Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Preview – Round 5

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Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Preview – Round 5

The Absa Currie Cup Premier Division reaches the halfway stage this coming Saturday with three matches that could split open what remains a tightly bunched pack in the six-team strength-versus-strength competition.

Log leaders the Sharks, with 14 points from their four matches, will look to increase their lead at the top of the standings when they travel to GWK Park in Kimberley to face bottom-of-the-table GWK Griquas at 15h00.

The Durban side will be full of confidence following their remarkable 34-32 come-from-behind victory – their third in four matches – over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Mr Price Kings Park last weekend.

But they face a home side who broke a three-match duck in spectacular fashion last week when they beat the defending champion MTN Golden Lions 42-32 at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg.

The second match sees the Vodacom Blue Bulls host the Lions at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria at 17h05.

The Blue Bulls find themselves in the unfamiliar position of second-from-bottom after a 42-6 defeat at the hands of DHL Western Province last week, and will look to climb up the table by putting one over their Gauteng rivals in the big Jukskei derby.

Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar has chosen Warwick Tecklenburg to start at openside flanker while Francois Venter returns to the No 12 jersey in place of Jan Serfontein, who returns to the province’s Under-21 team.

And in the final match of Saturday’s triple-header, the third-placed Toyota Free State Cheetahs are at home to WP, with kick-off at 19h10.

The Cape side will travel to the Free State Stadium looking for a third win from five matches following their convincing win over the Blue Bulls, but they face a Cheetahs outfit still smarting at their last-gasp loss to the Sharks, and buoyed by the return from injury of Springbok flanker Heinrich Brüssow.

WP head coach Allister Coetzee has selected Nic Groom and Damian de Allende to start following their impressive showings against the Blue Bulls. Groom comes in for the injured Dewaldt Duvenage while De Allende replaces wing Ederies Arendse in another injury-enforced change.

Vodacom Blue Bulls flyhalf Louis Fouché tops the Premier Division point-scoring log after Round 4, with 66 points made up of six conversions, 17 penalties and a drop goal. Behind Fouché in second place is Sharks centre Meyer Bosman on 41, with WP flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis third on 40.

Sharks wing Odwa Ndungane and Cheetahs wing Raymond Rhule lead the try-scoring stakes with four touchdowns apiece, with Blue Bulls loose forward CJ Stander and Griquas wing Rocco Jansen on three apiece.

This weekend’s fixtures – Round 5:

GWK Griquas vs Sharks

Date: Saturday, 8 September

Kickoff: 15h00

Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley

Referee: Lesego Legoete

Assistants: Jaco Peyper, Francois de Bruin

Television match official: Shaun Veldsman

Last meeting: 23 September 2011 in Durban (Premier Division): Sharks won 29-18

Vodacom Blue Bulls vs MTN Golden Lions

Date: Saturday, 8 September

Kickoff: 17h05

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Jason Jaftha

Assistants: Marius Jonker, Stefan Breytenbach

Television match official: Johann Meuwesen

Last meeting: 24 September 2011 in Johannesburg (Premier Division): Blue Bulls won 21-18

Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs DHL Western Province

Date: Saturday, 8 September

Kickoff: 19h10

Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

Assistants: Joey Salmans, Francois Groenewald

Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee

Last meeting: 24 September 2011 in Cape Town (Premier Division): Cheetahs won 34-20

Round 4 results:

MTN Golden Lions 32-42 GWK Griquas

Sharks 34-32 Toyota Free State Cheetahs

DHL Western Province 42-6 Vodacom Blue Bulls

Round 3 results:

Vodacom Blue Bulls 42-31 Sharks

MTN Golden Lions 26-23 DHL Western Province

GWK Griquas 16-29 Toyota Free State Cheetahs

Round 2 results:

Toyota Free State Cheetahs 32-18 Vodacom Blue Bulls

Sharks 30-14 MTN Golden Lions

GWK Griquas 20-25 DHL Western Province

Round 1 results:

Vodacom Blue Bulls 35-20 GWK Griquas

MTN Golden Lions 43-20 Toyota Free State Cheetahs

DHL Western Province 23-25 Sharks

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