Currie Cup Round 3 Preview

The Blue Bulls host Western Province in the feature Currie
Cup match on Saturday evening at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

Three teams are still searching for their first wins after defeats in the previous
two rounds of matches and all of them will be in action on Friday evening.

In Kimberley the Griquas host neighbours the Free State Cheetahs,
while the Pumas travel to Port Elizabeth to face the Eastern Province
Kings. The Sharks, meanwhile, are playing at home in Durban on Saturday
against the high-flying Golden Lions.

In the feature match in Pretoria both teams come off back-to-back victories,
and with the team’s sporting new coaching staff and young playing personnel,
all signs point to another enthralling rugby match between South Africa’s
greatest provincial rivals.

The Blue Bulls are currently sitting on top of the log standings thanks to
a greater points difference over their Gauteng neighbours, the Golden
Lions. The Pretoria side have scored two bonus-point wins so far and their winning
margin has enabled them to climb to the top spot above the Golden Lions and
WP (nine points).

The home side will be determined to halt a slide of four consecutive losses
against the Cape side going into Saturday’s match. In fact, the pulsating
24-all draw in Cape Town on 10 August 2013 was preceded by their last previous
win over WP, which was a 26-13 victory in Pretoria on 5 October 2012. Overall
and counting back to 1996 though, the Blue Bulls have a marginal lead over their
South rivals with 18 wins, 16 losses and 2 draws from the 36 matches between
the provincial heavyweights.

WP coach Paul Dobson on Thursday named Johnny Kotze (22 years old) as replacement
for injured skipper Juan de Jongh at outside centre in the only starting change
from last weekend’s hard-fought 9-3 win over the Cheetahs in Cape Town.
There are also three changes on the bench.

Memorable milestone for Werner Kruger

Blue Bulls front ranker Werner Kruger will achieve a memorable milestone on
Saturday in front of the Loftus faithful when he runs out for his 100th match
in the blue jersey. In doing so, he will become only the third player to earn
100 Currie Cup caps and a century of Super Rugby appearances (113
matches) for his home franchise.

The Sharks duo of Stefan Terblanche (103 ACC and 105 VSR) and Jacques
Botes (129 ACC and 115 VSR) are the only other players who have achieved this

Kruger made his Blue Bulls debut in 2007 as a replacement against the
Golden Lions and has been one of the most consistent performers at Loftus since.
He played his 100th match for the Bulls in April 2014.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Kruger in a side that showed three
changes to the one that beat Griquas a week ago.

“Werner has been a true Blue Bulls stalwart and deserves this unique
honour,” Marais said. “He has a wonderful attitude toward life and
this team and we are privileged to share such an occasion with Werner. That
said, the ball is now in our court to make sure we make it a memorable occasion
for him,” Marais added.

Brief profile of Werner Kruger

Birthdate: 23 January 1985
Birth place: Bloemfontein
Primary School: Kruinsig
High School: Jeugland
Position: Prop
Province: Blue Bulls
Springbok number: 828
Test debut: 23 July 2011 vs Australia in Sydney aged 26
Total Tests: 4
Total Springbok matches: 5
First class career: Falcons Under-21 (2002), Blue Bulls ( Cup, 2003),
SA Under-21 (2005 and 2006), Blue Bulls ( Currie Cup Premier Div 2007),
Bulls ( Super Rugby, 2008,) Emerging Springboks (vs British and Irish
Lions, 2009), Sprin

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