The 2023 Currie Cup continues with Round 2 this weekend. Round 1 saw big wins for the Cheetahs, Sharks, and Western province, while Pumas absolutely went off as they crushed the Blue Bulls 63-15 on the road.
Here is a look at this week’s games with odds from BetXchange.
Pumas VS Golden Lions – Mbombela Stadium, Mbombela
The Pumas started their Currie Cup defense with an astonishing 63-15 demolition of the Blue bulls away from home last weekend. The Bulls may have been down some of their stars, but the 63 points that the Pumas put up shows the strength in depth of South African rugby across the country.
Man of the Match fly-half Tinus de Beer will be looking to repeat his performance as he put his teammates into positions to score some memorable long-range tries. The defense was equally impressive, as the Bulls did have the likes of Cornal Hendricks in their lineup but rarely threatened the tough-tackling Pumas.
The Golden lions are fifth on the log after being the best of the losing sides last weekend. They went down 44-28 to Western Province but showed their own ability to score in defeat. I like the Pumas to win again, and I think they will cover in a high-scoring encounter.
Griffons VS Cheetahs – North West Stadium, Welkom
The Cheetahs are in second place in the early stages thanks to their 42-19 win over Griquas in Round 1. It was an impressive win – Kimberley is never an easy place to play – and Griquas were losing finalists just one year ago.
The Griffons were anything but pushovers in their return to the Premier Division. They went down 32-16 at the hands of the Sharks in Durban, but they showed enough to suggest they will be able to pick up wins as the season progresses and they get used to the pace and accuracy needed at this level of the game.
Ruan Pienaar will be important again here. Last weekend he rolled back the years, directing and organizing as he put on a scrum-half clinic against Griquas. I expect much of the same from the maestro here, though don’t be shocked if the Griffons find a way to cover in their first home match at this level in years.
Griquas VS Sharks – Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley
I was disappointed by Griquas last weekend and expected more from them against the Cheetahs. Having two home games in a row to start the season is a big deal, and the hosts will know they need to get something out of this game to get their season going.
That will be difficult against a Sharks side that won both games that the two played in 2022 and one that will be high on confidence after an opening-round win.
Look for Griquas to use the dry heat in Kimberley to their advantage in this one. I expect them to use the kicking game to keep the Sharks’ forwards moving around the park before switching to a running game to exploit their tired bodies in the second half. This one will be a home win.