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Preview: Currie Cup, Round Five

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 21:12
Griquas-v-sharks
Second round of revenge
Quote-end
There are plenty more rematches in Round Five of the Currie Cup as the Provincial showpiece continues to throw up some mouth-watering grudge matches.
 
It all begins with the high-flying Western Province hosting the lowly Eastern Province Kings at Newlands stadium, for Carlos Spencer and his men - it does not seem to be getting easier any time soon.
 
The early match on Saturday sees the Cheetahs, who have finally started picking up some momentum, taking on the surprise of the season thus far, the Pumas - the men from Nelspruit will be hopeful of a win away from Mbombela in Round Five.
 
The Sharks then host their traditional stumbling block, the Griquas, but the men from Durban will be raring to bounce back after stumbling in Nelspruit last week.
 
Finally, the weekend is rounded off with a good old fashioned Jukskei derby, this time round it will be hosted at Loftus, and the Bulls proved against WP last week that they can be a powerful force at home.
 
Friday, September 5
 
Western Province v Eastern Province Kings
(Newlands Stadium, Cape Town - Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT))
 
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has been threatening and warning all those who would listen that Province (and the Stormers) were evolving their gameplan after a terrible showing in Super Rugby.
 
It seems he has delivered on those promises with Province becoming one of the attacking forces of the competition, not just in terms of tries, but in their exciting, counter-attacking mind set.
 
Regarded predominantly as a defence minded team, Coetzee has got the balance right as the men from the Cape sit pretty on top of the log with their latest challenger not in a great place to push them too hard.
 
The EP Kings have not had it easy in the first five rounds, the opposition has been difficult in their unofficial pool and with the team very much in a rebuilding - from scratch - phase, there was always going to be teething problems.
 
In the week, Spencer said he was appalled at the statistics the Kings had put forward, especially in regards to getting turned over on attack and the amount of defending they have had to do.
 
He is imploring his players to pick up that ball and run with it - hoping to double the carry count from 75 a match to 150.
 
If anything, it should make for an exciting match - with the Kings attempting to run the ball harder there will be chances for the Province's dangerous looking backline to counter - like they do best.
 
Unfortunately, crowd favourite Seven superstar, Seabelo Senatla, is missing through injury, but Coetzee has included Justin Geduld on the bench to keep that Sevens flair alive in the team.
 
Prediction: On paper it is a very easy one to call - the Kings have a single, losing bonus point while Province are undefeated. It is a home game for WP and the Newlands faithful are flooding back. There seems to be very little that can slow down the Province steam-train so don't be surprised if they put over 14 points on the Kings.
 
Teams:
 
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Manuel Carizza, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Justin Geduld.
 
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Dwayne Jenner, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Aidon  Davis, 7 Paul Schoeman, 6 Shaun MacDonald, 5 Steven Sykes (Captain), 4 David Bulbring, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacments: 16 Mike van Vuuren, 17 CJ Van der Linde, 18 Thembelani Bholi, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Tobie Botes, 21 Shane Gates, 22 Siyanda Grey.
 
Referee: Stuart Berry 
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Marc van Zyl
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
 
Saturday, September 6
 
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT))
 
The Cheetahs got off to a very rocky start in the campaign with a poor performance against the Pumas showing that they lacked experience and were very out of touch.
 
It is now Round Five and the Cheetahs have bested their near-neighbours twice while being denied in the last minute by a TMO call against the Sharks.
 
It is now time for the potential dark-horses of the tournament to enact some revenge over their Round One rivals, the Pumas.
 
The Pumas have steadily been impressing throughout and it all came to a head last weekend after they beat the defending champions on home ground.
 
For coach Jimmy Stonehouse and his men, it has now become about getting their first away win to truly make others believe they are a force in the Currie Cup.
 
The Pumas remain undefeated at the Mbombela stadium but Stonehouse stated after the Sharks win that their next target would be four-points (or five?) away from home.
 
The Cheetahs have worked hard at their scrums after a poor display in early encounter against the Pumas in Nelspruit. 
 
Coach Rory Duncan saying they have improved in leaps and bounds.
 
"We had a couple of disruptions with guys like Coenie and Caylib Oosthuizen out injured, but the younger guys have really put their hands up.
 
"We scrummed pretty well against Griquas and will take a lot of heart and momentum from that performance."
 
Super Rugby player Jean Cook would spearhead a loose trio which also included youngsters Neill Claassen and Tienie Burger.
 
"We have spoken about the fire power of the Pumas with regards to their loose forwards," Duncan said.
 
"Guys like Tienie and Neill have really come to the party, while we all know the wealth of experience a guy like Jean Cook adds."
 
Prediction: Although there will be many calling this a Pumas win without much bother, there is more to it than first meets the eye. It is true that the Pumas are impressing in their games while the Cheetahs seem to be coping while learning; the danger comes when the Pumas' impressive run stalls and the Cheetahs' learning curve reaches it's pinnacle. It may be against the form guide, but look for the Cheetahs to win this by six points.
 
Teams:
 
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Phillipus du Plessis, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 Rudolph Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Kevin Stevens.
Replacements: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 George Marich, 18 Werner Lourens, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Joubert Engelbrecht.
 
Pumas: 15 John-Wessel Bell, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Jacobus Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Spekman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Dylon Frylinck, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corne Steenkamp (captain), 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 Dee-Jay Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Juan-Claude Roos, 22 Hennie Skorbinski.
 
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Gerrie de Bruin, Jaco Kotze
TMO: JJ Wagner
 
Sharks v Griquas
(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT))
 
The Sharks finally stumbled, and it was not against the Griquas; the loss to the Pumas may be just what is needed because the men from Durban have looked like they were coasting thus far.
 
Sharks coach Brad Mcleod-Henderson may have had a bit of a wake-up call when his team slipped to a 10 point loss in Nelspruit, and as such he has decided to make a number of changes.
 
The front row sees only Kyle cooper remaining from the Pumas match, the second row it totally new with Stephan Lewies and 22-year-old Wiehan Hay locking up the scrum.
 
There are changes in the backline as well with Heimar Williams starting at inside centre with Paul Jordaan outside him and Sibusiso Sithole on the wing in place of Tonderai Chavanga, whilst Jaco van Tonder replaces SP Marais at fullback.
 
For the Griquas there are also a few changes, and they seem to be there to match the Sharks in their physicality and kicking game play.
 
"Currently, we aren't on the same level as other sides with regards to physicality. We need to step it up," Griquas coach HawiesFourie said.
 
"Hilton Lobberts has just returned from a hamstring injury and we are glad, because he ads another dimension to our physical approach. Hopefully he will provide the spark we need."
 
The Griquas coach also welcomed the return of fullback Gouws Prinsloo after a lengthy ankle injury. He had been included in the side with Francois Brummer moving back to flyhalf and youngster Dean Grant relegated to the bench.
 
"Gouws is one of the best goal kickers in the country. If you get a chance at points, you know that there is a pretty good chance that you are going to bag them.
 
"He hails from the Sharks and knows how to kick at a difficult venue like Kings Park. His experience from his earlier days will be worth a lot."
 
Prediction: The Griquas still remain winless and do not seem to be reaching any great heights in the campaign - perhaps the two red cards in four games has something to do with it. The Sharks may have suffered a shock loss but it seems like it may very well have been necessary with the coach, and the team, shaking off the cobwebs. expect the Sharks to come out firing and put away the Griquas by 12 points.
 
Teams:
 
Sharks: 15 Jaco van Tonder, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu (captain), 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Thomas du Toit. 
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Marco Wentzel, 19 Johan Meyer, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Tim Swiel. 
 
Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Johnathan Francke, 12 Gideon la Grange, 11 Petrus Vermeulen, 10 Francois Brummer (captain), 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Carel Greeff, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Nicolaas van Dyk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Burger Schoeman, 20 RJ Liebenberg, 21 Abrie Griesel, 22 Dean Grant.
 
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Francois de Bruin
TMO: Deon van Blommestein
 
Blue Bulls v Golden Lions
(Loftus versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT))
 
The Jukskei derby is always a fascinating one, even if the first of the season was a blow out in the favour of the Lions - this one should be very different.
 
The Bulls are another team that have been struggling this time round in the Currie Cup, some poor results in the first two rounds saw them bounce back against the Kings and then lose out narrowly to Province.
 
They did however show their horns in the Province game, and look to be much more of the Bulls of old.
 
This does not bode well for the Lions, for although they are still one of the tournament favourites, the Bulls at home, steadily improving, will be a difficult proposition.
 
"It is never easy facing them at Loftus, but that [challenge] was taken up another notch given the comments of [Blue Bulls coach] Frans Ludeke - who described this as the most important game of the season for them," Lions coach Johan Ackermann said.
 
"He made it clear it is a must win, as they can't afford any more defeats.
 
"That makes it very clear what will await us, no doubt we are in for a very tough and brutal encounter."
 
The Bulls have experimented, successfully, with some exciting youngsters such as Jesse Kriel and William Small-Smith.
 
However, with the injury to Kriel, Frans Ludeke has opted for a Springbok Sevens wing of his own.
 
Ludeke made a number of changes to his backline, with inside centre Burger Odendaal the only player to keep his place from the team that started against Western Province last week.
 
Jamba Ulengo replaces Akona Ndungane on the left wing while the Bulls welcome back their reliable flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter back.
 
 Prediction: Another tough one to call; although the Lions have done nothing wrong and are still by far a dangerous prospect, it feels as if the Bulls are slowly reviving and becoming a force of their own. The home ground advantage is a massive factor for them and the fact that Frans Ludeke is getting desperate means that the Lions could be in for a bit of a shock if they are not well prepared. The Bulls to take it by less than five.
 
 Teams
 
Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling. 
 Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Basil Short, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Ryan Nell.
 
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Mark Richards, 22 Howard Mnisi.
  
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen 
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Willie Vos
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