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by Baylion

2013 Currie Cup Preview – Round 1

August 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

Super Rugby is over and the Currie Cup Premier Division kicks off this weekend with the various teams looking at the Currie Cup to achieve different objectives. The Sharks have a good mix of experience and youth while the Blue Bulls and WP are looking to develop more of their youngsters, the Blue Bulls especially considering their investment in recent years in build a base with wome of the most ta;ented youngsters from around the country. The Golden Lions will look to build their squad for 2014 and the Cheetahs will want to consolidate on their successful Super Rugby campaign with the Griquas the odd one out, they want to beat the better teams and be in contension for the cup.

Fri, 09 August: Sharks v Griquas – SAST: 19h10

The Sharks will be missing a number of key players from their Super Rugby team when they take on Griquas in Durban but they will still be able to push a good side on the field. Griquas have some of their Super Rugby players back from the Cheetahs and their tight five looks solid but it’s at the back where they don’t offer too much to scare the Sharks.

The Sharks will miss their Bok front row and will have a new lock combination with Marco Wentzel joining them but their loosies are tried and trusted so too their scrumhalves but it’s at the back where there is a new and exciting look with Louis Ludik having shown he’s a good #13 in the making and Tim Whitehead back and the big issue will be whether they can get their new backline going.

Sharks by 9

The Sharks: 15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Butch James, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (Captain) , 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick
Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Rayno Gerber, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Tera Mtembu, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Fred Zeilinga, 22. Jaco van Tonder

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Burger Schoeman, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Ligtoring Landman, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Nick Schonert, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Rocco Jansen

Sat, 10 August: Golden Lions v FS Cheetahs – SAST: 15h00

With their Super Rugby status back in the bag the Golden Lions face their first hurdle in their effort to rebuild a team for next year when they face the Cheetahs at home. The Cheetahs may be without their Boks and without the Griquas Super Rugby players but they still have enough experienced players to make it very tough for the Lions.

The Lions will be without a number of players who played the Kings the last two weeks and especially the forwards have been affected. JC Janse van Rensburg (France), Hendrik Roodt (France), Franco van der Merwe (Boks, Warren Whiteley (finger), Robbie Coetzee (ribs), Julian Redelinghuys (thumb), Ross Cronje (hamstring) and Deon van Rensburg (leg) are all missing from their last game and they are down to their #4 scrumhalf, the converted flyhalf Guy Cronje, and short on props while the bulk of the Cheetahs starting 15 are coming from a successful Super Rugby campaign and they should not stumble against a depleted Lions team.

Cheetahs by 10
(Went for the Lions by 5 on Superbru but that was an illconsidered mistake)

Golden Lions: 15.Chrysander Botha, 14.Deon Helberg, 13.Stokkies Hanekom, 12.Dylan des Fountain, 11.Anthony Volmink, 10.Marnitz Boshoff, 9.Guy Cronje, 8.Willie Britz, 7.Warwick Tecklenburg, 6.Derick Minnie (c), 5.Hugo Kloppers, 4.Stephan Greeff, 3.Ruan Dreyer, 2.Martin Bezuidenhout, 1.Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16.Francois du Toit, 17.CJ van der Linde, 18.Lambert Groenewald, 19.Jaco Kriel, 20.Tian Meyer, 21.Elton Jantjies, 22.Lionel Cronje/Robert de Bruyn

Free State Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo (c), 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Joubert Engelbrecht, 22 Piet Lindeque.

Sat, 10 August: Western Province v Blue Bulls – SAST: 17h05

Giving only Eben Etzebeth to the Boks in the forwards the WP forward pack should be close to their Super Rugby pack but their backline outside Gary van Aswegen, as well as on the bench, will be new and it will be interesting to see how Bok u/20 and Blitsbok Cheslin Kolbe steps up to real senior rugby.

The Blue Bulls have problems. They lost a number of players to the Boks as well as to foreign shores and their forwards have been below par during Super Rugby. WP may not have the strongest pack but they have all played together for a while now and I do not think the Blue Bulls will have enough up front to bother them while at the back the battle between two rookie lineups may be up for grabs and the WP halfback pair’s superior experience should take the game away from the Bulls.

WP by 6

WP: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Pat Howard, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Gary van Aswegen, 9. Louis Schreuder (vice-captain), 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Gerbrandt Grobler, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16. Alistair Vermaak, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Michael Rhodes, 19. Ruan Kitshoff, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Berton Klaasen

Blue Bulls: 15. Jürgen Visser , 14. Sampie Mastriet , 13. Ulrich Beyers , 12. Francois Venter , 11. Travis Ismaiel, 10. Tony Jantjies, 9. Rudy Paige , 8. Jono Ross(c), 7. Jacques du Plessis, 6. Wiaan Liebenberg, 5. Grant Hattingh, 4. Paul Willemse, 3. Frik Kirsten , 2. Willie Wepener, 1. Morné Mellet
Replacements: 16. Callie Visagie , 17. Marcell van der Merwe , 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. Jean Cook , 20. Ruan Snyman , 21. Waylon Murray , 22. Clayton Blommetjies.

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by Baylion

Currie Cup Crunch Time

October 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

There are no dead rubbers this weekend and even though the Sharks and the Lions are assured of home semi finals their game results will have an impact on all the other teams. Only two points separate the other four teams and losses would not only end their semi final hopes but also put them in a possible promotion/relegation play-off against the EP Kings.

While no-one really expects any of these teams to really lose against the Kings in a two match play-off series, although anything is possible, it is the ignomy of finishing last that will grate, especially for the full strength Super Rugby teams, the Blue Bulls and Western Province.

Sharks vs Griquas:

With the Lions accepting a Sharks win and selecting a weakened side for their game there is even less pressure on the Sharks where any result might just be good enough. The Sharks used there returning Boks sparingly but even so, a win by Griquas is only a remote possibility.

Sharks by 12

Western Province vs Cheetahs:

This is  a real crunch match with the winner probably in the semis and the loser probably in the bottom end play-offs so, at the risk of losing team cohesion, both sides pulled in all their Boks, more so WP as they have quite a few. The risk for WP is that the returning Boks may try to revert to the Stormers game while the rest of the team has been on another wavelength altogether. The Cheetahs will give it a good college try but will fall short in the end as their defences lets them down – again, but it will be a close match.

WP by 7

Lions vs Blue Bulls:

Even though the Lions are sitting comfortably in second spot this match will determine the fate of some of the other teams. It’s really simple: if the Bulls win, they will probably move into the semis with one of the other match losers dropping into the bottom spot to face the Kings, if the Bulls lose they will finish last. The danger for the Bulls is that they cannot afford to just rock up thinking the game is won against a young Lions side (only four of the starting 15 is over 25) as these youngsters would like nothing better than prove they are good enough. However, if all goes according to expectations the Bulls should win comfortably.

Bulls by 15

And all this sets up the semi finals:

Sharks vs Bulls – Durban
Lions vs WP – Johannesburg

First Division:

EP Kings vs Pumas:

Down in PE the EP Kings face the Pumas in the First Division finals. Neither of these sides could get the better of the other during the league stages playing to a draw twice so one can expect a tight match. The Pumas had a very inconsistent campaign while the Kings were unbeaten through the league phases but have lost their captain to injury making this a tough call.

However, home ground advantage and all, the Kings should pull it off to finally win a trophy but that’s really irrelevant as they will be playing for promotion to the Premier Division anyway.

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by Baylion

Have the Lions got their mojo back?

August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last week against WP the Lions started to show some fight again after having the stuffing knocked out of them by SARU and the rugby unions voting to kick them out of Super Rugby. This week they need to take it a step further and put on a convincing display against Griquas.

Griquas has been struggling to cope with the losses of key players such as Riaan Viljoen and Sarel Pretorius and have struggled to maintain more than 40 minutes of good play in a match and with the threat of potential relegation looming one can expect them to come out fighting.

Griquas has a number of ex-Lions players who would like to prove a point against the union that discarded them and they have a number of ex-Bulls players who would want to show that they are more than journeymen so the Lions just cannot afford to take it easy.

I am a bit confused with some of the changes made by Johan Ackerman this week but with two injuries (Roodt and Adriaanse) and two key players returning from injury (Rhodes and Hollenbach) some changes were expected. What wasn’t expected was the decision to move Josh Strauss to lock rather than bring in one of the u/21 locks, either Paul Willemse or Ruan Botha, but as the u/21s are struggling to convert close matches into wins the decision seems to be an effort not to disrupt them too much while using the opportunity to rotate some players as well as make space on the bench for the returning players.

The Lions backline remains the same as last week except for Ross Cronje starting in place of Michael Bondesio while up front CJ van der Linde gets a start and Martin Bezuidenhout returns to the bench after some time in the club ranks.

The changes should give the Lions a bit more mobility round the park and up the tempo even more than normal. This Lions side should have more than enough oomph to put away Griquas at Ellis Park, hopefully with a bonus point to retain their top of the log position.

An interesting match up could be that of Willie le Roux versus Andries Coetzee, two players who made the step up to Super Rugby look easy, and I would like to see JR Esterhuizen get the ball in space – man, is he quick! It is great that the Lions have pace out wide at last.

Lions by 15.

Fri, 31 Aug 2012 19:10
Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willie Britz, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Joshua Strauss, 3 CJ Van der Linde, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Alwyn Hollenbach, 22 Deon Helberg.

Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux 14 Jannie Boshoff 13 Jean Stemmet 12 Walter Venter  11 Rocco Jansen 10 Francois Brummer 9 Marnus Hugo 8 Leon Karemaker 7 Wesley Wilkins 6 Marnus Schoeman 5 Martin Muller 4 Ligtoring Landman 3 Lourens Adriaanse 2  Ryno Barnes (captain) 1 Steph Roberts

Substitutes: 16 Matthew Dobson 7 Ivann Espag 18 Frikkie Spies 19 Justin Downey 20 Jacques Coetzee 21 Marnitz Boshoff 22 Matthew Rosslee