Preview: Currie Cup, Round Two

Date published: August 15 2014

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South Africa's leading provincial sides resume hostilities for the second round of the coveted Currie Cup tournament this weekend.

South Africa's leading provincial sides resume hostilities for the second round of the coveted Currie Cup tournament this weekend.

Although most enthusiasts' attentions will be focused on Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria – where the Springboks host los Pumas in their Rugby Championship opener – the Currie Cup will also provide plenty of entertainment.

In Cape Town, 2013's runners-up, Western Province host their old enemy, the Blue Bulls in what promises to be a thrilling affair between the tournament's two most successful unions.

Elsewhere, the Golden Lions host the EP Kings in Johannesburg and the Free State Cheetahs take on the Pumas in Bloemfontein in the weekend's final match.

All three matches will be played before the Test in Pretoria and kick off within half an hour of each other.

Fixtures:

Saturday, 16 August– Kick-off: Local (GMT)
Western Province v Blue Bulls – 14h00 (12h00)
Golden Lions v Eastern Province Kings – 14h30 (12h30)
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas – 15h00 (13h00)

Standings:
1. Golden Lions 5
2. Western Province 5
3. Sharks 4
4. Pumas 4
5. Griquas 1
6. Free State Cheetahs 1
7. Eastern Province Kings 0
8. Blue Bulls 0


Previews:

Western Province v Blue Bulls
Newlands Stadium, Cape Town

They might have registered contrasting results in their opening fixtures but there will be plenty of excitement from their respective supporters as matches between these sides are seldom dull affairs.

After their away win over the EP Kings last weekend, WP coach Allister Coetzee and his charges will be brimming with confidence as they head into this clash against their traditional rivals who suffered a humiliating 41-13 defeat against the Golden Lions in their opener.

The men from the Cape delivered a polished display in Port Elizabeth and will fancy their chances against their visitors. WP have plenty of flair aomngst their backs with players like captain Juan de Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla in the starting XV, but they also have a solid pack where the likes of Pat Cilliers and Manuel Carizza are expected to take the lead.

The Bulls are under presure after their poor performance against the Lions. Despite that result, coach Frans Ludeke hasn't panicked – making only two changes to his run-on side and he believes his charges can bounce back against Province.

“We definitely believe we are on the right track,” he said.

“We need to look at ways to attack with more width and be smart within that to still keep the ball,” Ludeke said at the team announcement in Pretoria on Wednesday.

“We still believe we've got great continuity in the players to perform and to do well in the Currie Cup and to be there when it matters at the end.

“That was a great test and a great contest for us. We came second but we took a lot from that and we'll definitely be stronger this weekend playing against Province.”

Prediction:The hosts will head into this clash as favourites but despite that tag, they can expect a tough encounter. They will, however still come out on top. WP to win by eight points!

The teams:

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (capt), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Jaco Taute.

Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Marcel van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus Van Wyk, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Quinton Immelman
Television match official: Jason Jaftha


Golden Lions v Eastern Province Kings
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

The Lions will be expected to continue where they left off against the Bulls, when they host the tournament newbies, but they can expect the Kings to put up a brave fight.

The home side's dominant performance came at a cost last weekend when their Springbok fly-half Marnitz Boshoff suffered a broken arm and all eyes will be on his replacement, Jaco van der Walt.

Lions boss Johan Ackermann is not getting carried away and expects the young pivot to do well.

“This is an opportunity for Jaco van der Walt to get that exposure sooner than we had in mind but it is now time for him to grab that jersey and make it his,” he said.

“He is a good kid, he's got the pedigree, what helped him was the fact that he didn't play under-19 rugby last year he jumped straight into under-21 rugby. That gave him a lot of confidence and we told him that with Elton Jantjies going he will get exposure at senior level.”

Although the Kings are one of the two new sides in the tournament – along with the Pumas – they will look to target Van der Walt. Although they lost their opening fixture, the Kings were competitive in that match against WP.

Their coach Carlos Spencer hs kept faith by retaining his run-on side from that match. The visitors have been boosted, however, by veteran lock Steven Sykes' inclusion on their bench.

Spencer said Sykes would come off the bench during the match.

“We don't think Steven has had quite enough game time after two to three months off at this stage, but we will definitely use him off the bench.”

Both sides are renowned for their attacking game-plans, which could mean that there will be plenty of end-to-end action and don't be surprised if there is a try-feast.

Prediction:The Lions will take the spoils in this high-scoring affair. Lions to win by 15 points!

The teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Guy Cronje, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Howard Mnisi.

Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Tobie Botes, 8 Luke Watson (capt), 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Cummins, 3 Tom

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