Currie Cup clashes

2014-08-08 00:00

Eastern Province Kings vs Western Province

The Kings make their return to Currie Cup rugby and will be looking to prove why they were not the punching bag everyone thought they would be in Super Rugby last year. Former Western Province and Springbok flank Luke Watson captains the side. Ex-Shark centre Tim Whitehead returns to his former union while flyhalf Gary van Aswegen gets to run out against his old union and will have a point to prove.

Team (1-15): Van Breda, Cooke, Whitehead, Gates, Soyizwapi, Van Aswegen, Botes, Watson (c), Willemse, Bholi, Bulbring, Cummins, Botha, Marutlulle, Gqoboka/BG Uys

Substitutes: De Swardt, Van der Linde, Nell, Davis, Luiters, Whitehead, Dukisa.

After a torrid Super Rugby season, WP is looking to rebuild and contend in the Currie Cup. Coach Allister Coetzee has named a side featuring five Springboks, a Blitzbokke star and a number of former Baby Boks, showing intent to win its first away game of the season. They have balanced experience with youth with eight Currie Cup debutants in the match 22. The presence of Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will do wonders for Province’s lineout.

Team (1-15): Kolbe, Van Wyk, De Jongh (c), Van der Spuy, Senatla, Catrakilis, Groom, Carr, Rhodes, Kolisi, Carizza, Etzebeth, Cilliers, Liebenberg, Vermaak

Substitutes: Coetzee, Malherbe, Kleyn, Notshe, Schreuder, Du Preez, Howard.

Kick-off is on Friday, 7:10 pm at Nelson Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth.

Griquas vs The Sharks

The diamond fields of Kimberley are hard and fast and the trip to “The Big Hole” is always a tough one for visitors. The Griquas will use this to their advantage and have a strong pack that will be physical and direct. They also have some speedsters out wide in Dames, Scheepers (Blitzbokke) and Jansen will be directed by scrumhalf Tian Meyer and flyhalf Francois Brummer. It will be interesting to see how hooker Ryno Barnes performs without the burden of captaincy.

Team (1-15): Scheepers, Dames, Francke, Stevens (captain), Jansen, Brummer, Meyer, Greeff, Lobberts, Schoeman, Nepgen, Serfontein, Van Dyk, Barnes, Roberts.

Substitutes: Westraadt, Van der Westhuizen, Kloppers, Liebenberg, Griesel, Schmidt, Arendse.

Despite some inexperience at scrumhalf, The Sharks will look to capitalise on their experienced backline. Retaining most of their backs from Super Rugby means if the pack can provide a good platform, The Sharks could run riot out wide. Expect to see plenty of running rugby. Tera Mtembu leads the side out for the first time and has an experienced head in Botes packing down on the flank to fall back on.

Team (1-15): Marais, Ndungane, Sithole, Jordaan, Chavhanga, Zeilinga, Wright, Mtembu (c), Oosthuizen, Botes, Lewies, Wentzel, Adriaanse, Cooper, Du Toit.

Substitutes: Hadebe, Chadwick, Stevens, Astle, Kleinhans, Venter, Cronje.

Lions vs Bulls

Always contenders in Currie Cup rugby, the Lions can carry some momentum from Super Rugby despite finishing in 12th place. Springbok Marnitz Boshoff will direct the backline from flyhalf and look to unleash his outside backs. Fullback Andries Coetzee and wings Lionel Mapoe and Ruan Combrink could be tested by the Bulls’ strong kick and chase game. Former Griqua Howard Mnisi sits on the bench and could feature strongly if he gets his first cap for the Lions.

Kick-off is on Saturday, 3 pm at GWK Park, Kimberley.

Team (1-15): Coetzee, Mapoe, Hanekom, Vorster, Combrink, Boshoff, Cronje, Whiteley (c), Minnie, Kriel, Mostert, Lusaseni, Dreyer, Coetzee, Van der Merwe

Substitutes: Van der Merwe, Van Rooyen, Britz, Tecklenburg, Schroeder, Van der Walt, Mnisi.

The Bulls have a good mix of youth and experience in their squad. With three Springboks in the mix, the side will look to dominate up front and be particularly focused on securing ball. Expect a good tussel between the loosies as Jono Ross, Deon Stegmann and Jacques Engelbrecht take on a tried- and-tested Lions loose trio. JJ Engelbrecht will also be keen to get his season off to a good start after failing to make the Springbok setup.

Team (1-15): Visser, Ndungane, Engelbrecht, Odendaal, Mastriet, Potgieter, Van Zyl, Engelbrecht, Ross, Stegmann (c), Hattingh, Willemse, Kruger, Visagie, Greyling.

Substitutes: Mbonambi, Van der Merwe, Janse van Rensburg, Liebenberg, Paige, Jantjies, Kriel.

Kickoff is on Saturday, 5:05 pm at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

Pumas vs Cheetahs

The Pumas won the Currie Cup First Division last year and are looking to cause a few upsets this year and will be dangerous at home. A big pack will be complimented by a skilled and fast backline. The likes of former Lions and Bulls centre Stefan Watermeyer will be crucial in the midfield, while wing Rosco Speckman is not short on gas and magic feet.

Team (1-15): Bell, Isbell, Jonker, Watermeyer, Speckman, Van Staden, Van Rooyen, Bothma, Bouwer, Steenkamp (c), Coetzer, Spies, Terblanche, Du Toit, Koch

Substitutes: Herne, Fourie, Mtyanda, Cassiem, Nyoka, Roos, Pretorius.

Kickoff is on Saturday, 7:10 pm at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit.

The Cheetahs have been decimated by the loss of players to other unions as well as the Springboks. However their team sheet still boasts some quality players who will have to guide the younger players during the season. Wingers Rayno Benjamin and Raymond Rhule are dangerous customers and there will be a spicy battle out wide between the two teams. Torsten van Jaarsveld take over the captaincy from Adriaan Strauss who is with the Boks.

Team (1-15): Coertzen, Benjamin, Venter, Engelbrecht, Rhule, Du Plessis, Pretorius, Prinsloo, Claasen, Burger, Uys, Wegner, De Bruin, Van Jaarsveld (c), Stevens.

Substitutes: Liebenberg, Roux, Vermeulen, Venter, Botha, Watts, Du Plessis.

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