Preview: Blue Bulls v Griquas

Date published: September 15 2016

The Blue Bulls host Griquas in what promises to be a thrilling Currie Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday.

With the tournament rapidly heading towards its business end, both these teams can ill afford a defeat as they are currently occupying play-off positions in the standings.

Fuelling both team’s motivation to win, the victorious side will finish this round in the top four on the table, which is invaluable given the fact that there are only two pool matches remaining following the weekend’s action – with the Blue Bulls sitting out one of those rounds.

The Blue Bulls are in third place on the table with 20 points from six matches while Griquas are fourth on 19 points from five games.

The home side head into this clash brimming with confidence and will be looking to build on their recent convincing victories against the Pumas and Golden Lions, but they will face tough competition as Griquas come off four back-to-back victories.

The men from Kimberley lost their tournament opener against the Sharks in Durban before beating the Golden Lions, Pumas, Eastern Province Kings and Boland Cavaliers. 

Although the Griquas pipped the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup Qualifiers, the men from Pretoria have won the last five match-ups between them in the Premier Division. The last time Griquas defeated the Blue Bulls in the Premier Division was back in 2012.

This will be the Bulls' last home game of the competition and they are determined to finish on a high in front of their fanatical supporters – as well as their last fixture against Boland Cavaliers in Wellington – so that they can return to Pretoria for a home semi-final.

Meanwhile, Griquas head coach Peter Engledow has made three changes to his run-on side for this clash. All the alterations are amongst his forwards where Mzwanele Zito comes in for Wandile Putuma at lock while, in the front row, Stephan Kotze and Steph Roberts replace Chase Morison and Devon Martinus as the starting props.

The last time these met: Griquas claimed a narrow 39-38 victory when these teams met at Griqua Park in Kimberley during the Currie Cup Qualifying tournament in May.

Prediction: Although Griquas have done well so far this season, the Blue Bulls always seem to rise to the occasion on their home turf. Blue Bulls to win by six points! 

The teams:

Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Nic de Jager, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Jason Jenkins, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Bjorn Basson/Divan Rossouw

Griquas: Griquas: 15 AJ Coertzen (c), 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Johnathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Stephan Kotze , 2 Abraham Le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts 
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Wandile Putuma, 19 Jonathan Adendorf, 20 Renier Botha, 21 Andre Swart, 22 Eric Zana

Date: Friday, September 16
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19:00 local (17:00 GMT)
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Johan Greeff