The match between the Lions and Bulls has been moved to a midweek slot in early January so there are two remaining games in Round 5 of the Currie Cup to be played over the course of the weekend.
Here is a look at the two remaining matches on tap this weekend:
Western Province vs. Griquas
Saturday, December 26 – DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Western Province fans will be expecting a bonus-point win here against the winless Griquas. WP sits fourth on the log with the Cheetahs five-points adrift. They are, however, just three points off of second place and they have a game in hand on the Lions – one of the two catchable teams ahead of them in the race for a home semi-final. Griquas have nothing to play for here other than pride and an outside chance of catching the sixth-place Pumas if they can upset one of the big boys the rest of the way.
Western Province will be getting a Christmas present of sorts here as a number of their star players look set to return after spells on the sidelines. This includes the likes of No. 8 Juarno Augustus, prop France Malherbe, and wing Sergeal Petersen, all players that have a massive impact for WP. Dan du Plessis returns to the starting side at center and the dynamic Herschel Jantjies is also back in the run-on side.
Griquas will be boosted in the pack by the return of flanker Gideon van der Merwe after a head knock sustained in late November. The money here is with the spread and a huge number of 20.5 that Western Province will need to cover against a pretty well-rested Griquas’ side that hasn’t played since December 4th. Their last two defeats against the Pumas and Lions have come by a combined eight points and I like Griquas to cover the -20.5 spread at 0.90 with BetXChange.
Cheetahs v. Sharks
Sunday, December 27 – Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
That this game is going ahead at all is something of a surprise given the rash of positive tests for Covid-19 that hit the Sharks earlier in the week. The away side will look to overcome that issue, however, especially as they need the win – which is their game in hand – to jump over the Lions (the Lions have 29 points to the Sharks 28) and into second place on the log. Claiming second at the end of the season will be key as it grants a home semi-final spot. The Cheetahs still have their eyes on a semi-final place, but they are five-points behind fourth-placed Western Province with both sides having played the same number of games.
The Sharks won’t be naming their team until some time on Christmas Day – after a training session – as the fitness of a number of key players is assessed. One thing that is known is that barring any setbacks we will see exciting young fullback Aphelele Fassi making his return to the 23 after three months out with a shoulder injury.
The Cheetahs also have good news on the injury front as Rosko Specman – one of the stars of the game – will return after missing their win over the Pumas last time out. There will also be a change ay pivot with Reinhardt Fortuin taking over from Frans Steyn who pushes out to No. 12.
The Sharks are the better team here but their Covid and injury issues are a worry. If they are anything close to full strength I like them to win and cover the 3.5 BetXChange is offering at 0.90, but watch for the team to be announced before committing to the bet.