Currie Cup Rugby Preview – Week 12

With three rounds to go before the Currie Cup play-offs, six teams in the Premier Division can still qualify for the semi-finals.

The log-leading Golden Lions face the tough prospect of having to take on the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday. The Free Staters have recorded comprehensive victories in the last two week and will be a difficult opponent on their home ground.

Also on Saturday, Western Province travel to Durban to take on The Sharks and could lose their third consecutive match if the KwaZulu-Natalians come out on top.

In the other two matches this weekend, the Blue Bulls, also on the back of two good victories, host the Pumas in Pretoria and Griquas take on the Platinum Leopards in Potchefstroom.

In the final round of the Currie Cup First Division, the Boland Cavaliers will be aiming to move into the top spot on the log against the SWD Eagles in George, while various permutations mean all six the teams can still qualify for the semi-finals.

Blue Bulls vs Pumas

The Blue Bulls will be looking to stay on the winning track against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday evening.

Even though they are still not in the top four, the Blue Bulls have shown they are getting back to their best with victories over WP (28-20) and the Golden Lions (21-18) in the last fortnight. Before that, they scored 10 points in the final minutes of the game against the Free State Cheetahs to secure an unlikely draw (22-22).

But despite these results and the Blue Bulls probably taking the field against their eastern neighbours as favourites, they will not be taking the Pumas lightly. The team from Mpumalanga have also won their last two matches in the Currie Cup Premier Division, away against Griquas (34-31) and at home against the Platinum Leopards (32-19).

And, as Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar alluded to this week, the team from Pretoria had to work very hard for their 16-12 victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit earlier this year.

“We had a huge fright against them in Nelspruit earlier in the season and only won 16-12. They are a tough nut to crack as they have showed by beating Griquas in Kimberley, ” said Pienaar.

“We cannot look past this match. We need to run our own race and play our own game if we want to get there and we know there is no such thing as an easy Currie Cup game this season. “

Blue Bulls vs Pumas
Date: Friday, 30 September 2011
Kick-off: 19:10
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Sindile Mayende
Last three games in Currie Cup:
– 9 July 2010: Blue Bulls won 38-15 in Pretoria
– 27 August 2010: Pumas won 22-21 in Nelspruit
– 12 August 2011: Blue Bulls won 16-12 in Nelspruit

Free State Cheetahs vs Golden Lions

Can the Golden Lions stifle the Free State Cheetahs’ winning streak when the two teams meet in a crunch Currie Cup match at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein?

This question will be answered on Saturday afternoon, but to say the Golden Lions will be approaching the Free State capital with caution would be an understatement.

The Free Staters have been in scintillating form lately. After their home draw against the Blue Bulls three weeks ago, they have smashed the Sharks (53-32) in Bloemfontein and Western Province (34-20) in Cape Town, scoring a combined total of nine tries against last year’s Currie Cup finalists.

The last time the Golden Lions won an Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein, was more than six years ago, on 10 September 2005, when they beat the eventual champions by 31-20.

And while the Cheetahs have proven their try-scoring ability in the last two weeks, the Golden Lions will have to be at their defensive best in Bloemfontein on Saturday. John Mitchell, coach of the team from Gauteng, said they will not try something new against Free State.

“Nothing r

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