Currie Cup Predictions – Round 13

There will be no room for error in the penultimate round of the Currie Cup regular season this weekend, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

After their shock loss in Kimberley last weekend, the Cheetahs (41) have to bounce back to turn their final-round fixture against the Bulls (47), who have a bye this week, into a winner takes top spot showdown.

Griquas (26), the Sharks (24), and the Pumas (22) are in a race for the two remaining semi-final places and can ill-afford to lose this weekend, while the two teams out of the playoff picture, Western Province (13) and the Lions (10), will look to restore pride and finish on a positive note respectively.

The first of two fixtures on Friday will see Western Province play Griquas at the Danie Craven Stadium. This will be followed by a catfight between the Cheetahs and Pumas in Bloemfontein. Saving the best for last, the Sharks and Lions collide at Kings Park on Saturday.

Western Province v Griquas

Friday, 03 June – 16:00

Redemption is on Province’s mind after mentor Jerome Paarwater labelled their 33-10 loss to the Lions last weekend their “worst performance” of the season. The Ellis Park pummelling also snuffed out the slim chance they’d had of sneaking into the semis.

Griquas, in contrast, set themselves up perfectly for a playoff berth with their stunning 46-18 upset win over the Cheetahs and a win in Stellenbosch would seal the deal if the weekend’s other matches pan out as expected.

Province will be better, but it’s a leap to suggest they’ll stop what’s a well-oiled machine by comparison.

Prediction: Griquas by 9.

Cheetahs v Pumas

Friday, 03 June – 18:00

It’s crunch time for these two teams. A second upset loss would all but dash the Cheetahs’ chances of leapfrogging the Bulls at the top of the log over the next fortnight, while defeat could spell the end of the Pumas’ playoff hopes.

Everything that could go wrong did for the Bloemfontein side last weekend, the major malfunction seeing their unblemished record go up in smoke. The Free Staters have been guilty of starting slow and sloppy for several weeks, and I believe the Central derby disaster will serve as a wake-up call for Ruan Pienaar and company.

Still, it’ll be a tough out against a Pumas team who’ll feel they were hard done by in the 31-26 loss to the log leading Bulls at Loftus, where they showed great heart after conceding a red and two yellow cards.

The Cheetahs prevailed 28-17 in the first tie in Nelspruit, where they had to rely heavily on their driving maul to get them over the line, and it should be a similar scoreline in the rematch.

Prediction: Cheetahs by 10.

Sharks v Lions

Saturday, 04 June – 17:00

The Durbanites could do nothing but watch as they dropped one place to fourth in their bye week and with this being their last home game, they’ll be extra motivated to get an all-important result in front of their home crowd.

Blown away 44-15 in Bloemfontein last time out, the Sharks have their work cut out for them again against what’s essentially the Lions’ United Rugby Championship side.

The transformed team, complete with Ivan van Rooyen taking over the coaching duties from Mziwakhe Nkosi, made light work of Province to finally break their duck and their class and cohesion should see them finish their torrid campaign with a win over a Sharks side who’ve been lacking in rhythm for most of the season and stand to be a bit rusty on top of that.

Prediction: Lions by 13.

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Author: editor

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