Preview: Currie Cup, Round Six

Date published: September 12 2014

The Currie Cup action continues and there's still plenty at stake for all the teams in the competition.

The Currie Cup action continues and there's still plenty at stake for all the teams in the competition.

Last year's runners-up Western Province have opened a five-point gap at the top of the table and face the Golden Lions in Johannesburg in the marquee match of the round.

Elsewhere, the Cheetahs take on the defending champions, the Sharks, in Bloemfontein while Griquas host the tournament's surprise package, the Pumas in Kimberley.

Saturday, 13 September– Kick-off: Local (GMT)
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks – 15h00 (13h00)
Griquas v Pumas – 15h00 (13h00)
Golden Lions v Western Province – 17h05 (15h05)

1. Western Province 23
2. Pumas 18
3. Golden Lions 15
4. Sharks 14
5. Free State Cheetahs 12
6. Blue Bulls 9
7. Griquas 7
8. Eastern Province Kings 1


Free State Cheetahs v Sharks
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Both these sides are eager to return to their winning ways after suffering humiliating home defeats last weekend. The Cheetahs were comprehensively outplayed before going down 31-17 to the Pumas and the Sharks took a 21-18 drubbing from Griquas.

The home side have been been very inconsistent this season and judging from their previous matches it's difficult to predict how they will fare in this game.

In the corresponding fixture, in Durban in Round Three, Torsten van Jaarsveld and his side led for most of the game before a late Fred Zeilinga penalty secured victory for the Sharks.

New coach Rory Duncan has chopped and changed his run-on side on several occasions which hasn't helped in terms of continuity and consistency regarding results.

Duncan, who has once again rung the changes, believes some of his personell switches have the potential to make a huge impact this weekend.

The Sharks also lost to the Pumas before the defeat to Griquas and are in fourth spot on the table, while the Cheetahs are in fifth place, two points adrift.

“The Sharks' current lack of form and their two losses is positive in the sense that we can use their lack of momentum against them, and in the process better our position,” said Duncan.

“On the other hand, it can also be negative for us, because it will motivate them more. I know the Sharks, as I have played there myself. Brad McLeod-Henderson will be pushing his guys to collect a win against us.”

The Sharks have also made several alterations to their starting line-up and are desperate to return to the victory trail. McLeod-Henderson acknowledged that his side had not performed well over the last couple of weeks, and they are determined to rectify that this weekend.

“We want to get back to winning ways, there is no doubt about that,” he said.

“We have worked hard in the build up to the game and hopefully we will produce a good performance.

“We know it is going to be very tough against the Cheetahs. They are always physical at home. And they have a guy like Sarel Pretorius at scrumhalf. He is a game breaker and we will have to watch him very carefully.”

Prediction: This should be a close encounter but the visitors have more experience which will prove decisive in the end. Sharks to win by five points!

The teams:

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Rayno Benjamin, 14 Maphutha Dolo, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 JP du Plessis, 10 Willie Du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Pieter Labuschagne, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 George Marich, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Rudolph Botha, 18 Werner Lourens, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 AJ Coertzen.

Sharks: 15 Tim Swiel, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 S'bura Sithole, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Conrad Hoffmann 8 Tera Mtembu, (c), 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Marco Wentzel, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Johan Meyer, 19 Khaya Majola, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 SP Marais.

Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: JJ Wagner

Griquas v Pumas
GWK Park, Kimberley

These two sides might be the least glamorous sides in the competition but they head into this clash brimming with confidence.

Griquas secured their first win of the season in thrilling fashion over the Sharks in Durban last weekend and the Pumas are sitting pretty in second spot on the table with four out of five wins so far this season.

The home side's coach Hawies Fourie has kept faith with the same matchday 22 which secured their win over the Sharks, but knows his side have to work hard if they want to win their first game in Kimberley.

“I must admit that it is nice to select a team when there are no new injuries. We have gotten much momentum from beating the Sharks and the focus this week has been to retain that for the match up against the Pumas,” Fourie said.

“We know that it is going to be very tough and Kimberley is yet to be a happy hunting ground for us this year.”

The Pumas suffered a blow in the build-up to this game with the news that scrum-half Dylon Frylinck has been ruled out of this clash through injury.

Reynier van Rooyen will wear the number nine jersey and there was further bad news for the Nelspruit-based outfit when it was revealed that Faf de Klerk, who was a revelation for the Lions during the Super Rugby season, had been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Pumas captain Corne Steenkamp said the team's good run of form had instilled the belief in the players that the team could make the semi-finals.

“The guys are really positive,” he said.

“The morale is good and they know we can reach the semis – it is a carrot in front of our noses.”

Prediction: The Pumas' superb run is set to continue and they will have too much firepower for their hosts. Pumas to win by seven points!

The teams:

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Francois Brummer (c), 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Carel Greeff, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Burger Schoeman, 20 RJ Liebenberg, 21 Abrie Griesel, 22 Dean Grant.

Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corne Steenkamp (c), 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie.