Currie Cup 2013 Round 1 Review
Currie Cup 2013 finally kicked off on Friday and what an exciting start it was! The dust has settled over the hype of the Super Rugby competition and now the time has come for the local teams in the southern tip of Africa to battle it out for the holy grail of South African Rugby.
We were blessed during the opening weekend with a shocker, a nail-biter and a draw against the run of play. What more can you ask for?
Sharks (30) vs Griquas (32) – KingsPark, Durban
To give you an idea of how much the odds were stacked against the visitors from Kimberley to snatch this victory, check out the prediction results on SuperBru – only 0.04% of more than 85,000 people gave Griquas a chance.
Jacques Botes leap-frogged his way into the staring line-up to cover for Keegan Daniel, not only donning the captain’s armband, but bagging two tries in an effort to get their campaign off to a good start. The Sharks took a narrow lead at half time, but constant infringements kept Griquas in the game through the superbly accurate boot of winger Nico Scheepers.
It almost seemed like the Sharks had done enough, but then replacement flanker Carel Greeff crossed the goal line after the hooter had gone and Scheepers calmly collected the extras to secure an emphatic away win for the Northern Cape.
Lions (29) VS Cheetahs (30) – Ellis Park, Johannesburg
At Ellis Park the Cheetahs got their 2013 season underway by taking maximum points from a valuable away victory over the Lions. The Cheetahs should be somewhat disappointed in their inability to turn the overwhelming amount of territory and possession that favoured them in the first half into more points.
The Free Staters played a well-balanced game of flair mixed up with crash-ball, scoring four tries in the process whilst absorbing a lot of pressure from the home team in the final minutes. However, they did have a bit of luck on their side as Elton Jantjies missed two opportunities at goal after replacing a flawless Marnitz Boshoff.
WP (24) vs Bulls (24) – Newlands, Cape Town
Off the back of a very disappointing Super Rugby season, it seems Western Province has a lot of soul searching to do after letting a 14-6 half time lead slip through their fingers.
WP got off to a flyer with two tries inside the first quarter, but the Bulls dominated forward play for the majority of the game and thereby prevented the Cape Townians from running away with proceedings. Even though the Bulls are by far the most disrupted team competing in this year’s premier domestic competition, I believe supporters of the red daisy will sleep a lot easier after the gutsy performance by the youngsters.
Aplon 2.0, better known as Sevens superstar Cheslin Kolbe, and powerhouse center Pat Howard had the crowd on their feet on numerous occasions, and if nothing else, WP can take comfort from their combinations in the backline.
Two tries in the last ten minutes handed the brave young Bulls a golden opportunity to get their noses in front, but sadly the younger Jantjies, Tony, suffered the same fate as his brother by missing the winning conversion, thus ending the match on a draw.