The Currie Cup Bulletin #15

With the countdown to the Currie Cup Premier Division playoffs having started, the Lions and Cheetahs will realise the importance of winning on the road this weekend if they are to keep in touch with the top teams on the log.

The men from Johannesburg are off to Kimberley to face a confident Griquas side on Friday, and on Saturday the Free Staters are in action against Western Province in Cape Town.

The final match of the weekend is a top-of-the-table clash between the Sharks and Bulls in Durban, after both teams agreed to move the game to the coast after it was initially scheduled for Pretoria.

The Currie Cup First Division is now in the knockout phase and for two of the teams in action this weekend, it will be their final match of the season. Both matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

The Leopards host the Boland Kavaliers in the first semi-final in Potchefstroom on Friday afternoon, and the second playoff is on Saturday morning in Welkom, where the Griffons take on the Valke.

Meanwhile, Scarra Ntubeni has been cleared to play on Saturday, after the Western Province hooker appeared at a judicial hearing earlier in the week following his sending off in the match against the Bulls last Friday.

The judicial officer found that while there was foul play, it wasn’t intentional or reckless – the initial contact was below the shoulders and the lowering of the opponent’s body caused the left upper arm of Ntubeni making contact above the shoulders (neck/chin) – and that the red card has since been expunged.

Premier Division

Burger Odendaal will be running out in his 50th Currie Cup match on Friday afternoon, and the Lions will be keen to make it a memorable occasion for the experienced midfielder when they take on the high-flying Griquas in Kimberley.

The last time these two teams clashed was a few weeks ago in round six, when Griquas caused an upset to win by 41-31 in Joburg, as they started their push up the standings.

Playing in Kimberley is never easy, and the Lions will remember their last outing to the Northern Cape, which they won after the match was ended early due to inclement weather.

On Friday evening, the Bulls will be in a unique situation when they are playing a “home game” against the Sharks in Durban.

The teams decided to switch the venue after the Durbanites missed out on a number of home games cancelled due to the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, while the Bulls also contributed R100,000 to the Sharks’ ‘Hands of Hope’ fundraising campaign, aimed at rebuilding KZN by uplifting communities and people’s livelihoods.

The last time these two sides – currently occupying the top-two spots on the Premier Division log – met in the Currie Cup, was the nail-biting 2020 final in Pretoria, where the Bulls scored the match-winning try in the final minute of extra time.

The final match is on Saturday afternoon in Cape Town, where both Western Province and the Cheetahs will be giving their all for a win to ensure they remain close to the top four.

These two sides are currently in fifth and seventh positions on the log, although the Free Staters have a game in hand, and they will be hoping for a repeat of their sixth-round clash, when the men in white delivered a superb performance to win by 38-21 in Bloemfontein.

The New Nation Pumas are not in action this weekend and if WP can win on their home ground on Saturday, they will move past the Lowvelders into fourth spot on the log.

Match information:

Griquas vs Lions

Friday, 6 August

Venue: Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley

Kick-off: 2:30pm

Referee: Griffin Colby

Assistant referees: Local appointments

Television match official: Ben Crouse

TV: SuperSport

Sharks vs Bulls

Friday, 6 August

Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban

Kick-off: 7pm

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

Assistant referees: Local appointments

Television match official: Cwengile Jadezweni

TV: SuperSport

Western Province vs Cheetahs

Saturday, 7 August

Venue: Newlands, Cape Town

Kick-off: 2:30pm

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Assistant referees: Local appointments

Television match official: Egon Seconds

TV: SuperSport

Post by

Dylan Jack