Currie Cup 2019: Tafel Lager Griquas vs. DHL Western Province
Venue: Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley
Date: Friday, August 16, 2019
With two rounds left in the regular season of this truncated Currie Cup competition, it looks like the four playoff berths sides will come from the top five teams in the table. These teams have all played four games – the Bulls (sixth) and Pumas (seventh) have already played five – and all look to be capable of beating each other on any given day.
The Griquas are sitting atop the competition, alongside the Lions, with 15 points from four games. They are perhaps the most entertaining team to watch, with their three wins all coming in games where they have scored 37 points. This statistical anomaly has allowed them to beat the Bulls, Pumas, and Sharks, while their one loss was in a game where they were trounced 68-14 by the Cheetahs.
Western Province sit fourth in the table on 12 points from their four games. This leaves them tied on points with the third-placed Cheetahs and two points ahead of the fifth-placed Sharks. Their season has been inconsistent with an opening week win over the Bulls (20-5) and a win last time out against the Pumas (45-14) wrapping around a two-game losing streak against the Lions and the Sharks. WP needs to prove in this game that they have the ability to beat one of the better teams in the comp, something they have yet to do in 2019.
Griquas know that a win here will secure a place in the playoffs for them while also causing a serious blow to the chances of Western province picking up a semi-final berth of their own. Given that this would be the Griquas first semi-final spot since 1998, it is hard to underestimate the importance of the clash.
Expect to see the Griquas playing the same style of rugby that has got them to this point in the competition. That means that although keeping ball in hand is important, it is all about attacking from the right areas. To that end, don’t be at all shocked to see Griquas try to turn Western province around in the back three with a tactical kicking approach.
The preparation for this one has been less than ideal for the visitors as their team has once against been ravaged by a number of Springboks call-ups prior to this game.
WP has lost four players from their winning lineup last week for the clash with the Griquas, with Scarra Ntubeni, Wilco Louw, Dillyn Leyds, and Siya Kolisi all joining up with the national side. Replacing them in the side for the contest in Kimberley are SP Marais at fullback, JD Schuckerling on the flank, and Carlu Sadie and Chad Solomon in the front row. In better news for Western Province fans, Damian Willemse will be looking to join this one from the bench having recovered from injury.
Western Province are the favourites in the crucial tie. The Griquas have played one bad game this entire Currie Cup season – the blowout in Bloemfontein – but they have the benefit of a settled side and a home in Kimberley that has been something of a fortress this season. When you add in the number of Boks that have departed WP for national team duty it is almost hard to understand why they have been installed as favourites here.
Look for the underdogs to emerge victorious and seal their finals place at 1.80 with BetXChange.