The Currie Cup continues at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening with the Bulls looking to return back to winning ways when they take on the highly unpredictable Pumas.
Depleted Bulls lost their opening match of the competition to Western Province largely due to the fact their regular starting players were involved in the Pro14 Rainbow Cup final against Benetton Treviso last weekend.
A lot is expected from the Bulls who are back at full strength this weekend with coach Jake White having selected the strongest possible squad against the Lowvelders who have travelled to the capital full of confidence after beating the Lions last weekend.
In the other match, the Cheetahs will get their first taste of action in this season when they travel up the N8 to Kimberley to take on Griquas in what has become to be known as the Central Derby on Saturday.
In the First Division, the match between the Leopards and SWD Eagles that was scheduled for Potchefstroom on Saturday has been cancelled in line with Covid-19 protocols.
The decision was prompted by positive tests in the SWD Eagles team and as determined by the competition rules the Leopards will be awarded four log points because of the cancellation and the result will be noted as 0-0.
Bulls VS Pumas
Bulls coach Jake White will take the reins for this weekend’s Currie Cup clash against the Pumas after he missed the opening round against Western Province because they were involved in the Pro14 Rainbow Cup final where they lost to Benetton Treviso in Italy last weekend.
Simphiwe Matanzima is the only player in this weekend’s match-23 that played in last weekend’s Currie Cup match against Western Province as White has chosen a strong squad that boast players who were involved in last weekend’s final.
Among the forwards White has gone for hooker Schalk Erasmus, Springbok Lizo Gqoboka and Mornay Smith with Walt Steenkamp and Janko Swanepoel adding their weight to the tight five while Gerhard Steenekamp and Johan Grobbelaar have been given the much needed rest.
The Loose trio remains unchanged from last weekend in Italy with Marcell Coetzee, Nizaam Carr and Ruan Nortje expected to play a huge role for the Bulls against the unpredictable Pumas.
Ivan van Zyl and Chris Smith will continue their half back pairing, Cornal Hendricks gets a new mid-field partner in the form of Harold Voster, Madosh Thambwe and Stravino Jacobs will once again be patrolling the wings and Gio Aplon returning in the number 15 jersey.
Though the Bulls, who will be looking for their first time of the season, will be at full strength, they are not going to have things easy against the Pumas who will be boosted by their impressive hammering of the Lions last weekend.
It is also worth noting that the Pumas emerged victorious 44-14 the last time they met the Bulls in this competition last season at the Mbombela Stadium and they will be looking to make it two out of two on Saturday.
Pick: Bulls Wins at 0.25 at BetXChange
Griquas VS Cheetahs
Cheetahs will get their first taste of action in 2021 when they travel up the N8 to Kimberley to take on Griquas in wat has become to be known as the Central Derby on Saturday.
The Peacock Blues recently won a warm-up clash between the two sides but the Free Staters are known for putting their best foot forward in the Currie Cup and the hosts will have to be at their very best in Kimberley to take something from this match.
The last time they met in January, the Cheetahs won the match thanks to the irrepressible boot of Springbok Frans Steyn even though Griquas outscored their neighbours by two tries to one at home in Kimberley.
The Cheetahs will be without Steyn, who is currently in camp with the Springboks, but they will have their other Springbok talisman Ruan Pienaar who is back on duty for this clash that is important for both teams.
Pick: Cheetahs Wins at 0.55 at BetXChange