Free State Cheetahs clash with Western Province on Sunday
After a high scoring start to the Currie Cup competition, the winners of the opening round will be looking for continuity while the losers will be seeking redemption.
It was the defending champions, the Free State Cheetahs, who kicked off the competition in grand style last week Friday as they blew away the Sharks in Bloemfontein and they will close off this weekend with a mighty clash against Western Province on Sunday.
Already a daunting prospect, especially at home, the Cheetahs will be showing off their latest acquisitions in former Southern Kings wing Makazole Mapimpi who will be making his first start since moving from Port Elizabeth while Malcolm Jaer will start on the bench.
For Western Province, they could not have asked for a tougher start to their domestic campaign than a trip to the heartland of local rugby against a team that is looking as formidable and unbeatable as last season.
The Pumas will want to capitalise on their good start, after beating the Golden Lions at home last week, when they travel to Durban – even with some changes to their team which include a starting role for former Kings flank Thembelani Bholi.
The Sharks have quickly moved to bolster their side after last week’s embarrassing defeat to the Cheetahs with the inclusion of Junior Springboks flyhalf Curwin Bosch (pictured), prop Thomas du Toit, Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle and the Du Preez brothers, Jean-Luc and Daniel.
The clash between the Lions and Griquas could be another spectacle after both teams went down last weekend to the Pumas and Blue Bulls, respectively, but did so with a fight and by playing some attractive attacking rugby that saw them just miss out. (See the full story on page 25)
Griquas have made some significant changes to their starting line-up with almost half the team sporting some new faces, with George Whitehead starting at flyhalf and the evergreen AJ Coertzen moving from fullback to wing and Eric Zana starting at No 15.
The Lions have also played musical chairs with their team and have bolstered it with the likes of wing Anthony Volminck, fullback Jaco van der Walt, prop Justin Ackerman and centre Jacques Nel.
The Blue Bulls are enjoying a bye this weekend ahead of their mouth-watering clash with the Lions next Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.