Four of the five Springbok squad members released for Currie Cup duty this weekend will take to the field for their respective provinces in a timely boost as the sides look to build momentum in the competition.
Vodacom Blue Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant, DHL Western Province winger Dillyn Leyds, and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs duo of Francois Venter (centre) and Oupa Mohoje (flank) have all been handed starts as the Currie Cup – proudly sponsored by Nashua and DirectAxis – enters the sixth round.
In a full weekend of action, DHL Western Province will host the Xerox Golden Lions in Cape Town on Friday, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs will take on the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein in a repeat of last year’s final on Saturday, and Tafel Lager Griquas will take on the Steval Pumas in Kimberley on Sunday. The Cell C Sharks have a bye.
The clash between the Xerox Golden Lions and DHL Western Province on Friday evening in Cape Town is expected to be thrilling as both teams have battled to build momentum this season, while they have developed a solid rivalry over the years.
The last time the Johannesburg team defeated DHL Western Province at DHL Newlands was in 2012, but anything can happen on Friday as the Xerox Golden Lions will be desperate to bounce back from two defeats, while the hosts will want to build on their victory at home last week.There were only two changes to the Capetonians’ starting team, with flanker Cobus Wiese making his debut and Leyds replacing Bjorn Basson, while the Xerox Golden Lions will be led by prop Jacques van Rooyen following the injury to Ryan Kankowski in a team that also shows few changes to last week.
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs will be hunting their third successive Currie Cup win against the Vodacom Blue Bulls. The last time the teams met was in the 2016 Final, which the Free Staters won 36-16.
The defending champions have been bolstered by the return of Venter, who reclaims the captaincy, and Mohoje, in a team that sees several changes, while Dennis Visser and Ali Mgijima could make their debuts off the bench.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais also drafted in Gelant, while Burger Odendaal will lead the team in the absence of Boom Prinsloo, who is sick.
In Kimberley, Tafel Lager Griquas will have their sights set on their third win in a row after toppling DHL Western Province and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and their fourth consecutive victory against the Steval Pumas and their when they line up in Kimberley.
The visitors from Mpumalanga will have everything to play for as they come off three straight defeats after kicking off the season with a victory against the Xerox Golden Lions.
The Kimberley outfit have won the last three matches between the sides since 2014, which should boost their confidence, while they will also look to take advantage of the fact that the Pumas come off a bye.
Steval Pumas flanker Chris Cloete will earn his first start after a number of appearances off the bench, in one of four personnel changes to the team, as the coaching staff opted for continuity in selection for the clash.
Currie Cup Round 6 fixtures:
Friday, 18 August:
DHL Western Province v Xerox Golden Lions
DHL Western Province – SP Marais, Seabelo Senatla, EW Viljoen, Huw Jones, Dillyn Leyds, Damian Willemse, Jano Vermaak, Nizaam Carr, Cobus Wiese, Jaco Coetzee, JD Schickerling, Chris van Zyl (captain), Wilco Louw, Scarra Ntubeni, JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: Ramone Samuels, Caylib Oosthuizen, Michael Kumbirai, Eddie Zandberg, Steph de Wit, Dewaldt Duvenage, Dan Kriel.
Xerox Golden Lions – Sylvian Mahuza, Madosh Tambwe, Harold Vorster, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Antony Volmink, Jaco van der Walt, Marco Janse van Vuuren, Fabian Booysen, Robert Kruger, Cyle Brink, Marvin Orie, Andries Ferreira, Jacques van Rooyen (captain), Robbie Coetzee, Corne Fourie. Replacements: Michael Willemse, Johannes Jonker, Rhyno Herbst, Hacjivah Dayimani, Jack Hart, Siya Masuku, Aphiwe Dyantyi.
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Referees: Quinton Immelman & Kwezi Mqomboti
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
Saturday, 19 August:
Vodacom Blue Bulls v Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Warrick Gelant, Kefentse Mahlo, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal (captain), Jamba Ulengo, Tony Jantjies, Piet van Zyl, Nic de Jager, Abongile Nonkontwana, Shaun Adendorff, Ruben van Heerden, Irne Herbst, Conraad van Vuuren, Jan-Henning Campher, Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Dayan van der Westhuisen, Jano Venter, Marco van Staden/Clyde Davids, Andre Warner, Joshua Stander, JT Jackson.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Clayton Blommetjies, Sergeal Petersen, Francois Venter (captain), William Small-Smith, Makazole Mapimpi, Ryno Eksteen, Zee Mkhabela, Jasper Wiese, Oupa Mohoje, Gerhard Olivier, Rynier Bernardo, Armand Koster, Tom Botha, Jacques du Toit, Ox Nche. Replacements: Erich de Jager, Joseph Dweba, Dennis Visser, Henco Venter, JP Smith, Ali Mgijima, Rosko Specman.
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Paul Mente & Monray Gillbert
TMO: Pro Legoete
Sunday, 20 August:
Tafel Lager Griquas v Steval Pumas
Tafel Lager Griquas – TBA
Steval Pumas – Gerrit Smith, Jean-Paul Lewis, Jerome Pretorius, Hennie Skorbinski (captain), Ruwellyn Isbell, Justin Van Staden, Stefan Ungerer, Francois Kleinhans, Lambert Groenewald, Chris Cloete, Hugo Kloppers, Stefan Willemse, Pieter Scholtz, Mark Pretorius, Khwezi Mona. Replacements: Frank Herne, De-Jay Terblanche, Lindsay Cameron, Thembelani Bholi, Carel Greeff, Reynier Van Rooyen, Sias Ebersohn.
Venue: Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe & Mpho Matsaung
TMO: JJ Wagner