WP and Lions do battle

2014-10-25 00:00

The Currie Cup final kicks off this afternoon and it’s the two form sides in the competition that will compete for the coveted South African domestic trophy. Western Province host the Lions at Newlands in a match almost impossible to call, the sides are that evenly matched.

Province have named a nearly unchanged side, bar the inclusion of Springbok centre Jaco Taute, while eighthman Nizaam Carr overcame an injury scare to make the starting lineup. The Lions have an unchanged side from last weekend’s semi-final.

There are four head-to-head clashes to watch.

WINGS

Seabelo Senatla vs Ruan Combrinck

Seabelo Senatla

The Western Province and Blitzbokke flyer has done nothing but impress this season. Despite his diminutive build, he has shown deceptive strength and coupled with speed, could be another Bryan Habana in the making. He has proved a handful for most defences. His defence is impressive and with some controlled aggression, he is far from a weakness in Province’s armour. Having only scored three tries in the Currie Cup, he will be hoping to add to that.

Ruan Combrinck

The Michaelhouse old boy has had an impressive Currie Cup. With an eye for the intercept and impressive speed and strength, Combrinck is a big part of the Lions attack. His performance last week against the Sharks spoke volumes for his growth, especially matching up to Springbok Lwazi Mvovo. He scored a great try from phase play and his work on defence cannot be faulted. He faces his greatest challenge in the Province back three.

FLYHALVES

Demetri Catrakilis vs Marnitz Boshoff

Demetri Catrakilis

Catrakilis’ experience in Currie Cup finals and his all-round performances in the competition saw him get the backing of coach Allister Coetzee. Catrakilis boasts an impressive boot, while he also has the ability to challenge the gain line. Although his running game is not his forté, he has a number of quality backs outside him to do the running. He will be hoping his pack will be able to tame the Lions’ scrum, which decimated the Sharks last weekend.

Marnitz Boshoff

The Lions breathed a sigh of relief when Boshoff returned from injury. With an amazing platform to work off due to the Lions’ powerful pack, Boshoff has been at ease in the flyhalf channel. His kicking game is his weapon, although he is also quick and probes the gain line when possible. Like Catrakilis, Boshoff has a quality backline outside him. Boshoff will no doubt try and pin Province in their half and punish their ill-discipline.

EIGHTHMEN

Nizaam Carr vs Warren Whiteley

Nizaam Carr

Arguably one of the standout performers in the Currie Cup, Carr has certainly put his hand up for national selection. His bulldozing runs, coupled with impressive running lines, have made him a danger on attack. His work on defence is solid and he competes strongly for the ball on the ground. Carr has a spicy battle against Whiteley, the two having been stalwarts for their sides. Both eighthmen have big roles to play today.

Warren Whiteley

The Lions captain’s form was rewarded with a Springbok call-up in the Rugby Championship and he earned two Bok caps in the competition. His experience from his days with the Blitzbokke has done wonders for his game and he is exceptionally fast and agile for a loose forward, making him a handful for most defences. He is also a useful lineout option and his presence on defence is important. If the game opens up, Whiteley will be one of the players leading the way.

FLANKS

Rynhardt Elstadt vs Jaco Kriel

Rynhardt Elstadt

Elstadt has been part and parcel of the Province setup for some years and has established himself as one of the Cape side’s hard-men. He is fast for his size, but will have to work hard to keep up and play Jaco Kriel out of the game. Province have gone for a bigger pack to try and quell the powerful Lions scrum and Elstadt will be a big ball runner on attack, while looking for big hits on defence. If he can silence Kriel, he could play a huge part in Province’s title bid.

Jaco Kriel

Another flank who punches well above his weight, Kriel has been a star performer in this year’s competition. Carrying some impressive form from Super Rugby, he and his fellow loosies have outplayed most sides in the competition. His performance against the Sharks last week was probably his best of the season. He was a handful on attack, proving difficult to bring down while linking up well with his team-mates. His work at the breakdown is also outstanding.

Currie Cup Final

Western Province vs Lions. Kick-off 5pm, Newlands, Cape Town.

Western Province: Cheslin Kolbe, Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh (c), Jaco Taute, Seabelo Senatla, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Rynhardt Elstadt, Manuel Carizza, Jean Kleyn, Pat Cilliers, Scarra Ntubeni, Alistair Vermaak.

Replacements: Neil Rautenbach, Brok Harris, Gerbrandt Grobler, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Michael van der Spuy.

Golden Lions: Jaco van der Walt, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosan, Marnitz Boshoff, Ross Cronje, Warren Whiteley (c), Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Martin Muller, Ruan Dreyer, Robbie Coetzee, Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: Armand van der Merwe, Jacques van Rooyen, Julian Redelinghuys, Willie Britz, Warwick Tecklenburg, Mark Richards, Harold Vorster.

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