Cape Town - 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.
Blue Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant, Western Province winger Dillyn Leyds, and the Free State Cheetahs duo of Francois Venter (centre) and Oupa Mohoje (flank) have all been handed starts as the Currie Cup enters the sixth round.
In a full weekend of action, Western Province will host the Golden Lions in Cape Town on Friday, the Free State Cheetahs will take on the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein in a repeat of last year’s final on Saturday, and Griquas will take on the Pumas in Kimberley on Sunday.
The Sharks have a bye.
The clash between the Golden Lions and 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 Western Province at Newlands was in 2012, but anything can happen on Friday as the 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 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 Free State Cheetahs will be hunting their third successive Currie Cup win against the 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.
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, Griquas will have their sights set on their third win in a row after toppling Western Province and the Free State Cheetahs and their fourth consecutive victory against the 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 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.
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.