MyCityByNight rugby aficianado and sports writer Brigadier Dylok has given his view of this weekends Currie Cup action. What are your views?
Friday, October 1.
Sharks vs Leopards (19:10)
To go into an in-depth analysis about the top of log vs the bottom feeders would be pointless. The sharks will look to build continuity with the semi finals in sight and will win with a bonus point.
15. Louis Ludik 14. Odwa Ndungane 13. Andries Strauss 12. Riaan Swanepoel 11. Lwazi Mvovo 10. Andre Pretorius 9. Charl McLeod 8. Keegan Daniel (capt) 7. Willem Alberts 6. Jacques Botes 5. Gerhard Mostert 4. Steven Sykes 3. Jannie du Plessis 2. Craig Burden 1. Eugene van Staden
Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper 17. Patric Cilliers 18. Anton Bresler 19. Michael Rhodes 20. Rory Kockott 21. Patrick Lambie 22. Luzuko Vulindlu
15. Cecil Dumond, 14. Kempie Rautenbach, 13. Jovan Bowles, 12. Walter Venter, 11. Dumisani Matyeshana, 10. Clayton Durand, 9. Tiaan Dorfling, 8. Riaan Swanepoel (captain), 7. Wilhelm Koch, 6. Victor Hugo Joubert, 5. Edrich Linde, 4. Bradley Mockford, 3. Os Van der Walt, 2. Gavin Williamson, 1. Bennie Uys
Replacements: 16. Pellow van der Westhuizen, 17. Eric Meyer Coetzee, 18. Anthonie Gronum, 19. RW Kember, 20. Theuns Kotze, 21. Ghafoer Luckan, 22. Jan van Zyl
Saturday, October 2.
Bulls vs Western Province (15:00)
In the days of isolation when South Africa was not allowed to compete on an international level we had to rely on our brutal derby days for our fix of top intensity rugby. This clash will be no exception. The intensity and physicality at which this game is to be played will be incredible.
Traditionally the Bulls have held the upper hand over WP but this one in very tough to call.
The Bulls will welcome back the worlds premier loose head prop Gurthro Steenkamp while WP have just lost Wicus Blaauw so look for the Bulls to have a slight edge up front. Captain Anton van Zyl together with Adriaan Fondse will have their work cut out for them despite facing the Bulls 4th and 5th choice locks. Look out for the bulldozing runs of Flip van der Merwe.
The Loose trio of the Bulls lacks both class and experience due to injuries and Springbok duty. Derick Kuun was a good hooker but a pretty average loosie and while CJ Stander and Okkie Kruger are exciting young talents they will do brilliantly to best the powerful province back row of Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw and Pieter Louw. Look for Dewalt Potgieter to come on early in the second half and put in a workman like performance.
In the halfbacks it is another story. Francios Hoagaard is in another league to Dewaldt Duvenage and this will be evident come Saturday afternoon. Hougaard will be supplying Jacques-Louis Potgieter with some brilliant ball allowing him to get the upper hand over Willem de Waal in the territory battle. However if the WP loose forwards are not delt with it will be de Waal who will pin the Bulls back deep in their half. If de Wall is put under pressure his enormous boot will be nullified the exciting WP backline will have to attack from deep.
In the centre’s the chasm of class in enormous. If Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh are supplied with quality ball it will be bad news for Stefan Watermeyer and Jaco Pretorius who will battle to contain the pair.
Another WP weapon is Gio Aplon who can be devastating on attack so the Bulls will look to limit his opportunities and space. Equally impressive is Gerhard van den Heever who seems to have gone off the boil since his impressive super 14 so he will be looking to push hard for a Springbok place during the November grand slam tour. Look out for some typically superb defence from Zane Kirchner
If the defending champions wish to be guaranteed a home semi final they will need to win with a bonus point. This will be an absolute cracker and I think the Bulls will take it in the end at home by just 5 points!
Blue Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 François Hougaard, 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7 Okkie Kruger, 6 Derick Kuün (captain), 5 Fudge Mabeta, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Dewald Potgieter, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Stephan Dippenaar.
Western Province: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Juan De Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Pieter Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (captain), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nick Köster, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Paul Bosch
Pumas vs Griquas (15:00)
With these two teams well and truly out of the running there will be only pride to play for.
Look for powerful performances from some of the countries most underrated players. Sarel Pretorius, Rian Viljoun and Bjorn Basson. They may be from a smaller union but they play a big game. However I doubt anyone will watch this game over the big north south derby.
15. Johan Jackson, 14. Conrad Marais, 13. Shaun Venter, 12. Juan Visser, 11. Nicky Kritzinger, 10. Ricardo Croy, 9. Jacques Coetzee, 8. Christo le Roux, 7. Alwyn Bester, 6. Corne Steenkamp, 5. Marius Coetzer, 4. Luan Velthuizen, 3. Ashley Buys, 2. Hannes Franklin (captain), 1. Ronnie Uys
Replacements: 16. Hansie van Dyk, 17. Dawie Steyn, 18. Willem Jacob Serfontein, 19. Jaco Bouwer, 20. Hendrik van der Nest, 21. Elgar Watts, 22. Ashwin Scott
Cheetah’s vs Lions (17:10)
In effect this is a quarterfinal. Who ever wins is likely to make it through to the semi finals and the loser will not.
The Cheetahs boast a formidable front row in both scrumming and ball carrying ability so upfront they will need to make this advantage count. The Lions will most likely have the edge at lineout time with captain Franco van der Merwe calling the shots.
The battle of the loose forwards will be an almighty one. Both cats enjoy a mix of youth and experience. The cheetahs have possibly the most underrated 8th man in the country in Ashley Johnson. Look for his bulldozing runs. Wikus van Heerden has not found his form since returning to his old club and a lot will be expected of him come Saturday.
The Lions will have the edge with their halfbacks. Jano Vermaak and Elton Jantjies are very quickly growing as a unit. Vermaak has struggled to replicate previous form since returning from injury and the Boks are in need of a quality deputy to Hougaard on the November tour so a strong performance could aid his cause. Elton Jantjies will be a Springbok soon, Its just a matter of time. Quality showings could see him in the green and gold as early as November. Tuwis de Bruyn and Louis Strydom have been solid this season but will have to raise the bar considerably to contain the pace of the Lions duo.
Doppies la Grange and Waylon Murray are forming a solid centre combination and it about time Robert Ebersohn produced a good performance. The entire Lions backline have been impressive under John Mitchell but will have to put in a massive performance if they wish to break the Cheetahs formidable defence. The Lions will surely miss young sensation Jaco Taute at fullback.
A tough one to call but a fired up Cheetahs should take it at home by 5 points!
Lions: 15 Michael Killian, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies La Grange, 11 Deon van Rensburg , 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Joshua Strauss, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe (captain), 4 George Earle, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Wayne Swart, 18 Trevor Hall, 19 Warren Whiteley, 20 JP Joubert, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Marius Delport.
Free State Cheetahs:15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Philip Snyman, 13. Robert Ebersohn, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Corné Uys, 10. Louis Strydom, 9. Tewis de Bruyn, 8. Ashley Johnson, 7. Christoffel Philippus Van der Walt, 6. Hendro Scholtz, 5. Waltie Vermeulen, 4. Francois Uys, 3. Willem Petrus Nel, 2. Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1. Coenie Oosthuizen
Replacements: 16. Skipper Badenhorst, 17. Kobus Calldo, 18. Izak van der Westhuizen, 19. Kabamba Floors, 20. Tertius Carse, 21. Sias Ebersohn, 22. Riaan Smit
In true MyCityByNight style, it would be wrong not to end off with some rugger cheer leaders!