ABSA Currie Cup First Division Preview – Round 4

Jul 19 • General News, National • 1952 Views • Comments Off on ABSA Currie Cup First Division Preview – Round 4

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Defending Absa Currie Cup First Division champions the Regent Boland Kavaliers will be attempting to break their duck in this year’s competition when they welcome unbeaten log leaders the Griffons to the unfamiliar surrounds of Worcester’s Boland Park on Friday.

In the day’s other match, the competition’s only other unbeaten team, the EP Kings, host the bottom-of-the-table Border Bulldogs in what promises to be a tightly-contested Eastern Cape derby at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (SS1, 19:10).

Saturday sees two mid-table clashes, with the sixth-placed Valke travelling to Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit to face the fifth-ranked Ford Pumas, while the Leopards, currently lying fourth, are at home to the third-placed SWD Eagles in Potchefstroom.

The Griffons, after early-season wins over the Valke, Leopards and Bulldogs, have a full house of 15 logs points – one ahead of the EP Kings. But the men from Welkom will have to pull out all the stops if they are to register a first-ever victory over the Kavaliers in Worcester after losing three of their Cheetahs-contracted players who turned out in last week’s 29-24 victory over Border.

Veteran fullback Philip Burger is replaced by the dependable Tiaan van Wyk, who moves from flyhalf to the last line of defence; Derick van Heerden takes over from PW van Vuuren at hooker; and Boetie Groenewald packs on the side of the scrum in place of Francois Uys.

Van Wyk’s shift to fullback means the impressive Tertius Maarman keeps his place at flyhalf, while the side is once again captained from midfield by Werner Griesel, whose partnership with the abrasive Japie Nel will be crucial to the outcome from a Griffons point of view.

Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse meanwhile has to do without the competition’s top try-scorer, flanker Jaco Bouwer, who is injured, while he has also replaced eighthman Doppies le Roux and scrumhalf Shaun Venter with RW Kember and Faf de Klerk respectively, in the hope of turning around his team’s fortunes after suffering two defeats in their opening three matches.

The Leopards, who, like the Pumas, have also lost two of their opening three matches, have made wholesale changes to their pack ahead of their clash against the Eagles, including the introduction of teenaged lock Armandt Liebenberg. Veteran Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius takes his place in the starting team as does former Lions hooker Edgar Marutlulle.

Griffons left wing Reinhardt Erwee tops the First Division point-scoring log after Round 3, with 45 points made up of three tries, six conversions and six penalties. Just behind Erwee is EP Kings flyhalf George Whitehead on 44, with Eagles No 10 Kurt Coleman in third place on 35.

Ford Pumas flanker Jaco Bouwer leads the try-scoring stakes with four touchdowns, followed by Erwee and Leopards wing Danie Dames, with three tries apiece.

This weekend’s fixtures – Round 4:

Regent Boland Kavaliers vs Griffons

Date: Friday, 20 July

Kickoff: 16:00

Venue: Boland Park, Worcester

Referee: Archie Sehlako

Assistants: Joey Salmans, Linston Manuels

Last meeting: 7 October 2011 in Wellington (First Division): Boland won 50-20.

 

EP Kings vs Border Bulldogs

Date: Friday, 20 July

Kickoff: 19:10 (TV)

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Referee: Quinton Immelman

Assistants: Marius van der Westhuizen, Christie du Preez

TMO: Johann Meuwesen

Last meeting: 16 March 2012 in Port Elizabeth (Vodacom Cup): Kings won 40-23.

 

Ford Pumas vs Valke

Date: Saturday, 21 July

Kickoff: 15:00 (TV)

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Referee: Marius Jonker

Assistants: Lesego Legoete, Stefan Breytenbach

TMO: Deon van Blommenstein

Last meeting: 10 March 2012 in Kempton Park (Vodacom Cup): Pumas won 55-30.

Leopards vs SWD Eagles

Date: Saturday, 21 July

Kickoff: 15:00

Venue: Profert Olën Park, Potchefstroom

Referee: Stuart Berry

Assistants: Tiaan Jonker, Francois de Bruyn

Last meeting: 19 March 2011 in Mafikeng (Vodacom Cup): Leopards won 47-8.

Round 3 results:

Valke 20-37 EP Kings

SWD Eagles 22-16 Ford Pumas

Griffons 29-24 Border Bulldogs

Regent Boland Kavaliers 21-23 Leopards

 

Round 2 results:

EP Kings 38-15 SWD Eagles

Border Bulldogs 11-33 Valke

Ford Pumas 33-10 Regent Boland Kavaliers

Griffons 41-20 Leopards

 

Round 1 results:

Regent Boland Kavaliers 20-25 EP Kings

SWD Eagles 46-8 Border Bulldogs

Leopards 32-23 Ford Pumas

Valke 27-37 Griffons

 

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