Bulls coach Pote Human looks for better handling against Lions
The Sharks and the Blue Bulls have different Currie Cup outcomes on their minds ahead of their clashes against the Free State Cheetahs and the Golden Lions respectively.
The big cat challenge can't be called iffy in this single-round tournament but the Cheetahs have understandably been toothless while the Lions will be facing their first serious test of their campaign under Ivan “Cash” van Rooyen.
The Golden Lions‚ who will be without Australia-bound Ross Cronje‚ will travel the 56km up the N1 to face the Bulls in the Trans-Jukskei derby‚ which takes on significance in the single-round nature of the tournament.
The Lions also have Lionel Mapoe‚ who didn't make the Springbok travelling cut‚ while Dillon Smit starts in Cronje’s absence.
Blue Bulls coach Pote Human was happy to have Trevor Nyakane back in the starting lineup as the tighthead has finally recovered from injury.
With Jesse Kriel having joined the Springboks‚ JT Jackson gets a start at 12 with Johnny Kotze moving to 13 while Eli Snyman and Jano Venter swap places with Ruan Nortje and Thembelani Bholi. Ivan van Zyl and Tinus de Beer will also make appearances from the bench.
Human said they need to improve on their atrocious handling that played a role in their 26-10 loss to the Sharks in Durban on the weekend.
“The Lions will throw the ball around and if that doesn’t work‚ they’ll go back to what works for them in regards the forwards. We’re going to have to be ready for that challenge‚” Human said.
“It was our errors that really cost us last weekend. We had numerous chances that we didn’t convert and I guess it can only become better.
“The players have come with the idea of training better so that they don’t knock on or throw the ball away. We’ve worked hard on keeping the ball this week.”
The Cheetahs are clearly focusing on the Pro14 that starts on Friday but they haven’t won a game so far‚ which makes their position difficult.
They were bullied and battered by Western Province at a saturated Newlands and an impressive Sharks side will offer them no respite.
The Cheetahs will be captained by Rudy Paige and will feature five debutants in Louis Conradie‚ Adriaan Carelse‚ Jannes Snyman‚ Luigi van Jaarsveld and Abongile Nokontwana.
The Cheetahs have only three players in flyhalf Louis Fouche‚ lock Dennis Visser and tighthead prop Günther Janse van Vuuren who took part in last week’s 32-0 loss in Cape Town.
Sharks captain Mahlatse “Chiliboy” Ralepelle will lead an unchanged starting side in Bloemfontein but cautioned against underestimating the Cheetahs.
“I don’t think the Cheetahs will be under-strength but I think it presents an opportunity for us to excel and play to our standards‚” Ralepelle said.
“Keeping to our standards and executing our plans is going to be a massive challenge and the team are going to be desperate because they’ve lost their last three games so they’re in desperate need for points.
“It’s going to be a tough encounter for us but so long as we keep to our plans and structures‚ it’ll be key for this weekend.”
Pumas v Western Province (Mbombela Stadium‚ 6‚30pm)
Free State v Sharks (Free State Stadium‚ 2pm)
Blue Bulls v Golden Lions (Loftus Versfeld‚ 4.05pm)
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Adriaan Carelse‚ 14 Ali Mgijima‚ 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee‚ 12 Tertius Kruger‚ 11 Lloyd Greeff‚ 10 Louis Fouche‚ 9 Rudy Paige (c)‚ 8 Niell Jordaan‚ 7 Gerhard Olivier‚ 6 Stephan Malan‚ 5 Dennis Visser‚ 4 Louis Conradie‚ 3 Gunther Janse van Vuuren‚ 2 Reinach Venter‚ 1 Kevin Steven.
Subs: 16 Jannes Snyman‚ 17 Johan Kotze‚ 18 Luigi van Jaarsveld‚ 19 Abongile Nokontwana‚ 20 Dian Badenhorst‚ 21 Vuyani Maqina‚ 22 Reinhart Erwee.
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch‚ 14 Kobus van Wyk‚ 13 Jeremy Ward‚ 12 Marius Louw‚ 11 Lwazi Mvovo‚ 10 Robert du Preez‚ 9 Louis Schreuder‚ 8 Daniel du Preez‚ 7 Tyler Paul‚ 6 Wian Vosloo‚ 5 Hyron Andrews‚ 4 Gideon Koegelenberg‚ 3 John-Hubert Meyer‚ 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (c)‚ 1 Juan Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren‚ 17 Khutha Mchunu‚ 18 Andrew Evans‚ 19 Luke Stringer‚ 20 Cameron Wright‚ 21 Johan Deysel‚ 22 Aphelele Fassi.
Blue Bulls – 15 Divan Rossouw‚ 14 Jade Stighling‚ 13 Jonny Kotze‚ 12 JT Jackson‚ 11 Jamba Ulengo‚ 10 Manie Libbok‚ 9 André Warner‚ 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c)‚ 7 Jano Venter‚ 6 Ruan Steenkamp‚ 5 Eli Snyman‚ 4 Hendré Stassen‚ 3 Trevor Nyakane‚ 2 Jaco Visagie‚ 1 Matthys Basson.
Subs: 16 Edgar Marutlulle‚ 17 Conrad van Vuuren‚ 18 Ruan Nortje‚ 19 Thembelani Bholi‚ 20 Ivan van Zyl‚ 21 Tinus de Beer‚ 22 Duncan Matthews.
Golden Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee‚ 14 Sylvian Mahuza‚ 13 Lionel Mapoe‚ 12 Howard Mnisi‚ 11 Courtnall Skosan‚ 10 Shaun Reynolds‚ 9 Dillon Smit‚ 8 Hacjivah Dayimani‚ 7 Len Massyn‚ 6 James Venter‚ 5 Marvin Orie‚ 4 Rhyno Herbst‚ 3 Johannes Jonker‚ 2 Corné Fourie‚ 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 Pieter Jansen‚ 17 Danie Mienie‚ 18 Jacobie Adriaanse‚ 19 Reinhard Nothnagel‚ 20 Vincent Tshituka‚ 21 Madosh Tambwe‚ 22 Wandisile Simelane.