Last Currie Cup chance for Lions,Cheetahs & Bulls

The Free State Cheetahs, Golden Lions and Blue Bulls will know their Currie Cup fate on Saturday night following the conclusion of the competition’s round-robin stages, and unfortunately one of the teams will be left heart-broken.

Western Province and The Sharks have already secured their home semifinals, while the Cheetahs, Lions and Blue Bulls will battle it out for the other two semifinal places in an exciting finale to the pool stages.

In Saturday’s final round the Golden Lions host Griquas at Ellis Park, the Free State Cheetahs meet the Blue Bulls at the Free State Stadium and The Sharks take on Western Province at Kings Park.

With a five point lead over the fifth-placed Blue Bulls, Free State are in the most comfortable position on the log standings, as a bonus point would guarantee them a semifinal berth. However, should they suffer a defeat without a bonus point and by 8 points or more and the Blue Bulls win the clash with a bonus point, they would fail to qualify for the semifinals.

The Golden Lions, meanwhile, will back themselves to beat Griquas on form, and should they achieve this, they will be guaranteed a semifinal berth.

One of the main features of this round will be the return of the Springbok players following the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, which will provide a welcome boost for some teams.

Golden Lions vs Griquas

The Golden Lions will enter their clash against Griquas as favourites despite coming off back-to-back defeats against Western Province and The Sharks respectively.

The fact that the Johannesburg team has to win to ensure that they cement their semifinal spot as they take to the field before the Cheetahs and Blue Bulls, who are also in the running for semifinal places, will motivate them significantly.

The Lions, however, may have to work hard for a win as Griquas have earned five bonus points for suffering defeats by seven points or less, and they will be determined to end the competition on a high note.

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann has made four personnel changes to his starting team, with the most notable being the return of Springbok lock Franco van der Merwe, who made his Test debut against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship Test last Saturday.

The other changes were in front row where prop Jacques van Rooyen and hooker Willie Wepener were promoted to the starting team alongside Julian Redelinghuys. In the backline Lionel Cronje drops to the bench to make way for Deon Helberg in a backline reshuffle.

Griquas coach Pote Human, meanwhile, made wholesale changes to his team as he opted to rest his star players for the promotion-relegations games against the Pumas, with only five players who started against the Cheetahs last week retaining their places in the run-on team. These players are fullback Gouws Prinsloo, wing Rocco Jansen and forwards Leon Karemaker, RJ Liebenberg and Jaco Nepgen. Prop Lourens Adriaanse also returns to the starting lineup after being called up to the national team for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

Golden Lions vs Griquas
Venue:
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Time: 15h00
Date: 12 October 2013

Match Officials
Referee:
Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Sieg van Staden
TMO: Johan Greeff

Teams

Golden Lions: Chrysander Botha; Deon Helberg, Lionel Mapoe, Andries Coetzee, Anthony Volmink; Marnitz Boshoff, Michael Bondesio; Warren Whiteley, Derick Minnie (capt), Warwick Tecklenburg; Franco van der Merwe, Chris van Zyl; Julian Redelinghuys, Willie Wepener, Jacques van Rooyen.

Replacements: Robbie Coetzee, Bees Roux, Lambert Groenewald, Willie Britz, Ross Cronje, Lionel Cronje, Kobus de Kock.

Griquas: Gouws Prinsloo; Luzuko Vulindlu, Jean S

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