Rugby not played on paper
Cape Town – Western Province may be considered overwhelming favourites for Saturday’s Currie Cup semifinal against Free State at Newlands, but recent history suggests the tag is unjustified.
Free State have featured in five of the last six Currie Cup finals from 2004, while WP have not played in a final since 2001.
Province are the favourites on paper – as they were when they lost semifinals to Free State in 2004 and 2005. Rugby, however, is not played on paper and Free State’s performances in the Currie Cup in recent seasons have been impressive.
“We had a strong belief in our ability in the Super 14, but the Currie Cup is Free State’s terrain. That is where they flourish,” said WP captain Schalk Burger.
“They are a tight-knit group and play with a lot of confidence. We have not achieved much as a group over the last eight years and would like to make a final. The men from the Free State are coming to Newlands to beat us. They believe they can do it because they have done it before.”
Free State caused big upsets in 2004, 2005 and 2009 by winning their semifinals against WP and then the Sharks.
In 2005 they beat the Blue Bulls in the final at Loftus Versfeld and in 2006 they shared the spoils with a draw.
As far as 2007 is concerned it was a World Cup year and therefore no surprise that Free State won the competition.
15. Conrad Jantjes, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan
de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Willem De Waal,
9. Ricky Januarie, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Francois Louw, 6. Schalk
Burger (captain), 5. Anton van Zyl , 4. Adriaan Fondse, 3. Brok Harris,
2. Deon Fourie, 1. JD Moller
Replacements: 16. Hanyani
Shimange, 17. JC Kritzinger, 18. De Kock Steenkamp, 19. Pieter Louw,
20. Dewaldt Duvenage, 21. Lionel Cronje, 22. Paul Bosch
Free State Cheetahs:
Hennie Daniller, 14. Philip Snyman, 13. Robert Ebersohn, 12. Meyer
Bosman, 11. Corne Uys, 10. Louis Strydom, 9. Tewis De Bruyn, 8. Ashley
Johnson, 7. Juan Smith (captain), 6. Hendro Scholtz, 5. Waltie
Vermeulen, 4. Francois Uys, 3. WP Nel, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Coenie
Replacements: 16. Skipper Badenhorst, 17. CJ
van der Linde, 18. Izak vd Westhuizen, 19. Kabamba Floors, 20. Tertius
Carse, 21. Sias Ebersohn, 22. Riaan Smit