ABSA Currie Cup Preview – Week 11

Sep 22 • General News, National • 2789 Views • Comments Off on ABSA Currie Cup Preview – Week 11

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The Vodacom Blue Bulls have a tough task if they want to keep alive their Absa Currie Cup semi-final hopes when they travel to Johannesburg on Saturday to face the table-topping MTN Golden Lions.

 

On Friday in Cape Town, DHL Western Province host the resurgent Toyota Free State Cheetahs in a tricky encounter for the home team, after the side from Bloemfontein crushed The Sharks last weekend.

 

In the two other games of the weekend, GWK Griquas travel to Durban to face The Sharks, still hurting from their defeat in Bloemfontein last week, while both the Ford Pumas and the Platinum Leopards will be aiming for their second victory of the season in Nelspruit.

 

The Regent Boland Cavaliers have a great opportunity to close in on the first place on the standings when they host the Absa Currie Cup First Division log leaders, the EP Kings, in Wellington on Friday.

 

The Sharks vs GWK Griquas

 

The Sharks will be looking to build momentum as the Absa Currie Cup semi-finals inch closer when they play GWK Griquas at Mr Price Kings Park in Durban on Friday evening.

 

While The Sharks are currently third on the log, a win over Griquas can push them into second position, but the team from the Northern Cape, in fifth position, can also still make it into the semi-finals.

 

Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards knows they need to improve from last weekend’s performance if they are going to successfully defend their Absa Currie Cup title.

 

“We can’t go into the play-offs performing poorly. We are still in the top three and that’s after playing both good and bad rugby. That shows that we have something, but we’ve also let ourselves down at times, and now we just need to get that belief back,” he said.

 

“We haven’t been looking at the opposition and what they’re doing on the log, we need to find our own way and if we want to win this competition, we need to do better.

 

“I think Griquas will come down here desperate for the win that would keep them in line to secure a top four spot and they will come with the added confidence brought about by the fact that they beat us in the first round and quite convincingly. Making the semi-finals would be a huge thing for them,” said Reece-Edwards.

 

The Sharks vs GWK Griquas

Date: Friday, 23 September

Kick-off: 19:10

Venue: Mr Price Kings Park, Durban

Referee: Jason Jaftha

Last three games in Absa Currie Cup:

  • ·         10 July 2010: GWK Griquas won 40-34 in Kimberley
  • ·         27 August 2010: The Sharks won 48-30 in Durban
  • ·         5 August 2011: GWK Griquas won 43-33 in Kimberley

 

Ford Pumas vs Platinum Leopards

 

Injuries have wreaked havoc at both the Ford Pumas and the Platinum Leopards this season. The two teams at the bottom of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division face each other at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening.

 

The Pumas will be confident after securing their first victory of the season last weekend in Kimberley, while the Leopards hold the edge over the team from Mpumalanga after winning their first-round encounter.

 

Leopards coach Leon Boshoff realises his team have a big task on their hands against a Puma-side that have been unlucky in a number of their games so far this season.

 

“With all our injuries, this game against the Pumas will be a very big test of character, but we’ve shown a lot of character so far this season and I’m confident the guys can do it again,” said Boshoff.

 

Last year the Ford Pumas won both their encounters against the Platinum Leopards, but the side from North West turned the tide earlier this season in Potchefstroom.

 

Ford Pumas vs Platinum Leopards

Date: Friday, 23 September

Kick-off: 19:00

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Referee: Pro Legoete

Last three games in Absa Currie Cup:

  • ·         17 July 2010: Ford Pumas won 37-32 in Witbank
  • ·         3 September 2010: Ford Pumas won 27-26 in Potchefstroom
  • ·         5 August 2011: Platinum Leopards won 27-15 in Potchefstroom

 

MTN Golden Lions vs Vodacom Blue Bulls

 

Can the Vodacom Blue Bulls keep their Absa Currie Cup semi-final aspirations alive when they travel to Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg to take on the first-placed MTN Golden Lions on Saturday?

 

That question will be answered when the two Gauteng sides clash in a game that can determine the course of the season for both sides. A victory for the home team will put them in a good position to secure a home semi-final, while defeat for the visitors could see them miss out on the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

 

“I think the game will be special, obviously because it’s our big derby game. It is a big challenge for us and something the guys look forward to,” said Golden Lions captain Josh Strauss.

 

“We have had a good week, but we always know, it doesn’t matter what the log looks like, the Blue Bulls will come for us. It is a massive game and we have to man up and pitch on the day.”

 

Even though they are languishing in sixth place on the log, Pine Pienaar, coach of the Vodacom Blue Bulls, is adamant his team are still in the race for the playoffs.

 

“We cannot look at other teams and hope for them to do us any favours. We need to knuckle down and beat the Lions, because only then we will remain in control of our destiny,” said Pienaar.

 

MTN Golden Lions vs Vodacom Blue Bulls

Date: Saturday, 24 September

Kick-off: 15:00

Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg

Referee: Lourens van der Merwe

Last three games in Absa Currie Cup:

  • ·         31 July 2010: Vodacom Blue Bulls won 32-18 in Johannesburg
  • ·         18 September 2010: Vodacom Blue Bulls won 24-21 in Pretoria
  • ·         6 August 2011: MTN Golden Lions won 36-27 in Pretoria

 

DHL Western Province vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs

 

It will be a massive challenge against a team with their heads up, but one DHL Western Province will be ready for when they take on the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

 

While Province lost in Pretoria last weekend, the Free Staters played arguably their best rugby of the season as they beat The Sharks by 53-32 in Bloemfontein. It was a complete performance and DHL WP are expecting more of the same this weekend.

 

Matthew Proudfoot, assistant coach of DHL WP, says they know what to expect from the Cheetahs and will have to be at their best to stop them at Newlands.

 

“The Cheetahs will play how they have all season – they are looking to score tries and to play a running game. They play a very high impact game as well and then unleash the backs out wide. It is what they do well and it will be a huge challenge,” said Proudfoot.

 

The home team have been plagued by injuries all season and have lost three more players this week, with Steven Kitshoff (prop), Nic Groom (scrumhalf) and Isma-eel Dollie (flyhalf) all out. Johann Sadie (centre) have been struggling with a stomach bug.

 

Proudfoot said: “Injuries are devastating for the players involved. Rugby is their livelihood and when it goes badly it has a lot of effect on them. It is sad to see a guy who is playing well go down injured and it is something that we have to manage with all the players.

 

“From the team perspective we need to look at the positives and see that it is an opportunity for another guy to put his hand up and take his chance in the side. In that sense Allister (Coetzee, WP head coach) has handled the situation really well and credit goes to him. If we had a different approach we may not have handled the situation so that is definitely a positive.”

 

DHL Western Province vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs

Date: Saturday, 24 September

Kick-off: 17:05

Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town

Referee: Stuart Berry

Last three games in Absa Currie Cup:

  • ·         10 July 2010: DHL WP won 25-11 in Bloemfontein
  • ·         27 August 2010: Toyota FS Cheetahs won 29-24 in Cape Town
  • ·         6 August 2011: Toyota FS Cheetahs won 28-22 in Bloemfontein

 

Absa Currie Cup First Division

 

The Regent Boland Cavaliers have a great opportunity to close in on the first place on the standings when they host the Absa Currie Cup First Division log leaders, the EP Kings, in Wellington on Friday.

 

It’s the unbeaten Kings’ last league game as they have a bye next week, while the Cavaliers, six points behind EP on the log, still have to play SWD in George next weekend.

 

A win for Boland is non-negotiable if they want to top the log before the semi-finals. Both these teams are, however, already assured of home ground advantage in the playoffs.

 

Meanwhile, the four other teams in the First Division will be involved in a tight race for the remaining playoff spots in the next two weeks. All four of the Tasol Solar Griffons, SWD Eagles, Valke and Border Bulldogs can still make the semi-finals.

 

The Griffons (third on the log), playing in their final league match, host the Bulldogs (sixth) in Welkom on Saturday, while the Eagles (fourth) travel to Kempton Park to play the Valke (fifth).

 

Regent Boland Cavaliers vs EP Kings

Date: Friday, 23 September

Kick-off: 15:00

Venue: Boland Park, Wellington

Referee: Marius Jonker

Last four games in Absa Currie Cup First Division:

  • ·         31 July 2010: EP Kings won 33-22 in Wellington
  • ·         10 September 2010: EP Kings won 23-16 in PE
  • ·         8 October 2010: EP Kings won 26-25 in PE (semi-final)
  • ·         12 August 2011: EP Kings won 23-18 in Port Elizabeth

 

Tasol Solar Griffons vs Border Bulldogs

Date: Saturday, 24 September

Kick-off: 15:00

Venue: North West Stadium, Welkom

Referee: Joey Salmans

Last three games in Absa Currie Cup First Division:

  • ·         6 August 2010: Border Bulldogs won 22-20 in East London
  • ·         18 September 2010: Tasol Solar Griffons won 48-33 in Welkom
  • ·         12 August 2011: Border Bulldogs won 26-21 in East London

 

Valke vs SWD Eagles

Date: Saturday, 24 September

Kick-off: 15:00

Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park

Referee: Quinton Immelman

Last three games in Absa Currie Cup First Division:

  • ·         14 August 2010: SWD Eagles won 55-47 in Kempton Park
  • ·         24 September 2010: SWD Eagles won 57-35 in George

12 August 2011: SWD Eagles won 24-15 in George

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