Currie Cup clashes

2014-09-12 00:00

EP KINGS VS BULLS

The Kings are soldiering on in the Currie Cup despite losing all five of their games so far. Coach Carlos Spencer has rung a number of squad changes. Most notably, veteran Springbok prop CJ van der Linde moves to the front row to bring some stability to the set piece. The Kings lost badly last weekend to Western Province but the score does not reflect how they played. They do need to make scoring chances count and tighten up in defence.

They host the Bulls and will have to work hard upfront.

Kings (15-1): Scott van Breda, Ronnie Cooke, Tim Whitehead, Shane Gates, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Gary van Aswegen, Kevin Luiters Paul Schoeman, Devin Oosthuizen, Shaun McDonald, Steven Sykes (c), David Bulbring, CJ van der Linde, Edgar Marutlulle, Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: Mike van Vuuren, Simon Kerrod, BG Uys, Darron Nell, Stefan Willemse, Tobie Botes, Ntabeni Dukisa.

The Bulls made a big statement last weekend when they beat the Lions and resurrected their season. A solid performance from their pack and a blanketing defence was the recipe for success and they will emulate this tonight against the Kings in Port Elizabeth. The Bulls have their two Springbok flyers, Akona Ndungane and Bjorn Basson, back in action and will no doubt unleash an aerial assault as the latter is one of the best in the air. The Bulls need to keep their winning ways to make the play-offs.

Bulls (15-1): Ulrich Beyers, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Burger Odendaal, Bjorn Basson, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Piet van Zyl, Jono Ross, Jacques Du Plessis, Deon Stegmann (c), Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Bandise Maku, Basil Short, Nico Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Engelbrecht, Rudy Paige, Tony Jantjies, William Small-Smith.

CHEETAHS VS SHARKS

The Free State side are licking their wounds after losing to the Pumas last weekend. Not only did they lose but several players were laid low by injury. This has forced coach Rory Duncan to make a number of changes. They still have Ryno Benjamin (moved to fullback) and welcome the return of Lappies Labuschagne, whose tireless work makes him crucial in the Cheetahs’ engineroom. They still have the regular half-back combination of Sarel Pretorius and Willie du Plessis, a dangerous pairing. Expect a ranging game from them.

Cheetahs (15-1): Ryno Benjamin, Maputha Dolo, Francois Venter, Joubert Engelbrecht, JP du Plessis, Willie du Plessis, Sarel Pretorius, Lappies Labuschagne, Neil Claassen, Tienie Burger, Francois Uys, Henco Venter, George Marich, Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), Caylib Oosthuizen. Replacements: AJ le Roux, Rudolph Botha, Werner Lourens, Vincent Jobo, Shaun Venter, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, AJ Coertzen.

Talk in the Shark tank this week has been to focus on cutting down unforced errors and stepping up to the plate physically. The Sharks backline has changed, most notably youngster André Esterhuizen, who moves to inside centre and fellow U21 Tim Swiel who starts at fullback. Esterhuizen and S’bura Sithole will smash the ball up in the centre to take some of the load off the Sharks pack. The forwards will have to up their game and move round the park while meeting a physical Cheetahs side.

Sharks(15-1): Tim Swiel, Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, Andre Esterhuizen, Tonderai Chavhanga, Lionel Cronje, Conrad Hoffmann, Tera Mtembu (c), Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacques Botes, Stephan Lewies, Marco Wentzel, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick. Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Thomas du Toit, Johan Meyer, Khaya Majola, Cameron Wright, Fred Zeilinga, SP Marais.

GRIQUAS VS PUMAS

The men from Kimberley registered a well-earned win over the Sharks last weekend. Despite dubious referee calls, their hunger and work rate made them deserved winners and they will fancy themselves over the Pumas at home. Both sides have massive and hard working forwards and this will be one of the most bruising derbies of the weekend. Hilton Lobberts will have to repeat last weekend’s performance to compensate for Pumas number eight Renaldo Bothma, who has been in outstanding form.

Griquas (15-1): Gouws Prinsloo, Ederies Arendse, Johnathan Francke, Doppies la Grange, PJ Vermeulen, Francois Brummer, Tian Meyer, Ruaan Lerm, Carel Greeff, Marnus Schoeman, Jaco Nepgen, Hilton Lobberts, Ewald van der Westhuizen, Martin Bezuidenhout, Steph Roberts. Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Maks van Dyk, Hugo Kloppers, Burger Schoeman, RJ Liebenberg, Abrie Griesel, Dean Grant.

These Currie Cup underdogs, have fought hard and are deservedly second on the Currie Cup log. Mbombela has proved a fortress for Jimmy Stonehouse’s charges, who have won four of their five games but face a tough ask travelling to Kimberley. They have a formidable pack, some free-running outside backs, and direct and abrasive centres. Rosco Speckman and Jerome Pretorius on the wings are dangerous but look for Renaldo Bothma and Stefan Watermeyer, who have worked tirelessly all season.

Pumas(15-1): Coenie van Wyk, Jerome Pretorius, JW Jonker, Stefan Watermeyer, Rosko Speckman, Justin van Staden, Reynier van Rooyen, Renaldo Bothma, Uzair Cassiem, Corne Steenkamp (c), Lubabalo Mtyanda, Frikkie Spies, Vincent Koch, Francois du Toit, Corne Fourie. Replacements: Frankie Herne, DeJay Terblanche, Marius Coetzer, Jaco Bouwer, Sinovuyo Nyoka, JC Roos, JW Bell.

LIONS VS WP

The Lions let it slip against the Bulls last weekend and are third on the Currie Cup log. Nevertheless, they are top runners for the tournament this year. They are at home this weekend and will hope to use this to their advantage. They have managed to settle their backline in the last two games but their pack have lost talismanic leader Warren Whiteley to Springbok duty. Beating Province at home could get them a home semi.

Lions(15-1): Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe (c), Stokkies Hanekom, Courtnall Skosan, Jaco van der Walt, Ricky Schroeder, Willie Britz, Kwagga Smith, Jaco Kriel/Warwick Tecklenburg, Franco Mostert, MB Lusaseni, Ruan Dreyer, Armand van der Merwe, Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Jacques van Rooyen, Martin Muller, Warwick Tecklenburg/Steph de Wit, Michael Bondesio, Mark Richards, Howard Mnisi.

Province are comfortably ahead of the pack on top of the Currie Cup log. Last weekend they dismantled the Kings thanks to water-tight defence and the ability to snap up chances on the counter-attack. The team are similar to last week, except Demetri Catrakilis moves to the bench and Kurt Coleman gets a start at flyhalf. Loose trio Nizaam Carr, Mike Rhodes and Siya Kolisi who could prove a handful for the Lions.

Western Province (15-1): Cheslin Kolbe, Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh (c), Jaco Taute, Pat Howard, Kurt Coleman, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Siya Kolisi, Ruan Botha, Jean Kleyn, Pat Cilliers, Stephan Coetzee, Alistair Vermaak. Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Brok Harris, Manuel Carizza, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Godlen Masimla, Demetri Catrakilis, Justin Geduld.

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