Siya Kolisi's first Currie Cup appearance in five years highlights the national rugby agenda
While the Springbok loose forward battle for Rugby World Cup spots will be heating up in Argentina‚ Siya Kolisi's first Currie Cup appearance in five years highlights the national rugby agenda.
It's true the Springboks have the Rugby Championship to win‚ which they will do should they beat Argentina in Salta on Saturday with a bonus point win.
However‚ the fitness of their captain has been an issue‚ with Kolisi having missed the latter stages of the Super Rugby tournament and the entire Rugby Championship with a knee niggle.
Kolisi will be starting at flank on Friday against the Pumas at Newlands.
He should have a decent trial before putting up his feet to watch his team-mates on Saturday evening.
The Pumas aren't an easy side to play against anywhere and they'll ask questions of a Western Province side that's battling to find the kind of consistency that's seen them cruise to two consecutive finals.
They've lost their last two matches to the Sharks away and the Golden Lions at home.
The single round nature of the tournament means two or more losses could be terminal.
As things stand‚ John Dobson's side are fourth with seven points from three matches.
The log is propped up by the Blue Bulls who have won only one of their four matches with five points.
A win for Western Province will put them six points clear of the Blue Bulls‚ whom they've beaten already.
The Blue Bulls will travel down the N1 highway from Pretoria to Johannesburg to face the Golden Lions on Saturday afternoon.
A loss for the Blue Bulls will further negate their already fragile play-off hopes.
Only two rounds of round-robin games after the long weekend fixtures‚ meaning that teams can ill-afford to drop points for whatever reason.
This also applies to the Sharks‚ who are hosting the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday at 3pm.
The Sharks‚ who inexplicably dropped points against the Pumas last week‚ have six points from their three games.
They showed glimpses of their ability in their home win against Western Province two weeks ago‚ but inconsistency can also be fatal in this tournament.
A win for the third-place Cheetahs could go a long way in terms of making sure the table-topping Griquas (four matches; 15 points) are kept on a leash.
The Golden Lions are two points behind the Griquas with one less game‚ but the off-colour Blue Bulls should provide points for the Lions.
The Griquas have a bye before two consecutive home games against Western Province and the Golden Lions to wrap up their campaign.
Currie Cup match-day squads
Western Province v Pumas (Newlands‚ Friday‚ 3pm)
15 Dillyn Leyds‚ 14 Sergeal Petersen‚ 13 Ruhan Nel‚ 12 Dan Kriel‚ 11 Seabelo Senatla‚ 10 Josh Stander‚ 9 Justin Phillips‚ 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ 7 Ernst van Rhyn‚ 6 Siya Kolisi‚ 5 JD Schickerling‚ 4 Chris van Zyl (C)‚ 3 Wilco Louw‚ 2 Scarra Ntubeni‚ 1 Corne Fourie.
16 Chad Solomon‚ 17 Kwenzo Blose‚ 18 Neethling Fouche‚ 19 Salmaan Moerat‚ 20 Nama Xaba‚ 21 Godlen Masimla‚ 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis‚ 23 Edwill van der Merwe.
15 Devon Williams‚ 14 Morné Joubert‚ 13 Alwayno Visagie‚ 12 Ryan Nell (C)‚ 11 Etienne Taljaard‚ 10 Christopher Smith‚ 9 Ashlon Davids‚ 8 Jeandre Rudolph‚ 7 Willie Engelbrecht‚ 6 Francois Kleinhans‚ 5 Stefan Willemse‚ 4 Le Roux Roets‚ 3 Marne Coetzee‚ 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg‚ 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
16 Simon Westraadt‚ 17 De-Jay Terblanche‚ 18 Hilton Lobberts‚ 19 Phumzile Maqondwana‚ 20 Ginter Smuts‚ 21 Jacobus Marais‚ 22 Ruwellyn Isbell‚ 23 Morgan Naude
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Paul Mente‚ Aimee Barrett-Theron
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans
Sharks v Free State Cheetahs (King's Park‚ 3pm)
15 Aphelele Fassi‚ 14 Kobus van Wyk‚ 13 JP Pietersen‚ 12 Jeremy Ward (C-C)‚ 11 Lwazi Mvovo‚ 10 Curwin Bosch‚ 9 Sanele Nohamba‚ 8 Tera Mtembu (C-C)‚ 7 Jacques Vermeulen‚ 6 Phendulani Buthelezi‚ 5 Hyron Andrews‚ 4 Ruben van Heerden‚ 3 Coenie Oosthuizen‚ 2 Kerron van Vuuren‚ 1 Mzamo Majola.
16 Craig Burden‚ 17 Juan Schoeman‚ 18 John-Hubert Meyer‚ 19 Gideon Koegelenberg‚ 20 Evan Roos‚ 21 Cameron Wright‚ 22 Marius Louw‚ 23 Rhyno Smith.
15. Clayton Blommetjies‚ 14 Carel-Jan Coetzee‚ 13. Benhard Janse van Rensburg‚ 12‚ Dries Swanepoel‚ 11. Sibahle Maxwane‚ 10. Louis Fouche‚ 9. Tian Meyer (C)‚ 8. Henco Venter‚ 7. Abongile Nokontwana‚ 6. Junior Pokomela‚ 5. JP du Preez‚ 4. Sintu Manjezi‚ 3. Aranos Coetzee‚ 2. Joseph Dweba‚ 1. Charles Marais
16. Jacques du Toit‚ 17. Ox Nche‚ 18. Reinach Venter‚ 19. Walt Steenkamp‚ 20. Gerhard Olivier‚ 21. Jasper Wiese‚ 22. Dian Badenhorst/Tapiwa Mafura‚ 23. Ruan Pienaar
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Archie Sehlako‚ Blake Beattie
TMO: Christie du Preez
Golden Lions v Blue Bulls (Ellis Park‚ 5.15pm)
15 Tyrone Green‚ 14 Madosh Tambwe‚ 13 Wandisile Simelane‚ 12 Eddie Fouche‚ 11 Stean Pienaar‚ 10 Shaun Reynolds‚ 9 Ross Cronje (C)‚ 8 Hacjivah Dayimani‚ 7 Len Massyn‚ 6 Marnus Schoeman‚ 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys‚ 4 Ruben Schoeman‚ 3 Johannes Jonker‚ 2 Pieter Jansen‚ 1 Sti Sithole
16 Jan-Henning Campher‚ 17 Leo Kruger‚ 18 Chergin Fillies‚ 19 Rhyno Herbst‚ 20 Vincent Tshituka‚ 21 James Venter‚ 22 Dillon Smit‚ 23 Duncan Matthews
15 Divan Rossouw‚ 14 Cornal Hendricks‚ 13 Johnny Kotze‚ 12 Dylan Sage‚ 11 Rosko Specman‚ 10 Manie Libbok‚ 9 Ivan van Zyl (C)‚ 8 Tim Agaba‚ 7 Wian Vosloo‚ 6 Fred Eksteen‚ 5 Ruan Nortje‚ 4 Andries Ferreira‚ 3 Wiehahn Herbst‚ 2 Johan Grobbelaar‚ 1 Dayan van der Westhuizen.
16 Jaco Visagie‚ 17 Madot Mabokela‚ 18 Conraad van Vuuren‚ 19 Adre Smith‚ 20 Jean Droste‚ 21 Embrose Papier‚ 22 Marnitz Boshoff‚ 23 Stedman Gans.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius‚ Jaco Kotze
TMO: Lesego Legoete