South Africa’s domestic premier rugby tournament is set to kick off this weekend on Friday night at the Johnson Kings Park stadium in Durban when the defending Champions, the Cell C Sharks takes on Tafel Lager Griquas.
The Currie Cup is one of the oldest rugby with its first games being played in 1889 but only became officially known as the Currie Cup in 1892.
The tournament is set to deliver top entertainment with the new #Reloaded campaign, which will see fans being treated to a new and enhanced stadium experience featuring trendy music and a new food offering, and comedians selected as ‘Official Unofficial Team Commissioners’, among other new activities.
In Durban, the hosts, Sharks will be warry of the danger that the Griquas posses. The Griquas are coming off a good season in the SuperSport Challenge in which they were crowned Champions. Sharks coach Sean Everitt has named 10 players from the side that fell to Brumbies in the Super Rugby quarter-final against Brumbies. The side will also include the services of former Springbok, JP Pietersen who returned to South Africa from France.
In Johannesburg, the Xerox Golden Lions will host SuperSport Challenge runners-up, the Phakisa Pumas at Emirates Airline Park. Pumas will be looks to put the disappointing finish of the SuperSport Challenge behind the while Lions will look to regain the pride they have lost after a disappointing Super Rugby campaign. Lions will be under the captaincy of Springboks, scrumhalf Ross Cronje.
Cape Town will see a repeat of last years Semi-final, which saw a tightly contested and if this encounter to which Western Province only won after 100 minutes of rugby by 3 points. Western Province has had a good record against the Vodacom Blue Bulls winning eight of their last nine home matches against the visitors from Pretoria, while the other match ended in a draw.
DHL Western Province flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis and Edwill van der Merwe (wing) will make their Currie Cup debuts, while Corne Fourie (prop) will make his DHL Western Province debut in a settled team featuring youth and experience. Bulls welcome back the services of Springbok lock Lood de Jager following his recovery from injury. The only other new face is Wian Vosloo (flanker), who was at the Cell C Sharks last season.
Currie Cup Premier Division Round 1 fixtures:
Friday, 12 July:
Cell C Sharks v Tafel Lager Griquas
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Vusi Msibi and Archie Sehlako
TMO: Christie du Preez
TV: SuperSport 1
Cell C Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Tera Mtembu (co-captain), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Juan Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Rhyno Smith.
Tafel Lager Griquas – 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead (capt), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona. Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Moxili, 18 NJ Oosthuizen, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Zandre Jordaan, 21 Chriswell September, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Eduan Keyter.
Saturday, 13 July:
Xerox Golden Lions v Phakisa Pumas
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Jaco Pretorius and Eduan Nel
TMO: Pro Legoete
TV: SuperSport 1
Xerox Golden Lions – 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Stean Pienaar, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (capt), 8 James Venter, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Ruben Schoeman, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Manuel Rass, 23 Jan-Louis la Grange.
Phakisa Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Morne Joubert, 13 Neil Maritz, 12 Ryan Nell (capt), 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Jacobus Marais, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Hermanus Carel du Preez, 6 Jeandre Rudolph, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Marne Coetzee, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel. Replacements: 16 Cornelius Els, 17 Wikus Groenewald, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Ashlon Davids, 21 Christopher Smith, 22 Henko Marais, 23 Morgan Naude.
DHL Western Province v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen and Jabian Jeftha
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans
TV: SuperSport 1
DHL Western Province – 15 SP Marais, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Chris van Zyl (capt), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Craig Barry.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (capt), 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Wian Vosloo, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Ruan Nortjie, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima. Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Dylan Sage.