in the Currie Cup Final was back in 1970 and they won that match 11-9 against the Blue Bulls (then known as Northern Transvaal), and that is expected to be a huge motivational force for the team going into the clash.
The home side, meanwhile, will be hunting their first final appearance since 2015. To do that, the men from Joburg will have to overturn their home-ground odds.
The Golden Lions have won only one of their three games at Ellis Park this season, which will motivate them to put up a good show in front of their home crowd, but Griquas will have enough motivation of their own as their last Currie Cup victory in Johannesburg in 2012.
Adding to this, the margins between the teams on attack and defence this season have been small, with the Gauteng outfit having scored only two tries more and conceding two points fewer in the pool stages, which points to an epic clash.
The Lions named an identical matchday squad to last week for the clash, while Griquas made three personnel changes to their starting team with Khwezi Mona (prop), Zandre Jordaan (No.8) and Christiaan Meyer (scrumhalf) taking over from Mox Mxoli, Neill Jordaan and Chriswill September, who have all been named among the replacements.
The match will mark special milestones in the careers of Golden Lions captain and scrumhalf Ross Cronje, and Marnus Schoeman (flank), as both will earn their 70th Currie Cup caps.
Golden Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen is expecting another tough encounter.
“A week is a long time and I think they will come with one or two things up their sleeves,” said Van Rooyen.
“They will come with plan, so I think it is that balance between playing what you see and sticking to your plan – it is the same for us.
“It is almost weird playing a team two weekends in a row.”
2019: Golden Lions won 27-26, Kimberley
2018: Golden Lions won 62-41, Johannesburg
2017: Golden Lions won 34-17, Kimberley
2017: Golden Lions won 48-43, Johannesburg
2016: Griquas won 30-24, Kimberley
Prediction: Golden Lions
Golden Lions: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Duncan Matthews, 11 Stean Pienaar, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (captain), 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jan-Louis la Grange, 23 Jamba Ulengo.
Griquas: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Zandre Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Nqobisizwe Mxoli, 18 Johan Momsen, 19 Neill Jordaan, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Chris Smit, 22 Bjorn Basson, 23 Ruan Kramer.
Date: Saturday, August 31
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 14.00 (12.00 GMT)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Quinton Immelman
TMO: Christie du Preez