Back the boys from the Cape

2010-09-28 09:52

Gary Boshoff

The Currie Cup keeps getting better; for connoisseurs and fanatics alike.

On Saturday the race to the final took another unexpected twist when the Lions beat the Sharks in the dying seconds of their clash at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg. 

What a turnaround for the battering rams of Super Rugby - if they beat the Cheetahs on Saturday they will be in the playoffs! Who would have predicted that after their latest Super Rugby implosion in 2010?

However, the 'big one' of the coming weekend is yet again the classic North v South clash between the Blue Bulls and Western Province at Loftus Versfeld.

They played each other in final round of this year's Super 14 and in the final two weeks later when the Bulls triumphed at FNB Stadium. A fortnight earlier WP easily overcame a depleted Bulls side at Newlands.

WP fans must already be having visions of another disappointing end to another promising Currie Cup campaign. Remember last year when no-one gave the Blue Bulls a chance against WP at Newlands? Are the Blue Bulls out to spoil the WP party yet again?

Notwithstanding their recent domination over WP, I have to concede that even though the Blue Bulls will be at their beloved fortress Loftus, in my opinion, WP are odds-on favourites to take this one. What with at least six of the Blue Bulls’ first choice forwards not available for the match and a midfield full of gaping holes, things are indeed looking ominous for the sky blues. 

Jacques-Louis Potgieter is missing shots at goal with regularity and with Willem de Waal, a meticulous placekicker in opposition, it can only have dire consequences for the Currie Cup champions.

Add to that the tendency of Jaco Pretorius to slip tackles in the midfield and Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh will pose a massive challenge for the Bulls’ midfield on Saturday. 

The WP backs are in slick form and it is definitely one area where coach Allister Coetzee will look to breach the Blue Bulls’ defence. He will look to his Springbok centre paring to get Gio Aplon and new wing sensation, JJ Engelbrecht into space.

They like to play at a fast pace and have the loose forwards (Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen) to provide quick second phase ball to their dangerous backs.

The Blue Bulls definitely face their sternest test of the year and will have to dig really deep to contain WP. In fact, they will have to play way above their recent performance curve if they hope to win on Saturday.

The Bulls will look towards Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Gary Botha (if he recovers in time), Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner and Gerhard van den Heever to be at the top of their games for this match, then, maybe, just maybe, with a bit of luck, they will be able to pull this one off!

In Bloemfontein the Cheetahs will be too good for the resurgent Lions. John Mitchell has done miracles with his new Lions side, but the trip to Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein will be a bridge too far for them. They have however succeeded in restoring the honour in the Lions jersey and have attracted many of their erstwhile fans back to Coca-Cola Park – unthinkable a few months ago. This in itself is a major achievement. It is just a bit disconcerting that the architects behind the turnaround had to be imported from New Zealand.

Finally, the major objective for WP and the Sharks will be to finish top of the table and that will be the one factor that will be in the back of WP’s mind on Saturday. Hosting both a semi-final and final means lots and lots of surplus cash for the host union - cash that enables the union to acquire the best players, cutting edge technology and the latest support infrastructure essential for continued success in the never ending battle for supremacy. 

Perhaps it is the injection WP rugby needs to return to the top of the South African rugby hierarchy, a position they relinquished nearly 10 years ago when they last won the Currie Cup in 2001.

Gary Boshoff is a former SARU player and current Afrikaans rugby commentator on SuperSport.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


  • - 2010-09-28 10:07

    gary, how do you think the line outs will go? and the scrums with blaauw out? if the bergies backs are starved of the ball, there won't be much they can do. don't start opening the champagne just yet.

  • Laswka - 2010-09-28 10:25

    Gary - never a truer word spoken !!! Thanks for sticking to our boys in Cape Town Yes they will win this competition !!

  • CT - 2010-09-28 10:39

    Gary - nobody gives a rats a**e what you think!!! Every single match the Lions have played against the big 4 unions in the CC you have predicted a loss. Your hate for the Lions is obvious and can even be picked in in your commentary on Supersport! Do us all a favour and - next time you air your views do it without being prejudiced!

  • Gemsbok - 2010-09-28 10:51

    Ag Gary my bra, It seems you had one kick to many against the head while you were playing little leagu. Or might it be you had one papsak to many? Why would we want to back the bergies from the cape? Wat het jy gerook my broer?

  • Snot & Trane - 2010-09-28 11:04

    Remember the year 2002 ??? The Bulls came stone last in the S14, loosing all their games. The Currie Cup saw them recovering with a very young Derick Hougaard playing a major role. They made an away semi at Kingspark and won it. They then won the CC final against the Lions, and so started a golden period of Bulls Rugby. Now look at this year's Lions - stone last in the S14, loosing all their games. Resurgent in the second half of the CC with a very young flyhalf....... My money is on the Lions to make the play-offs, and don't be surprised if they win. Just by the way, the other Semi in 2002 was between the Lions and Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The Lions won, with a young Jaque Fourie scoring twice on the right wing. And no, this is not wishful thinking, just an example of what can happen. I'm a WP man, and I pray that this doesn't happen. But the Lions is just that little more hungry, with a severely bruised ego..... Will Mitchell be the Heyneke of the Lions?

  • skimma - 2010-09-28 11:17

    typical WP supporter. Celebrate the victory before the game has even started. The arrogance of WP and their supporters is their biggest enemy!

  • mountaingoat - 2010-09-28 11:42

    hoekom gaan comment julle boertjies nie erens anders nie?

  • @ Gary - 2010-09-28 11:43

    Gary, jy het seker 'n verloor teen die Sharks ook voorspel - en toe? Jy weet jy gee my sommer 'n kramp in my g@t. Blerrie eier!

  • Johan Boxer - 2010-09-28 12:24

    Itis clear that Mister Boshoff is aiming for a job at ABSA. Sorry Mate, you speak Afrikaans and are still a kwota!

  • BLIKSNAAR - 2010-09-28 12:25

    Gary I agree with you 100% . WP by 10-15 points, including the ALL important bonus point... Wee Pee groete!!!

  • Cheetah - 2010-09-28 12:38

    Im 'n big Cheetah supporter, but Gary... Come on!!! I have 2 say that i think the Lions will be 2 good for the Free State on Saturday! They play gr8 rugby at the present and will be a very hard side 2 stop, no matter where they play. I will be on Loftus Saturday (rooting for the Bulls). Would like 2 see the province fall on their a...s...s! Good luck Cheetahs, you might just need it.... Hope not though!

  • Bloue - 2010-09-28 12:53

    Tyd sal leer watter span gaan seevier.Ek glo die Bulle doen hul huiswerk en gaan dit n taaie wees. Loftus is nie Nuweland nie.Ek sit my pitte op die Bloues. WP is overated.

  • @Moutaingoat - 2010-09-28 12:53

    Why dont you go and play in the moutains with the bergies like a proper moutaingoat and los Afrikaans en die boertjies uit ou snoekvreter. Hoekom is Gary nie liewer 'n Engelse kommentator op supersport terwyl hy 'n engelse rubriek hanteer nie. Vat wat jou toekom ou tietstrep (my bra!)

  • Gary PissOff - 2010-09-28 13:40

    Gary you suck and you have stupid looking face....... I go onto your articles just to read everyone chirp you how K*K you are! A*****e

  • Raka13 - 2010-09-28 14:28

    Gary, don't count your chickens, we cannot be sure of a definite win. You don't write very good articles.

  • DeonL - 2010-09-28 15:35

    Never write of the Bulls at Loftus, they have at least a 50/50 chance of winning. Province have less to lose as they are still firmly at 2nd place.

  • Ian - 2010-09-28 16:20

    @Cheetah. Pity the Lions only play Grade 8 rugby (GR8). The Cheetahs play Matric. (Write in English next time, this is not MXIT).

  • JOHN - 2010-09-28 16:21

    Fortunatly your rugby knowledge is close to zero!!!

  • Bloke - 2010-09-28 16:43

    Ek kuier by my goose in Dubai sy is vanaf oos Europa, die naweek kyk ek so bietjie currie cup en sy weet niks van rugby af nie ,,,,toe sy die WP op die kassie sien reken sy "Who are these people wearing the jail clothes" was baie snaaks ......Bloubulgroete !!

  • Bossiebloubul - 2010-09-28 16:52

    hoe hou jy drank weg van die wp manne?.................gooi dit in a curry cup

  • Piet Parow - 2010-09-28 17:39

    WP to trounce the Tshwane Tstosi's 32-13.

  • Mike@CapeT - 2010-09-28 17:55

    Gary, thank you for your optimism and your belief in WP! I, however would prefer to remain guarded on this particular game. I would prefer the Bulls to go into the game as the favourites - as they should be, having home ground advantage. There is however, no reason why Province can't win this game!

  • William Shakespeare - 2010-09-29 00:45

    @Raka13 2010/09/28 02:28 PM: The writer is not saying that WP is going to win. He is saying that he thinks that WP are going to win, and provides motivation for his thinking. @CT 2010/09/28 10:39 AM: If you don't give a rat's posterior about what the writer thinks, then why do you read his article and reply to it in the forum? Crazy. @ Gary Boshoff: Yes, it's games like this one that make the Currie Cup such a great compo. As a Bulls supporter, I can't wait. If we win this one - with our depleted team - home ground advantage notwithstanding - then we will surely be contenders to go thru and take the cup (yet) again. Ikorwaytay!

  • Paul - 2010-09-29 06:01

    Gary, is jy seker die Bulls en Stormers het op die FNB Stadium gespeel???

  • Jawellnofine - 2010-09-29 07:12

    Lions are battering rams!!! Jeez what have you been watching?

  • Gabba - 2010-09-29 08:04

    Gary jy is reg. Die Cheetahs gaan die welpies stamp die naweek.

  • Weepee - 2010-09-30 13:07

    WP have shown a tendancy to disappear in the big games. In all their 3 losses this season they lost the plot and made some pretty fundemental mistakes. Everything is going to depend on whether Alister can keep them focussed without fear of loss. At their best they will comfortably but this Bulls side away. But they must overcome this fear of loss and play to the ability they are more than capable of. All I know is I'm in for another tense afternoon on Saturday.

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