Expect surprises in evenly matched Currie Cup semifinals
The Currie Cup final can only go to one of three places – Johannesburg‚ Bloemfontein or Kimberley – and the teams taking part in the semifinals are evenly matched.
The Griquas and the Golden Lions square off in a rerun of last week’s pulsating game in Kimberley in Saturday’s later semifinal.
In the early semi the Sharks hop over the Drakensberg to Bloemfontein where the Cheetahs‚ who stunned Western Province with an impressive comeback win‚ will be waiting for them.
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The Cheetahs find themselves in the best position of all teams because the entire Currie Cup has taken place before the Pro14 season starts.
At times‚ their form has fluctuated‚ but they’ve been a difficult side to beat at home.
The Sharks got past them in Durban‚ but they needed a last-gasp Kobus van Wyk try to get past the nuggety Cheetahs.
Such is the seriousness of the fixture for the defending champions‚ they’ve called on all their available Springboks for this encounter.
Curwin Bosch‚ Andre Esterhuizen‚ Thomas du Toit‚ Coenie Oosthuizen and Lwazi Mvovo will all be starting.
JP Pietersen will be on the bench for the visitors‚ who’ve demonstrated in the past that they’re good at winning playoffs on the road.
They won last year’s final against Western Province in Cape Town after suffering a big defeat to the same team during the season. The Cheetahs aren’t easy beats and they’ve picked their best side for the encounter.
The Griquas’ state of mind will be in question after the departure of their coach Brent Janse van Rensburg.
The Griquas have done well to reach their first semifinal since 1998 and will again ask questions of a Lions side who have played well in patches this season.
However‚ Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen’s side have made their opportunities count this season and they’ll be a difficult side to beat‚ especially at home.
The nature of this season’s Currie Cup has been very dicey‚ so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the results are unexpected; that being a Griquas/Sharks final in the Northern Cape.
Currie Cup semifinals -
Golden Lions v Griquas (Ellis Park‚ 2pm)
Free State Cheetahs v the Sharks (Free State Stadium‚ 5pm)
Teams for the semifinals (Home team first)
Golden Lions – 15 Tyrone Green‚ 14 Madosh Tambwe‚ 13 Wandisile Simelane‚ 12 Duncan Matthews‚ 11 Stean Pienaar‚ 10 Shaun Reynolds‚ 9 Ross Cronje (capt)‚ 8 Hacjivah Dayimani‚ 7 Cyle Brink‚ 6 Marnus Schoeman‚ 5 Marvin Orie‚ 4 Ruben Schoeman‚ 3 Jacobie Adriaanse‚ 2 Pieter Jansen‚ 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher‚ 17 Dylan Smith‚ 18 Johannes Jonker‚ 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys‚ 20 Len Massyn‚ 21 Dillon Smit‚ 22 Jan-Louis la Grange‚ 23 Jamba Ulengo.
Griquas: 15 Anthony Volmink‚ 14 Ederies Arendse‚ 13 Michal Haznar‚ 12 Andre Swarts‚ 11 Eduan Keyter‚ 10 George Whitehead (captain)‚ 9 Christiaan Meyer‚ 8 Zandre Jordaan‚ 7 Sias Koen‚ 6 Gideon van der Merwe‚ 5 Victor Sekekete‚ 4 Ian Groenewald‚ 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen‚ 2 AJ le Roux‚ 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi‚ 17 Nqobisizwe Mxoli‚ 18 Johan Momsen‚ 19 Neill Jordaan‚ 20 Chriswill September‚ 21 Chris Smit‚ 22 Bjorn Basson‚ 23 Ruan Kramer.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge‚ Quinton Immelman
TMO: Christie du Preez
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies‚ 14 William Small-Smith‚ 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg‚ 12 Dries Swanepoel‚ 11 Tian Meyer (capt)‚ 10 Tian Schoeman‚ 9 Ruan Pienaar‚ 8 Henco Venter‚ 7 Abongile Nokontwana‚ 6 Junior Pokomela‚ 5 Walt Steenkamp‚ 4 Sintu Manjezi‚ 3 Erich de Jager‚ 2 Joseph Dweba‚ 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit‚ 17 Schalk van der Merwe‚ 18 Reinach Venter‚ 19 JP du Preez‚ 20 Gerhard Olivier‚ 21 Jasper Wiese‚ 22 Louis Fouche‚ 23 Darren Adonis.
Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi‚ 14 Kobus van Wyk‚ 13 Jeremy Ward (co-captain)‚ 12 Andre Esterhuizen‚ 11 Lwazi Mvovo‚ 10 Curwin Bosch‚ 9 Sanele Nohamba‚ 8 Tera Mtembu (co-captain)‚ 7 Jacques Vermeulen‚ 6 Phepsi Buthelezi‚ 5 Hyron Andrews‚ 4 Ruben van Heerden‚ 3 Coenie Oosthuizen‚ 2 Kerron van Vuuren‚ 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Richardson‚ 17 Mzamo Majola‚ 18 John-Hubert Meyer‚ 19 Gideon Koegelenberg‚ 20 Andisa Ntsila‚ 21 Cameron Wright‚ 22 Rhyno Smith‚ 23 JP Pietersen.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen‚ Paul Mente
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salman