Boks to trigger repeat final?

2011-10-15 22:00

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Boosted by significant batches of returning Springboks, the Sharks and Western Province could yet repeat their 2010 presence in this year’s Absa Currie Cup final.

The two coastal franchises have been easily the main beneficiaries of welcome strengthening of their respective arsenals after South Africa’s quarter-final exit from the World Cup – there was evidence of that in abundance during the last series of round-robin fixtures this weekend.

Instead of coming home jaded and depressed after the controversial loss to Australia in Wellington a few days ago, players like Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh and Schalk Burger showed plenty of gusto as Province secured fourth spot on the table in beating the Pumas 43-18 at Newlands, whilst the “grunt” of such customers as Willem Alberts and Bismarck du Plessis (both off the bench in the second half) was instrumental in the Sharks easily achieving their objective of a home semi-final against the Cheetahs.

The champions thrashed the table-topping Lions, who started with a weakened XV knowing that their own home semi was already assured, with the required bonus point to pip the Free Staters to second place and force Naka Drotske’s charges to make travel plans for next Saturday.

Meanwhile the Lions, presumably not too miffed about playing clear second fiddle in Durban given that there was so little at stake for them, will entertain Province -- as heavily anticipated despite the Bulls’ gutsy attempt to stay in the last-four picture -- at Ellis Park.

Considering that they thumped WP 42-25 at the venue only a week ago, the Highveld side will certainly still feel that they have their beating once again.

But it is also obvious that the visitors will enter the knockout phase with a significantly less wet-behind-the-ears team than the one they fielded in the heavy reverse.

That will apply especially to the backline, of course -- although Burger’s frenzied work-rate and physical relish will make a difference up front, the WP tight five as presently constituted is no great shakes at all with key surnames like Bekker and Elstadt absentees from the second row and two loosehead props, Steven Kitshoff and Wicus Blaauw, also out for the remainder of the season.

They have too few reliable lineout forwards available and the scrum was in disconcerting reverse at times against the meaty Pumas pack in a scrappy encounter marked by flashes of brilliance – several of them from the in-form Bok midfielder De Villiers, who led Province on the day.

The Sharks, meanwhile, appear to be hitting some fresh momentum at a good time: watered-down Lions side or not, going past the 50-point mark was a strong signal of semis intent.

Their opponents next week, the Cheetahs, are not finding tries hard to come by – they got six in the 49-39 derby win against Griquas on Saturday -- but a feeling persists that their defence can be a little porous and the battlers from Kimberley cashed in at times.

Home advantage could be a vital factor for the Sharks: in “league” play this season each side won their respective home fixture – the Cheetahs prevailed 53-32 in Bloemfontein on September 17, whilst the Sharks triumphed at Mr Price Kings Park 43-34 on July 30.

In last year’s final, the Sharks comfortably saw off Province 30-10 in Durban.

Semi-final line-up on Saturday, unless any scheduling changes are made:

14:30: Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban; 17:00: Lions v Western Province, Johannesburg.


  • Brannas - 2011-10-15 22:08

    The only problem here is that the WeePee got no chance in hell to get past the Lions. 11 year Losers.

      wenwe - 2011-10-15 23:16

      hahahaha ... sorry what was the score against the Sharkies .... yes sshhhh, and get back in your hole!

      William - 2011-10-16 00:05

      wenwe.... the lions squad today was very experimental as they have top spot no matter what! you are a fool to think that tonights game meant anything!

      Tiaan - 2011-10-16 08:52

      Lions going to thrash the WeePee this coming weekend, can't wait to hear the whole lot of them after the game. If by any chance the Lions lose because of Bryce Lawrence I will congrats the WEER PROBEER. Good luck boys and train hard.

      gerhard.nel - 2011-10-16 09:58

      Ek sien Brannas het geen vriende op facebook nie. maak sin.

      Michael - 2011-10-16 10:08

      How very knowledgeable you are @Brannas - don't forget your half a Viagra tonight :p

      Wilbur - 2011-10-16 10:17

      Shame, and why so bitter? oh yes, because your team came nowhere this year! If WP lose to the Lions, it still changes nothing: Bulls are out. Support your team, and stop knocking WP. That's just common! Bulls are legendary, but are having a bad run. They deserve more honour than you are bringing to them.

      paul.ramncwana - 2011-10-16 11:09

      @William spoken like a true loser!!!!

      Brannas - 2011-10-16 13:41

      @Gerhard Nel, en ek sien jy is dommer as dom, Ek voel vir jou perd, moet maar swaar wees om so deur die lewe te gaan. shame.

  • Pieter - 2011-10-15 22:20

    Too early for Province to think of the final! We are still missing some big canons up front (Bekker, Elstadt, Vermeulen) and our props worry me. However, if the Lions plays anything like they did today against the Sharks, we should make the final. Before today I strongly favoured Cheetahs to make it through to the final, but the Sharks seem to have finally found form. If it turn out to be a Province-Shark final, it would be better than I expected at the start of the Currie Cup season. It will be a welcome bonus seeing that injuries still hamper us mercilessly. Can we capture the Cup? I doubt, but everything is possible and I will stand squarely behind my team. Go, Province! Bring the Cup back home where it belongs!

      Fuf - 2011-10-15 23:13

      @Pieter I didn't know you play for Province, i see you reckon "we" should make the final. Jy's darem maar 'n klein tosser

      Neels - 2011-10-16 05:44

      Face facts, die cup gaan terug Vrystaat toe. Die jong spelers gaan die bokke ore aansit

  • Robert - 2011-10-15 22:24

    @Brannas, wait till the fat lady sings. WP jou lekker ding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Brannas - 2011-10-16 09:44

      ag jou ou dronk peopol, waarvan praat jy tog

  • Dawie - 2011-10-15 22:30

    My span is uit so nou moet ek maar iemand anders support - Go Province - net omdat julle so baie beserings gehad het die jaar en nog steeds die semi's gemaak het !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Fuf - 2011-10-15 23:11

    Tipies WP, hulle is alweer in die final!! Wen eers die Lions julle outjies, glo my, 11 jaar sonder 'n koppie is om die draai

      Pieter - 2011-10-16 00:32

      Haai, shut up! jy't jou kans verbeur om kommentaar te lewer toe jou patetiese ou spannetjie (weer) afgek*k het. Gaan koop nog spelers in en dan gesels jy volgende jaar weer saam - as jou gelapte span dalk iewers kom.

      Fuf - 2011-10-16 18:20

      @Pieter die pedofiel Hi foeitog, het oom 'n humeur probleempie? Weet oom hoe lyk oom se terminale ileum van die binnekant af?

  • Justin - 2011-10-16 07:28

    Where are all the bulls supporters on this forum?? So quiet today - they must be at church, praying...

      Neels - 2011-10-16 07:48

      LOL The bulls thought wrong.....good players but bad supporters

  • duncan.willis - 2011-10-16 07:38

    Gonna be a great weekend of rugby next weekend!

  • paul.ramncwana - 2011-10-16 11:16

    The Blue Bulls can still make the SEMI's!!! They just need to go buy the tickets at Shoprite. hahahahahahahaha WP jou lekker Ding!!!!!

  • peter.britz1 - 2011-10-16 11:29

    WP were not convincing at all, and if they can't even handle the Puma scrum, they will be massacered by the Sharks/ Cheetahs packs

      Pieter - 2011-10-16 15:26

      Oh, easy, we'll get Bryce Lawrence and/or just go for uncontested scrums! There are always ways around such awesome packs. Can these two teams run with us?

      Fuf - 2011-10-16 18:23

      @Pieter ( die onnosel een sonder hare) Ek weet van hoerskool spanne wat die WP van hul voete sal hardloop

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