Preview: Free State Cheetahs v WP

Date published: October 3 2014

WP can clinch the top spot on the table if they secure victory against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Western Province can clinch the top spot on the table if they secure victory against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

If they claim a bonus-point win against the Cheetahs and the Lions – who are in second place in the standings – lose their match without securing a bonus-point against the Sharks in Durban then the Cape Town-based outfit will achieve that goal.

They can expect a real battle, however, as the home side are desperate for a win as they are trying to secure a spot in the semi-finals.

After eight matches,WP currently top the standings with 34 points and are four points ahead of the Lions while the Sharks are third five points adrift of the men from Johannesburg.

The Cheetahs are in a three-way fight with the Pumas and Blue Bulls for the final semi-final spot. The Bloemfontein-based side and the Pumas are in fourth and fifth places respectively on 19 points while the Bulls are a point adrift in sixth place.

Last weekend WP became the first side to beat the Pumas in Nelspruit and thanks to that result, will head into this clash brimming with confidence.

But despite the big gap between the teams on the table, WP coach Allister Coetzee expects a tough battle against the Cheetahs.

“The Free State Cheetahs have improved considerably since the start of the Currie Cup season and they play a similar game to the Pumas,” he said.

If you want to win the Currie Cup you need to win away from home – as we did in Nelspruit, despite the various injury disruptions.”

Although Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan acknowledged that a home semi-final is beyond their grasp, he firmly believes his side can still win the Currie Cup.

“Since the start of the competition it was always our focus to win the competition,” he said.

“It may be a tough ask to get a home semi-final, but we still want to be crowned champions and for that reason we are still going out on the pitch and throwing everything we’ve got at our competitors.”

Duncan warned the Cape side should not be underestimated.

“We are well aware of the threat they pose and we’ve focussed on all the areas we thought needed work in our game-plan,” he added.

“We want to win the Currie Cup and if we want to do that we need to start by beating Western Province this weekend.”

Predicition: Although the visitors won’t have things easy will leave Bloemfontein as victors. WP to win by five points!

The teams:

FS Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 JP du Plessis, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lappies Labuschagne, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Werner Lourens, 3 George Marich, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Henco Venter, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 AJ Coertzen.

Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (capt), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Michael van der Spuy.

Date: Saturday, October 4
Kick-off: 14:00 local (12:00 GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Rodney Bonaparte
Television match official: Johan Greeff