PREVIEW: Western Province v Golden Lions
CURRIE CUP SEMIFINAL: The clash between Western Province and the Golden Lions will mark the sixth time the teams meet in the play-off stages since 2011 – two of which were in the Currie Cup finals of 2015 and 2014, with each of the teams winning one.
The results were similar in the pool stages this season with the Capetonians winning the clash at Newlands 39-3, while the Gauteng side won the return match at Ellis Park by 29-20.
The hosts have a good track record against the Golden Lions in Cape Town with their last home defeat in the competition being in 2012, but the Johannesburg team come off two wins a row, and they will want to build on this as they stake a claim for a place in the Final.
Western Province made one change to their pack and three positional switches among their backs, with flank Kobus van Dyk earning a start, while Dillyn Leyds moves from wing to fullback, with Ruhan Nel taking his place out wide and EW Viljoen returning to the midfield next to Huw Jones.
The Golden Lions, in turn, made only two personnel changes to their run-on team with Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx and prop Ruan Dreyer being included in the front row alongside prop and captain Jacques van Rooyen.
Western Province head coach John Dobson has outlined key areas where his side will need to dominate if they are going to beat the Lions.
"We coaches will worry about the result, they players must worry about just working," said Dobson.
"The Lions' threats are at the breakdown - they turned over a lot of ball against the Cheetahs, so we need to react to the clean[out] and likewise on defence we want line speed and we have to be there.
"So, our big emphasis this week has just been our work off the ball. If we play well off the ball we will win."
The last time the Lions played at Newlands they were hammered, but that was with an inexperienced team.
Despite having a couple of Springboks back for this weekend's, clash Lions head coach Swys de Bruin said it will not make things easier in Cape Town.
"This is a more experienced team, but whether you are young or old, Newlands is a difficult place to play at the with their home fans.
"We definitely have a more experienced team but it is not going to get any easier," said De Bruin.
De Bruin said they will not change the way they play just because it is a play-off.
"We are trying to keep it as any other game, otherwise you are easily take your focus away from what you want to achieve," he added.
Players to watch:
For Western Province: Dillyn Leyds is dangerous from the fullback position and he creates something out of nothing for his team on attack. Flyhalf Robert du Preez was fantastic in his side's win over the Sharks last week and he would want to carry that form into Saturday's semifinal. In the pack, locks John Schickerling and Chris van Zyl have been exceptional in the physical stuff and the line-outs, while prop Wilco Louw will be a key player in the scrums.
For Golden Lions: Centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg brings power and aggression out wide, while wing Aphiwe Dyantyi is a deadly finisher when he is put into space. In the forwards, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, and Jacques van Rooyen make up a formidable front row. In the back row, Albertus Smith always has an unbelievable work rate, while Len Massyn is a bright prospect for the future.
Head to head: The battle in the midfield will be an intriguing one. Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Harold Vorster will look to impose themselves physically against the WP duo of Huw Jones and EW Viljoen. However, the WP combination have proved how lethal they can be when breaking up defences. There will also me a mouthwatering battle in the scrums with the likes of Wilco Louw and Jacques van Rooyen going up against each other.
2017: Golden Lions won 29-20, Johannesburg
2017: Western Province won 39-3, Cape Town
2016: Golden Lions won 58-32, Johannesburg
2015: Golden Lions won 32-24, Johannesburg (Final)
2015: Golden Lions won 62-32, Johannesburg
Prediction: Western Province are at home and they have produced some excellent rugby this season. However, they have also been very inconsistent and it is difficult to know which team will show up. The Golden Lions have a lot of experienced players for this clash and they will be motivated to prove to people that they can beat Province at Newlands. It is tough, but we think Western Province will win by eight points or less.
Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Ruhan Nel, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 John Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Allister Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Damian Willemse.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Albertus Smith, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Len Massyn, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen (captain).
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee , 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Rhyno Herbst, 20 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 21 Sylvian Mahuza, 22 Ashlon Davids, 23 Robert Kruger.
Date: Saturday, October 21
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Expected weather: It will be partly cloudy with a high of 20°C with a moderate breeze.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Shaun Veldsman