Currie Cup Rugby Preview Week 4

The Blue Bulls and Free State Cheetahs have tough home games in the Currie Cup on Saturday as they look to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing defeats.

On Friday evening, The Sharks face a tricky encounter against a resurgent Griquas side in Kimberley – at the same venue where the defending champions started their 2010 campaign with a loss last season.

Also on Friday, the Leopards host the Pumas in Potchefstroom. Both these sides are still looking for their first victory of the season.

Leopards vs Pumas

Even though they’ve lost all three their Currie Cup Premier Division matches to date, the Pumas are higher on the log than the Blue Bulls, by virtue of a better points’ difference.

And after having come very close to victory in all three their previous matches, the Pumas will be anxious to get that first win of the season on the board.

Last year they won both games against the Leopards, which could point to the team from Mpumalanga being favourites for this match, but they will be mindful of the North Westerners’ performance in Johannesburg last week.

The Leopards might have been on the wrong side of the stick in their first two Currie Cup games in 2011, but at Coca-Cola Park they played much better, and with 10 minutes to go were still drawn on the score board with the Golden Lions.

“Yes, the Leopards were not great in their first two games, but against the Golden Lions last week they really played very well and will be ready for us with their tails up, ” said Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse.

“We were disappointed with our first half performance against Griquas last week, but came back strongly in the second half and that’s what I’d like to see in Potch this weekend. We have not shifted our focus at all and still believe we can win if we’re at our best and we do what we’re supposed to for the full 80 minutes. “

Leopards vs Pumas
Date: Friday, 5 August
Kick-off: 19:00
Venue: Profert Olen Park, Potchefstroom
Referee: Lourens vd Merwe
Last year in Currie Cup:
– 17 July: Pumas won 37-32 in Witbank
– 3 September: Pumas won 27-26 in Potchefstroom

Griquas vs The Sharks

Last year The Sharks came up short in Kimberley in their opening Currie Cup fixture, but this time around they have built up momentum thanks to three good victories thus far.

Griquas have also not enjoyed the best start to the season, winning their first game last weekend in Nelspruit against the Pumas after a draw at Newlands and a big defeat at Coca-Cola Park.

“We’re very happy with the result in Nelspruit, but obviously we wouldn’t have minded a better second half performance. Having said that, the victory gave us huge confidence, ” said Griquas coach Abre Minnie.

“But The Sharks will also come to Kimberley very confident – they’ve won three games and John Plumtree has opted to put his returning Boks on the bench. I think that’s a good move, as they have momentum and would like to keep it. The Sharks are definitely riding the crest of the wave at the moment. “

After Park’s lights were fixed up for the FIFA World Cup last year, this will be the first Friday night Currie Cup match in Kimberley in a few years.

“We’re certainly looking forward to it. Last Friday we saw a higher intensity in the Pumas game, almost as if the players had more energy. Hopefully we’ll play with the same vigour this week, ” said Minnie.

Griquas vs The Sharks
Date: Friday, 5 August
Kick-off: 19:10
Venue: Park, Kimberley
Referee: Pro Legoete
Last year in Currie Cup:
– 10 July: Griquas won 40-34 in Kimberley
– 27 August: The Sharks won 48-30 in Durban

Free State Cheetahs vs Western Province

After two consecutive defeats, the Free State Cheetahs are with their backs to the wall when they host high-flying

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