The Currie Cup has flown under the radar as eyeballs were glued to the gripping Test series that saw the Springboks defeat the British & Irish Lions in dramatic fashion in Cape Town last weekend. We are, however, over halfway through the competition, and what better way to get reacquainted with the domestic comp than through some midweek rugby action.
Sadly were are down to just two games in Round 10 as the clash between the Pumas and the Sharks in Nelspruit has fallen by the wayside due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Even so, there are still a pair of games taking place on Wednesday, and here is a look at how they will play out.
Blue Bulls VS Griquas – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
The surprising Griquas sit in third on the Currie Cup log with four wins and 26 points from the eight games they have played so far. It is a tight league table with just 10 points separating first from sixth (and with the sixth-placed Pumas having played one less game than those above them) but Griquas could never really have imagined they would be in this spot at the start of the comp. The Blue Bulls are – as always – there or thereabouts as they have been competing without their Springbok stars. They sit in second on the log, just one point behind the table-topping Sharks with an impressive total of 29 points from their eight matches.
The Bulls welcome back a former Springbok as flanker Arno Botha is back in the starting XV for this clash as the team looks to bounce back following their defeat at the hands of the Sharks last time out. Gerhard Steenekamp, Lionel Mapoe, and Kurt-Lee Arendse are all also back in the side.
The Bulls defeat at the weekend was the worst result for Griquas. Expect the Bulls to win, but Griiquas are good value to cover the 15.5 point spread at 9/10 at BetXchange given how dangerous they have been in the Currie Cup this year.
Free State Cheetahs VS Golden Lions – Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
The Cheetahs are in desperate need of a win here if they are to have any realistic chance of climbing off the foot of the log and into one of the four semifinal spots come the end of the season. They have won just two of their seven matches to date (one via Covid) though they have lost by a combined four points in their last two outings. The Golden Lions are poised to strike in fifth place – just one point behind Western Province and five behind Griquas – but they know a win away from home here would boost their chances of a finals spot.
Loose forward Jaco Kriel is back for the Lions after being out since the back end of last year with an ankle injury. They also welcome back Emmanuel Tshituka from injury via the bench and he is joined on the pine by debutant centre Henco van Wyk, a player of whom much is expected. I like the Lions to do enough to win outright here as away underdogs with BetXchange.