Preview: WP v Blue Bulls

Date published: September 17 2015

It will be the clash of the Currie Cup titans when Western Province host the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Friday.

As the tournament's two most successful teams, matches between these two sides always generate huge interest but there will be plenty of sub plots at play which should make for an entertaining clash tis weekend.

The visitors will be keen to return to their winning ways after they suffered a setback last weekend when they went down 36-28 to the Golden Lions in Pretoria. 

That was their first defeat of the campaign and the result allowed WP to close the gap on them on the table, after the men from the Cape claimed a 37-27 victory over the Sharks in Durban.

The Bulls are currently in second position on the table with 25 points while WP are five points adrift in third spot.

WP head in to this encounter full of confidence as they have secured bonus point wins in their last two fixtures – against the Sharks and Griquas in Round Five.

The defending champions have a score to settle with their visitors who secured a 47-29 win in Pretoria in the corresponding fixture in Round Three.

The Bulls surprised WP with their expansive style in that clash which saw them scoring five tries and WP coach John Dobson knows his side will have to be at their best to reverse that result.

“They ‘out-Provinced’ us last time out, but, in truth, we were well beaten," he said. 

"It’s always a challenge facing a form team like the Blue Bulls, but we have a bit of momentum back in our game ahead of such a big challenge against a form Bulls side.

“It’s always great being back at Newlands – especially for a North-South Derby – and we’re looking forward to the challenge and having The Faithful behind us once again.”

Despite their loss against the Lions, the Bulls showed plenty of character to come back from a 30-0 deficit after 35 minutes to narrow the gap to five points late in the second half.

The Lions might have won that encounter but the Bulls finished stronger and will be keen to build on that finish against WP.

Prediction: This should be the match of the weekend as both teams will be highly motivated to clinch the result. Home ground advantage swings things in WP's favour though. WP to win by five points!

The teams:

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom (c), 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff. 
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Demetri Catrakilis, 22 Kobus van Wyk

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 7 Roelof Smit, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jan Serfontein.

Date: Friday, September 18
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Lourens van der Merwe
Television match official: Marius Jonker