Currie Cup Rugby Preview – Week 7

The first round of the Currie Cup Premier Division ends this weekend with a clash between the two top teams on the log when the Golden Lions host The Sharks in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Friday’s two games see the two most successful teams in the history of the Currie Cup, Western Province and the Blue Bulls, face tricky away-encounters against the Pumas in Witbank and the Platinum Leopards in Phokeng respectively.

The fourth game this weekend in the Currie Cup Premier Division is Central South African derby between Griquas and the Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley.

In the First Division, the EP Kings travel down the N2 to George where they will try and hang on to their top position on the log against third-placed SWD Eagles, while the Boland Cavaliers take on the Border Bulldogs in East London.

Pumas vs Western Province

It would take a brave man to be against Western Province when they travel to the Puma Stadium in Witbank to face the Pumas on Friday afternoon, but they will be mindful of slipping against a team stung by a big defeat last weekend.

The Pumas are the only team in the Currie Cup that have not won a game this weekend and while they came close in their first five matches, they were on the wrong end of a big drubbing in Bloemfontein last weekend.

According to Allister Coetzee, head coach of Western Province, they are expecting an open game and will not underestimate the Pumas, despite their big defeat last weekend.

“It will be crazy to underestimate the Pumas, even though they got some points against them last weekend. We need to forget what happened to them against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein and look at their other games. They are still a quality side and have a lot of respect for them,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee has selected Springbok Sevens player Steven Hunt on the wing, in the place of the injured Danie Poolman, and is excited to see what the young Ikey Tiger can bring to the WP backline.

“Steven has played international sevens, he’s very quick and I’ve got no doubt that he will bring something else to the game this weekend.”

Pumas vs Western Province
Date: Friday, 26 August
Kick-off: 19:00
Venue: Puma Stadium, Witbank
Referee: Stuart Berry
Last year in Currie Cup:
– 30 July: WP won 54-13 in Cape Town
– 17 September: WP won 62-10 in Nelspruit

Leopards vs Blue Bulls

After winning just one of their first four Currie Cup matches this season, the Bulls have been successful in their last two games and will be looking to build on this momentum against the Platinum Leopards on Friday.

The Platinum Leopards may be last on the log, but the Blue Bulls will not underestimate their opponents as they aim to keep alive their hope of reaching the semi-finals in October.

Pine Pienaar, the Blue Bulls’ coach, said his team will have to improve every week if they are going to finish in the top-four, They are still only sixth on the log.

“We’ve decided not to change our team after last weekend’s good victory over Griquas, because we feel we have momentum for the first time this season. We now need these same players to build on that momentum,” said Pienaar.

“I think the team set a standard against Griquas, something we can measure ourselves against. If we want to stay in the hunt, we have to improve on that, because the second round will be even tougher for us when the pressure starts mounting closer to the playoffs.”

Gary Botha, who will captain the Blue Bulls, said their opponents’ log position will not influence their approach to this game at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, outside Rustenburg.

“There are no easy matches in the competition and the Leopards are one of those teams that never lie down. We will focus on what worked for us against Griquas and try to improve on that and try and execute bette

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