For someone who is both a Blue Bulls and Glasgow Warriors Fan there will be fewer places in the world to rather be than in Bloemfontein on Friday night. Unfortunately though this will not be possible, but the action will still be followed with much interest from many miles away.
Glasgow Warriors face the Toyota Cheetahs in their first trip to South Africa in the Guinness PRO14 while the Blue Bulls travel to Bloemfontein to take on the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in a must win Currie Cup game. It feels quite odd though that the once mighty Blue Bulls who would normally take centre stage will be playing in the curtain raiser to the BIG GAME – the PRO14 one.
One would hope that any Blue Bulls fans who turn up to watch their game will stay on and support Glasgow Warriors, seeing as both teams have a common foe on the night. Likewise if there are any Glasgow Warriors fans in Bloemfontein it would be good for them to go early and get a taste of the Currie Cup and of course would do no harm for them to lend some support to the Blue Bulls.
All jesting aside, hats off to the Cheetahs. Joining the PRO14 not long after their Super Rugby season ended was a big step for them, let alone doing this while they are still competing in the Currie Cup which means they are having to field two teams at the same time. Hopefully they will reap the benefits of the exposure to professional rugby for some of the players who may not otherwise have had it so soon.
A big thumbs up as well to the Cheetahs Rugby administrators who have been working so hard to promote their participation in the PRO14 with all sorts of good deals and activities on offer for fans attending the games. They have advertised entry for both games on Friday costing a paltry twenty Rand for adults in the open stand – well less than the price of a pint of beer in Glasgow, while students and children can get in free. The stadiums the Southern Kings and Cheetahs play in are much larger than any other PRO14 team’s stadiums (now that Edinburgh have moved from Murrayfield to Myreside) and so one hopes the crowds will flock to the stadiums, otherwise they look very empty and devoid of atmosphere.
An exciting PRO14 encounter could be on the cards with both the Cheetahs and Warriors favouring a fast-paced open running, passing game. Hopefully the weather won’t put paid to this as a spectacle though, having being reliably informed that there has been quite a bit of rain in Bloemfontein recently. At least it looks as if it won’t be too hot by kick off time (20.35 local time) and hopefully the rain stays away so that we are treated to good game of rugby.
Currie Cup – Free State Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Jacobus Jonker, 13 Aliqhayiya Mgijima, 12 Lloyd Greeff, 11 Vuyani Maqina, 10 Robbie Petzer, 9 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Nicolaas Immelman, 6 Chris Dry (captain), 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Dennis Visser, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Johan Kotze.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Gunther Janse van Vuuren, 18 Andrew Kuhn, 19 Jeremy Jordaan, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Juan-Philip Smith, 22 Stephan Janse van Rensburg.
Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Burger Odendaal (captain), 12 JT Jackson, 11 Johnny Kotze , 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Nic de Jager , 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Ashton Fortuin, 3 Conraad van Vuure, 2 Edgar Mautlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Jano Venter, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
Pro14 – Cheetahs vs Glasgow Warriors
Cheetahs: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Rosco Specman, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Teboho Mohoje, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Nico Lee, 23 Luther Obi.
Glasgow Warriors: 15. Ruaridh Jackson, 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Nick Grigg, 12. Sam Johnson, 11. Leonardo Sarto, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Ali Price, 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. Fraser Brown,
3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Tim Swinson, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Ryan Wilson (captain)’ 7. Callum Gibbins, 8. Adam Ashe.
Replacements: 16. George Turner, 17. Alex Allan, 18. D’Arcy Rae, 19. Brian Alainu’uese,
20. Rob Harley, 21. Henry Pyrgos, 22. Peter Horne, 23. Niko Matawalu.