FS join bid for home semi

2011-09-17 22:25

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - The Cheetahs were arguably the biggest beneficiaries in the 10th round of Absa Currie Cup matches this weekend, entering the hunt for a key home semi-final in a big way.

Their unexpectedly handsome 53-32 victory over the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday, with a full house of five log points, meant they moved to within only two points of both second-placed Western Province and the Sharks, who are trailing the Cape side in third only on a “for and against” basis.

The two coastal sides both crashed in the latest round, with Province coming away with nothing to show for their efforts against the still-alive Blue Bulls in Pretoria.

At least the Sharks pilfered a four-try bonus point to take back to Durban, with Jacques Botes squeezing over in the 74th minute to make the margin of defeat a little less embarrassing.

But the Cheetahs have picked up a head of steam at a good time, and their four-match round robin run-in programme isn’t the worst in the world, either.

Naka Drotské’s charges face a critical fortnight with a visit to Newlands for the headline fixture against WP next Saturday, followed by the visit to “Bloem” of the unyielding Golden Lions who are now 10 points clear at the top.

If they win one of those, and then also relatively promising-looking final games against the Pumas and Griquas respectively, they ought to be right in the frame for a home semi.

With their teenage flyhalf Johan Goosen again hugely influential in all facets of play, the Cheetahs were full value for the statement-making outcome against a Sharks side strangely lacklustre on the defensive front at times.

It was a situation exploited by the likes of Ashley Johnson, the burly loose forward doing everything he could to match the running yardage of Danie Rossouw, that monumental presence in the Springboks’ impressive World Cup thrashing of Fiji just hours earlier.

So a three-way scrap is fast taking shape for second place on the final table, assuming that the Lions don’t mysteriously go off the boil in the next four weeks from their status at the head of the pack.

You could argue with some merit that they are not yet assured of top slot, given that their remaining matches are all against Test unions - Bulls at home, Cheetahs away, WP at home and Sharks away.

The Bulls would have been delighted just to win in the Loftus “north versus south” grudge match, keeping their own semis quest alive even if they failed to cross the whitewash for a fourth try in what was ultimately a hard-fought 28-20 win.

When Gary Botha’s side opened up a 20-3 lead in the first half, a runaway triumph seemed a fair prospect, and a more confident, ruthless Bulls side of old might not have let a particularly wet-behind-the-ears WP outfit claw their way back into the match, which is instead what transpired.

In a dramatic, thrilling passage of uninterrupted play for almost five minutes after the siren had sounded, both teams came close to getting an additional try and it would have been an especially rewarding occurrence for the visitors had they claimed their own fourth touchdown, because they would have grabbed not just one but two bonus points.

There is no let-up for Province, because they have about as stiff a three weeks ahead as you could imagine, before they wind up their campaign at home to the Pumas.

Their big problem is that for all the undoubted talent at their disposal - much of it U21 or only just beyond it - they do not currently have an experienced enough “spine” to the team which could yet prove costly as the competition heads for another nail-biting climax.

Getting a Pieter Louw, a JC Kritzinger and one or two other more seasoned heads back into the brew soon for balancing purposes could be a necessary development.

The Sharks have a better chance to restore a winning habit speedily when they entertain Griquas next weekend, with the men from the diamond fields reeling from a shock - and potentially very costly - home loss to the Pumas on Saturday.

Next weekend’s matches:

Friday: Pumas v Leopards, Nelspruit; Sharks v Griquas, Durban.

Saturday: Lions v Blue Bulls, Johannesburg; Western Province v Cheetahs, Cape Town.


  • BulvanBulle - 2011-09-17 22:46

    And the semi-finalists for 2011: Lions, Sharks, Bulls, Cheetahs

      Jan - 2011-09-18 03:56

      Jy is 'n regte grapgat, die finaal is Leeus teen Cheetahs/WP

      BulvanBulle - 2011-09-18 16:50

      @Jan breinchirurg WP in die final???? Ek weet 11jr is 'n lang tyd ou mofkop, maar dis ook die realiteit

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-19 10:59

      Final will be Lions vs Cheetahs

  • Kleinboet - 2011-09-17 22:56

    The Sharks and Cheetahs both leaked points showing that their defences are in tatters. But, then, WP has lately also come into that habit with Nienaber overseas with the Bokke. Bulls are constantly playing like a high school team even though they have some 9 Bokke in their team. Yeh, I suppose the Currie cup is up for grabs, but right now my money is on the Lions. They seem to be the more consistent team, even though it is only because they did not suffer huge losses due to Bok obligations.

      BulvanBulle - 2011-09-17 23:04

      And the finalists for 2011: Bulls vs Lions

      jk - 2011-09-19 08:36

      bulle- wake up son and stop smoking your own laundry.. after one win you rate yourselfs he???

      Makutu - 2011-09-19 08:43

      YOu must keep in mind the number of Lions players that have been injured. Despite all of that, the Lions are still winning. Wikus van Heerden, Waylon Murray, Lionel Mapoe, Des Fountain, James Kamana were or are all injured. JAno Vermaak also left. So, no excuses there. The Lions are just doing well. End of subject.

  • WPBLIKSEM - 2011-09-18 06:43

    I think, that based on the current log and the remaining games, this would be the FINAL log: 1. Lions 2. Cheetahs 3. Sharks 4. WP 5. Bulls 6. Griquas 7. Pumas 8. Leopards Semi's : Lions vs WP Cheetahs vs Sharks Spectators : The Bulls, Griquas, Pumas and Leopards Final : Cheetahs vs WP Spectators : The Bulls e.a Anyone who disagree???

      Vickers - 2011-09-18 07:00

      Agreed... mostly. Just one small detail that you have wrong there. Final: Lions vs Cheetahs.

      WPBLIKSEM - 2011-09-18 11:11

      @Vickers, as I said it's just a prediction, you might be right??

      Baylion - 2011-09-18 13:00

      Final log top 4 based on games to play (and the Lions losing to Cheetahs and Sharks LOL) Lions 54 Sharks 49 Cheetahs 45 WP 43 BTW the best the Bulls can do is 44 points (if they get 5 points per game) So Lions vs WP and Sharks vs Cheetahs semis Lions vs Sharks final Lions to win!

      BulvanBulle - 2011-09-18 16:53

      you fink hey you phink you also fought wp is gonna win the super15 and vodocom you also thuoght they gonna win 2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010 stop finking maybe

      BulvanBulle - 2011-09-18 17:21

      @Baylion Is jy simpel??????????????/ Hoe gaan WP by 43 kom??? Hulle speel Cheetahs, Sharks, Lions in 'n ry = 3 verlore. Max 2 bonuspunte en dan 5 punte teen Luiperds (ok nie guaranteed nie). Dit gee die Jokers 39 punte Ek voorspel WP gaan 5e op die log eindig en ons almal weer laat krul van die lag oor hoekom nie en die ref en "Watch ons volgende jaar"

      ArthurDent - 2011-09-18 20:53

      @BulvanBulle. Geoordeel aan die afgelope Saterdag se wedstryde gaan WP 4 kry teen die Sharks en minstens 1 teen die Cheetahs, dalk 1 teen die Leeus, plus die 5 teen die Luiperds plaas hul op 43.

  • crocowild - 2011-09-18 09:44

    Cheetah s het die goue gans[golden goose]gevind.Ongelukkig het hulle nie genoeg geld om hom te behou nie.Ongelukkig vir ons het die WP breintrust nie genoeg grysstof om die man te koop nie.Ek neem dus aan die Bulle of die Sharks sal die gelukkige wenners wees.Ek het nog net twee SA losskakels gesien sedert 1974 wat hierdie soort van talent gehad het en dit was Peter Kirsten en Naas Botha.Goosen is absoluut ongelooflik en is sonder tierlantyntjies.Cheetahs ,ek voel jammer vir julle want julle is regtig SA se rugby fabriek en jaar na jaar kom stroop die ander unies julle,net sodat julle elke jaar nuwe sterre moet ontwikkel.Elke groot unie behoort elke jaar n miljoen rand ontwikkelings fooi aan die Cheetahs te betaal.

      Cynix - 2011-09-18 11:12

      Ou krokodil jy som dit wonderlik op - maar onthou net semis en finals in Bloem spin nie die geld nie - maar die Cheetahs het vir Plonker skoon uit de prentjie gespeel. Hy sal more moet rekenskap gee! Spelers verander nie om nuwe unies te versterk nie - hulle sit 6 diep in ryk unies - vergete!

  • Sunray33 - 2011-09-18 10:05

    Final: Sharks vs.Lions.....Sharks to win by 8

      Red Lion - 2011-09-18 12:45

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha....thats what you guys think, remember we F%#KED you up 3weeks ago remember hmmmmm???

  • Daisy - 2011-09-19 09:39

    Does anybody no if Johan Goosen is joining the bulls? Hope not...........this guy is a talent for the future & I hope the cheetahs can keep him for a few seasons.

      jk - 2011-09-19 09:52

      no his not, fs got a sponsor to keep him...

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-19 11:31

      Good for the Cheetahs! He really is an amazing young player.

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