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Currie Cup Premier Division heats up


Currie Cup Premier Division is building momentum

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Article Published: Friday 23 August 2013


The Currie Cup Premier Division is expected to heat up this weekend as the teams begin to settle and new player combinations gel after two rounds of matches.

Given how closely matched the teams are and their familiarity with each other's strengths and weaknesses, however, the clashes are again expected to come down to the wire.

The Free State Cheetahs host the Sharks at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday, and on Saturday Griquas host Western Province in Kimberley in their first home match.

Also on Saturday, the Blue Bulls go up against the Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld in the Gauteng derby.

Free State Cheetahs vs The Sharks

The forward battle in Bloemfontein is expected to take centre stage following mixed fortunes for the teams in the set pieces last week. The Sharks pack were instrumental in putting the team on their front foot against the Lions, while the Free State Cheetahs' forwards found themselves under pressure in the scrums against Western Province.

But with the Bloemfontein team welcoming back Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane, they will be banking on a better showing in the set piece. The Sharks, meanwhile, will be bolstered by the presence of hard-running loose forward Keegan Daniel, which will add extra flair up-front.

With the likes of exciting backs Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule and Sarel Pretorius serving as attacking threats for the Cheetahs, the Sharks will have to tighten up their defence after leaking two early tries last week.

Teams

Free State Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller; Riaan Smit, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule; Elgar Watts, Sarel Pretorius; Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Boom Prinsloo (Capt); Lood de Jager, Teboho Mohoje; Trevor Nyakane, Hercu Liebenberg, Caylib Oosthuizen.

Replacements: Ethienne Reynecke, Rossouw de Klerk, Freddie Ngoza, Davon Raubenheimer, Kevin Luiters, Willie du Plessis, Piet Lindeque.

The Sharks: SP Marais; Sizo Maseko, Louis Ludik, Heimar Williams, Lwazi Mvovo; Fred Zeilinga, Charl McLeod; Jacques Botes ( Capt), Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel; Marco Wentzel, Edwin Hewitt; Wiehahn Herbst, Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick.

Replacements: Craig Burden, Rayno Gerber, Peet Marais, Lubabalo Mtembu, Cobus Reinach, Butch James, Jaco van Tonder.

Match Officials
Referee: Jason Jaftha
Assistant Referees: Jaco van Heerden, Pieter Janse van Vuuren
TMO: Deon van Blommestein

Griquas vs Western Province

The dry conditions and hard field in Kimberley will certainly test Western Province when they line up against the Griquas on Saturday, as they have been training on heavy and wet fields in Cape Town.

This should give the home team an edge. But Pote Human's team will have to stand their ground against a quality WP outfit to bounce back from their defeat last week.

Their discipline, in particular, has to improve, especially at the breakdowns, as it cost them dearly against the Blue Bulls, while their defence also has to be solid to contain the likes of Springboks Juan de Jongh and Gio Aplon.

With both teams have been strong in the scrums, the set piece could be decisive.

"We know it's going to be a massive battle," said Western Province coach Allister Coetzee. "For us it's about building momentum and not letting slip the things that we've improved on last week. That's what consistency is about and that's what you need in this competition whether you're at home or away."

Teams

Griquas: PJ Vermeulen; Nico Scheepers, JP Nel, Howard Mnisi, Rocco Jansen; Francois Brummer, Marnus Hugo; Leon Karemaker, Hilton Lobberts, Carel Greeff; Jonathan Adendorf, Jaco Nepgen, Nico Schonert, Ryno Barnes (Capt), Steph Roberts.

Replacements: Matthew Dobson, Brummer Badenhorst, RJ Liebenberg, Burger Schoeman, Jacques Coetzee, Du Randt Gerber, Richard Lawson.

Western Province: Gio Aplon; Gerhard van den Heever, Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe; Kurt Coleman, Louis Schreuder; Nizaam Carr, Rynhardt Elstadt, Deon Fourie; De Kock Steenkamp, Michael Rhodes; Pat Cilliers, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Brok Harris, Gerbrandt Grobler, Rohan Kitshoff, Nic Groom, Tim Swiel, Ryan Nell.

Match Officials
Referee: Sindile Mayende
Assistant Referees: Ben Crouse, Francois de Bruin
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee

Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions

At Loftus Versfeld the Blue Bulls will be looking to string together a solid performance following their penalty-riddled clash against Griquas last week, while the Golden Lions will place an emphasis on using all their try-scoring chances after wasting three opportunities against The Sharks last weekend.

With both teams featuring strong packs and quality backs, the clash should prove to be entertaining.That said, however, the Pretoria team will have to improve their scrums and breakdowns to maintain their unbeaten run.

The clash will be significant for Blue Bulls hooker Bongi Mbonambi, who earns his first start in place of the injured Callie Visagie, while Springbok hooker Bandise Maku will start on the bench following his return to Pretoria from the Southern Kings. Loose forward Jacques Engelbrecht could also make his debut as a replacement for the injured Jean Cook, should he take to the field.

Commenting on the clash Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar said: "We have played well in patches this far and we now need to produce a more lasting effort. The Lions have a lot of momentum and have played as a unit for a while now, so we will need to counter that by playing as a team. I am happy to call on the likes of Bandise and Jacques as they have slotted in very well and I am sure they will make a telling contribution off the bench."

Teams

Blue Bulls: Jurgen Visser; Sampie Mastriet, Ulrich Beyers, Francois Venter, Travis Ismaiel; Tony Jantjies, Ruan Snyman; Jono Ross (Capt), Jacques du Plessis, Wiaan Liebenberg; Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse; Werner Kruger, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Morne Mellett.

Replacements: Bandise Maku, Marcel van der Merwe, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Jacques Engelbrecht, Rudy Paige, Waylon Murray, Clayton Blommetjies.

Golden Lions: Chrysander Botha; Deon Helberg, Robert De Bruyn, Dylan Des Fountain, Anthony Volmink; Marnitz Boshoff, Guy Cronje; Willie Britz, Derick Minnie (Capt), Jaco Kriel; Franco van der Merwe, Chris van Zyl; Ruan Dreyer, Willie Wepener, Jacques Van Rooyen.

Replacements: Robbie Coetzee, CJ van der Linde, Lambert Groenewald, Warwick Tecklenburg, Tiaan Meyer, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Cronje.

Match Officials
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant Referees: Jaco van Heerden, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Tappe Henning with Andy Turner in training

Currie Cup Premier Division fixtures:
Free State Cheetahs vs Sharks
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Time: 19h10
Date: 23 August 2013

 

Griquas vs Western Province
Venue: Park, Kimberley
Time: 15h00
Date: 24 August 2013


Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Time: 17h05
Date: 24 August 2013

 
 
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