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Teboho Mohoje

Teboho Mohoje

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs will play Springbok Teboho Mohojé off the bench when they take on the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Friday.

The Currie Cup Round 5 match in Pretoria will see Mohojé rejoin the Free State Cheetahs after failing to make the cut for the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup squad.

Free State Cheetahs coach Franco Smith made just 1 change to the starting 15 for the trip to Loftus Versfeld.

Jacques du Toit and Elandre Hugget switch places at hooker, with Huggett starting and Du Toit on the bench.

While Mohoje found a spot on the Free State Cheetahs bench, there was no place in the matchday 22 for the Free State Cheetahs’ other discarded Springbok, wing Cornal Hendricks.

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Jan Serfontein

Jan Serfontein

Marcel van der Merwe

Marcel van der Merwe

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Springbok prop Marcel van der Merwe in his starting front-row and added Springbok midfielder Jan Serfontein to his bench for Friday’s ABSA Currie Cup match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.

Marais also has Francois Hougaard back in the starting team after the scrumhalf missed last week’s win over the ORC Griquas due to personal reasons. He replaces Ivan van Zyl who moves back to the bench.

Hougaard’s return is the only change in the backline, but Marais made 3 changes in the pack. Van der Merwe comes in for Werner Kruger, who is rested and a fit-again Roelof Smit comes in for Jannes Kirsten at flank, with the latter moving to the bench. In the other change, Dean Greyling will be replaced by Pierre Schoeman. Greyling has a knee strain and with Schoeman fit and ready to go following a long injury lay-off, Marais decided to give Greyling a break.

Under 21 regular Schoeman will make his debut in the competition, but has played for the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup.

Serfontein comes in for Dan Kriel, who will return to the Under 21 team.

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Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

Blue Bulls & Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has been released from his contract at the Vodacom Blue Bulls with immediate effect.

While the Blue Bulls initially decided that Van der Merwe was necessary for their ABSA Currie Cup campaign, his call-up to the Springboks a few weeks ago negated this and they had to find a way to do without him.

The Blue Bulls initially were worried about a lack of experience in the team but their good start to the Currie Cup season, where they are still unbeaten after 4 Rounds has led them to back their youngsters.

When Van der Merwe didn’t make the cut for the Springbok squad to the Rugby World Cup, it was decided to release him from his contract so that he could further his career in France.

Van der Merwe signed with French Top 14 club Clermont Auvergne during this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season, at the same time as another Bulls lock, Jacques du Plessis, signed with Montpellier.

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Cheeky Watson

Cheeky Watson

EP Kings players and the union’s management are again at loggerheads over apparent delays in player payments.

The cash-strapped union was unable to pay players for several months earlier in the season, but the issue was thought to be resolved last month when EP president Cheeky Watson announced that the players were compensated up until the end of July.

However, similar issues appear to have risen again with regards to August’s salaries, and according to CEO Charl Crous they are working at “resolving the matter”.

There is believed to be a threat of a player strike, although Crous said he received no communication in that regard.

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William Small-Smith

William Small-Smith

Jan Serfontein

Jan Serfontein

Most coaches wouldn’t see it as a problem, but Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais has a welcome headache this week when he makes his selection for Friday night’s ABSA Currie Cup game against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.

As 1 of the unluckiest players not to be selected for the Springboks, midfielder Jan Serfontein has returned to Loftus this week to continue in the Currie Cup, and his return coincides with his SA Under 20 midfield partner William Small-Smith also being declared fit from injury.

But it isn’t as if the Blue Bulls are seriously short of midfielders as they continue their unbeaten start to the Currie Cup season either. The current duo of Burger Odendaal and Dries Swanepoel have been exceptional in their play of late and Swanepoel scored twice in the big win over Griquas on the weekend.

So Marais now sits with the headache of how to make 4 go into 3 – with 1 unlucky player likely to lose out on 1 of the 2 starting berths and a place on the bench this weekend when they host the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

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Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Steven Kitshoff

Steven Kitshoff

DHL Western Province flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe will miss this Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas with an AC Joint injury.

The impressive Notshe is not expected to be out for longer than a week, but coach John Dobson does have some loose forward options to replace him.

“Jurie van Vuuren is back to full fitness and someone like Chris Cloete deserves an opportunity, after coming off the bench so far,” coach John Dobson said.

“Chris starting would mean Rynhardt Elstadt moving back to No 7, but we’re comfortable either way in our players.”

In other news, Springbok squad member Steven Kitshoff (loosehead prop) and Barbarians representative Nic Groom (scrumhalf) are both available for selection this week.

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Players who failed to make the final 31-man Springbok Rugby World Cup squad have rejoined their respective provinces for ABSA Currie Cup duty.

Out of the original 49 players named prior to this year’s Rugby Championship, 18 will either be available for their South African provinces or jet off to rejoin their overseas clubs.

This means Warren Whiteley (Xerox Golden Lions), Vincent Koch (Steval Pumas), Lionel Mapoe (Xerox Golden Lions), Cornal Hendricks (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Marcell Coetzee (Cell C Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Cell C Sharks), Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Western Province), Oupa Mohoje (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Franco Mostert (Xerox Golden Lions), Marcel van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Western Province) and Frans Steyn (Cell C Sharks) can be considered for Currie Cup duty from this weekend.

Players like Heinrich Brussow (Docomo Red Hurricanes, Japan), Elton Jantjies (NTT Shining Arcs, Japan), Jaque Fourie (Kobelco Steelers) and Heinke van der Merwe (Stade Francais, France) will head for their overseas clubs.

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Vodacom Blue BullsThe Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Monday confirmed that a number of high profile Springboks have extended their contracts with the Blue Bulls Company for the next couple of seasons.

The likes of Handré Pollard (Oct 2019), Adriaan Strauss (Oct 2019), Jesse Kriel (Oct 2019), Trevor Nyakane (Oct 2018) and Jan Serfontein (Oct 2017) all confirmed their futures with the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls, by signing extensions that will keep them in Pretoria for a considerable time.

“This is a clear indication that frontline players see the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls as the ideal place to continue and build their already impressive careers,” says High Performance Manager at the Blue Bulls Comapany, Xander Janse van Rensburg.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions swopped places with the Vodacom Blue Bulls at the Top of the ABSA Currie Cup standings after their comprehensive 41 / 11 win over the Steval Pumas on Friday in Nelspruit, with flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff contributing 21 points with the boot.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls proved too strong for ORC Griquas in their Premier Division clash on Saturday in Kimberley and although they won their match comfortably by 46 / 32, they slipped to 2nd spot on the Log after the completion of Round 4, on points difference.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the Cell C Sharks scored a close-fought 24 / 20 win over the Eastern Province Kings after they overturned a 7 / 13 halftime deficit in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

DHL Western Province, the defending champions, suffered their 2nd successive away loss when the Toyota Free State Cheetahs pipped them by 28 / 21 in Bloemfontein on Friday evening despite a spirited rally in the 2nd half.

After 4 Rounds it is the Golden Lions now leading the Log thanks to their 30-point win in Nelspruit, closely followed by the Blue Bulls. The neighbours both have the maximum 20 points from 4 matches. Western Province and Free State Cheetahs (both 10 points) are 3rd and 4th, with the Sharks 5th and now just 1 point behind them. The Pumas (8 points), EP Kings (3 points) and Griquas (1 point) complete the standings.

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ABSA Currie CupABSA Currie Cup Log leaders, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, travel to Kimberley this weekend where they face a potentially difficult away fixture against the ORC Griquas side, while 2nd placed Xerox Golden Lions make the trip to Nelspruit in Mpumalanga to face the Steval Pumas.

The ORC Griquas are still searching for their 1st win in this year’s tournament, but the Blue Bulls travel to the Diamond City with the full knowledge that a visit to Kimberley is always a testing, bruising affair for any visiting team.

After suffering their 1st loss in 3 matches against the Blue Bulls last Saturday in Pretoria, DHL Western Province on Friday face a stern challenge in Bloemfontein against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

In the remaining fixture the Eastern Province Kings will be hoping to continue with their recent improvement when they host the Cell C Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The EP Kings lost by 2 points against the Steval Pumas in Round 3, after giving a good account of themselves specially during a spirited 2nd half display.

Xerox Golden Lions head coach, Johan Ackermann, has made several changes to his team for the Steval Pumas clash. There is however major concern regarding the fitness of their captain, Jaco Kriel, who sustained a quadriceps injury in the captain’s run on Thursday morning.

Wing Kobus van Wyk is back in the DHL Western Province starting line-up for Friday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. Kick-off is at 19:10 SA Time. The defending champions will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to the Blue Bulls and Van Wyk’s inclusion is 1 of 3 changes to the starting line-up.

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs, who lost to WP by 6 points in the rain 2 weeks ago, bounced back to form last weekend with a bonus point victory over the ORC Griquas, sending a clear warning to WP that a tough challenge awaits them in Bloemfontein.

The return of lock Giant Mtyanda to the Steval Pumas run-on side is the only change for their clash against the Xerox Golden Lions in Nelspruit on Friday. The Mpumalanga side face a difficult examination against the in-form visitors in this battle which also starts at 19:10 SA Time.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks will be looking for back-to-back victories when they meet the EP Kings in their 2nd encounter of ABSA Currie Cup matches in Port Elizabeth following their 33 / 25 1st Round win at Growthpoint Kings Park.

They are aware it’s not going to be easy after the EP Kings showed a much-improved performance against the Steval Pumas last weekend and they’re playing at home with its added advantages.

The backline that did duty against the Xerox Golden Lions last weekend has remained in tact following no injury concerns and they have a desire to develop the cohesion further, while amongst the forwards Gerhard Engelbrecht trades places with Thomas du Toit and will gain his 1st start of the campaign after 2 games played off the bench in the only change to the entire starting XV.

On the bench, JC Astle returns from injury while exciting young prospect Garth April is handed his 1st senior jersey in Cell C Sharks colours.

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Francois Hougaard

Francois Hougaard

The Vodacom Blue Bulls will be without Francois Hougaard and Hanro Liebenberg this weekend. Livewire Hougaard will miss Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas in Kimberley due to personal commitments, as his sister is getting married and he was given permission to miss the clash while Liebenberg is out injured.

Ivan van Zyl will start at scrumhalf in his run-on debut for the Vodacom Blue Bulls, whilst the return of Springbok Arno Botha at No 8 will offset the loss of Liebenberg, who will be out for at least a month.

Botha has just returned from injury and will be part of a new loose trio that will also feature regular captain, Lappies Labuschagne, and new starter, Jannes Kirsten, who debuted for the team last weekend from the bench. Kirsten replaces the injured Roelof Smit in the last of 3 changes to the starting team from last weekend.

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Xerox Golden LionsXerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has selected his team for Friday evening’s clash against the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit.

Ackermann has made 4 personnel changes to the starting forward group, which downed the Cell C Sharks 31 / 16 last weekend. In the front row, Jacques van Rooyen will start at loosehead prop, with Ruan Dreyer shifting to tighthead.

Additionally, Martin Muller will start at lock while Fabian Booysen returns to the No 8 berth as a result of the injury to Ruaan Lerm.

As a result of a late quadriceps injury that captain Jaco Kriel sustained during this morning’s captain’s run, Stephan de Wit has also been included in the side at flank. The extent of Kriel’s injury is not known at this stage.

A change in the Xerox Golden Lions backline sees Sampie Mastriet start at wing, shifting Ruan Combrinck out to fullback.

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BG 'Burrie' Uys

BG ‘Burrie’ Uys

Toyota Free State Free State Cheetahs’ coach Franco Smith has made just 1 change to his team to take on DHL Western Province in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Smith has opted for consistency, sticking with his troops that defeated Griquas 31 / 9 in Kimberly last weekend barring 1 change in the front row.

The change sees BG ‘Burrie’ Uys start at loosehead prop, while Caylib Oosthuizen moves to the bench in place of Maks van Dyk, who has been released to play for the Barbarians against Samoa in London.

Tertius Kruger also slots into the replacements, with the injured Tienie Burger missing out.

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Kobus van Wyk

Kobus van Wyk

Wing Kobus van Wyk is back in the DHL Western Province line-up for Friday evening’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

DHL WP, the defending ABSA Currie Cup champions, will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria and Van Wyk’s inclusion is 1 of 3 changes to the starting line-up this time around.

The hard-running Van Wyk comes in for Dillyn Leyds on the right-wing, scrumhalf Godlen Masimla replaces Nic Groom, who is on Barbarians duty in London, and Alistair Vermaak starts at loosehead prop in place of the injured Oli Kebble.

Kebble’s hamstring has not recovered sufficiently from the weekend, whilst exciting talent Masimla will make his 1st ABSA Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province in the absence of both Groom and Jano Vermaak, who injured his finger against the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

Fit-again halfback Louis Schreuder is the new scrumhalf replacement and he will be joined on the bench by ABSA Currie Cup debutant JP Smith – the new prop replacement – and lock Jan de Klerk, who comes in for the injured Chris van Zyl (knee).

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Steval PumasSteval Pumas coach MJ Mentz announced an unchanged 22-man line-up for the 4th Currie Cup match of the season.

The men from Nelspruit will host the high-flying Xerox Golden Lions on Friday – the 2nd time the 2 sides will meet this season in the Currie Cup.

The Golden Lions beat the Pumas 44 / 27 in Johannesburg a fortnight ago.

The sides have not met in Nelspruit since the Pumas’ return to the Currie Cup competition in 2014.

However, Pumas coach MJ Mentz is confident about his team’s chances.

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Gert Smal

Gert Smal

Springbok stars Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all committed their long-term rugby futures to DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers.

Prop Malherbe, lock Etzebeth, flanker Kolisi and centre De Allende are in contention to represent South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, having all been part of the Springbok squad this season after stellar Vodacom Super Rugby campaigns for the DHL Stormers.

Between them, the quartet have featured in 61 Tests, Etzebeth leading the way with 37 Test appearances since his debut against England in 2012, with Malherbe (6 Tests) and Kolisi (11 Tests) making their debuts in 2013 and De Allende (7 Tests) playing his 1st international in 2014.

“Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all been developed here at Western Province, coming through our youth structures and going on to play Test rugby for South Africa as standout DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province players,” said WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal.

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Hanro Liebenberg

Hanro Liebenberg

Vodacom Blue Bulls No 8, Hanro Liebenberg, will miss at least the next 6 weeks of the ABSA Currie Cup due to surgery, but Arno Botha has been cleared to play in the competition this weekend.

Liebenberg left the field late in the 1st half after a heavy tackle that saw him limp off, and there were no signs of the rupture in the scan that the Blue Bulls medical personnel did after the game on Saturday night.

But on Sunday Liebenberg didn’t feel well and headed back to the medical personnel, who rushed him to hospital where he was admitted in a serious condition and diagnosed with a ruptured small intestine and bruised colon from the tackle.

There was widespread fear on Monday that the injury could be career-ending as Liebenberg underwent emergency surgery in Pretoria, but the operation was a success, with a 2nd operation scheduled for Wednesday.

The SA Under 20 captain is set to miss most of the rest of the Currie Cup season because of the injury, and will face a slow road to recovery after the rupture released gas into his body that deteriorated his condition fast.

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EP KingsFollowing their narrow 15 / 13 Currie Cup loss to the Steval Pumas in Port Elizabeth at the weekend, the EP Kings have a few more injury concerns.

Centre Tim Whitehead suffered concussion in the game against the Pumas and his availability for this weekend’s home game against the Sharks is in doubt.

He was cleared of symptoms, but will follow a gradual return to play protocol until Thursday. If he comes through that, then he will be cleared to face his former team.

Flyhalf George Whitehead picked up a knee injury and saw a specialist on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.

Flank Jacques Engelbrecht has a left hip pointer injury and is likely to be sidelined for the next 2 weeks, while prop Basil Short has recovered from a foot injury, but a spider bite has kept him sidelined this week.

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Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

The Xerox Golden Lions medical group have released a report ahead of the team’s match against the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit this weekend.

Only 1 new injury was sustained during last weekend’s victory over the Cell C Sharks.

Loose forward Ruaan Lerm has sustained a grade II ankle ligament strain and is expected to be out of action for approximately 4 weeks.

Captain Jaco Kriel, who sustained a concussion during last weekend’s match, is recovering well and has commenced a graded return to play (GRTP) programme on Monday. He is expected to be available for selection for Friday’s match.

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Dillyn Leyds

Dillyn Leyds

DHL Western Province coach John Dobson pulled no punches in the wake of his team’s humiliating 29 / 47 loss to the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

The Blue Bulls, having trailed 15 / 16 at halftime and then 15 / 26 early in the 2nd half, went on to score 5 unanswered tries in the last half-hour – culminating in a 2nd-half rout in Pretoria at the weekend.

Dobson, who admitted to being embarrassed by his team’s performance, was particularly incensed at the behaviour of some players after wing Dillyn Leyds scored an intercept try in the 45th minute.

“We scored an intercept try – as the Bulls were about to score themselves – and we celebrated like we had won the game,” an irate Dobson said.

“To me the signs were already on the wall there,” he said of the celebratory dances behind the post, adding: “That was poor behaviour by us.

“If you score a 12-phase try, fair enough. They were about to score.

“That was a 14-point turnaround – it could have been much worse.”

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

Loftus Versfeld is slowly filling up on match days again and it is because spectators are getting “value for money”.

The spectators were conspicuous in their absence at the end of yet another failed Super Rugby season, but this past weekend more than 27 000 people turned up to watch the Vodacom Blue Bulls produce a 5-try demolition of arch-rivals DHL Western Province.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais, speaking after his team’s 47 / 29 win over WP, said one of his biggest concerns since he accepted the Currie Cup job, was the empty stadium.

“The main thing is there were 27 000 people and we said we wanted to play for people,” Marais said, adding: “We want to give them value for money and we did that.”

The Blue Bulls have been through a few lean years – failing to make a real impact in both Super Rugby at the Currie Cup competition.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Vodacom Blue Bulls turned in a fantastic 2nd-half performance to hand defending ABSA Currie Cup champions, the DHL Western Province, their 1st defeat of the season in a pulsating 47 / 29 win at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The thrilling win was a perfect gift for veteran prop Werner Kruger, who played in his 100th ABSA Currie Cup match for the Blue Bulls.

It was the 1st time since 2012 that the Blue Bulls ran out winners in the traditional North versus South encounter.

Thanks to their outstanding display the Blue Bulls consolidated their Top spot on the Premier Division standings and they now have 15 points from 3 matches, which all were all clinched with convincing bonus-point victories.

The new generation of Blue Bulls were superbly led by 2014 Junior Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant and veteran scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and they were also the only outfit to register a home win this weekend.

Gelant, also a Springbok Sevens international, displayed his wonderful assortment of attacking skills and was deservedly awarded the ABSA Man of the Match award.

The Xerox Golden Lions held off a determined challenge from the Cell C Sharks on their way to a 31 / 16 (halftime 7 / 6) win at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday. The Sharks led by a single point after 61 minutes but the Golden Lions ensured that they remain unbeaten by turning in a strong final quarter as they ran in 3 tries to hand the Sharks their 2nd loss in 3 games.

On Friday night in Kimberley, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, spearheaded by pivot Fred Zeilinga, notched their 1st win of the campaign when they outplayed the ORC Griquas 31 / 9 (halftime 10 / 9).

Flyhalf JC Roos kicked 5 penalties as the Steval Pumas edged the Eastern Province Kings 15 / 13 after leading 6 / 3 in the other Friday evening clash in Port Elizabeth.

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ABSA Currie Cup2 Of the tournament’s pace-setters are going head-to-head on Saturday. But it is no ordinary match. It is the BIG north-south derby – the Vodacom Blue Bulls hosting DHL Western Province in the feature match of the weekend, when they meet in Pretoria on Saturday.

They are 2 of only 3 remaining unbeaten sides.

However, before we get there we have 2 Friday games – which will feature 3 teams still seeking their 1st win.

The winless Eastern Province Kings host an ambitious Steval Pumas team in Port Elizabeth, while the central unions partners (and rivals) ORC Griquas and Toyota Free State Cheetahs will meet in Kimberley.

Griquas and Cheetahs are also both still winless.

The Cell C Sharks, fresh from their 1st win of the season, host the high-flying Xerox Golden Lions in Saturday’s early match before we get to the BIG derby at Loftus Versfeld.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls are currently sitting at Top of the standings – as a result of their greater points difference over their Gauteng neighbours, the Xerox Golden Lions – with both on a full-house 10 Log points.

DHL Western Province are 1 Log point further back (9) in 3rd place.

The Cell C Sharks (5 points), Steval Pumas (4), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (1), EP Kings (1) and ORC Griquas (1) trail behind the pace-setters.

We look at all the Round 3 matches!

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Werner Kruger

Werner Kruger

Vodacom Blue Bulls prop Werner Kruger will on Saturday become the 1st player at the union to play 100 matches for both the Vodacom Bulls (Vodacom Super Rugby) and Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup). Kruger played his 100th match for theVodacom Bulls in April 2014 and will become an ABSA Currie Cup centurion for the Vodacom Blue Bulls when the side take on DHL Western Province this weekend.

Kruger made his Vodacom Blue Bulls debut in 2007 as a replacement against the Golden Lions and has since been one of the most consistent performers the Loftus Versfeld faithful have seen.

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Kruger in the side which shows 3 changes to the one that beat the ORC Griquas a week ago. William Small-Smith and Deon Stegmann have been ruled out due to injury and will be replaced by Dries Swanepoel and Roelof Smit respectively.

Marais also decided to start with Bandise Maku at hooker, with Jaco Visagie swopping roles with the former Springbok and reverting to the bench.

Dan Kriel will move onto the bench in place of Swanepoel.

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Johnny Kotze

Johnny Kotze

DHL Western Province backline ace Johnny Kotze has been entrusted with the No 13 jersey for Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

Kotze, 22, replaces the injured Juan de Jongh at outside centre in the only starting change from last weekend’s hard-fought 9 / 3 win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Cape Town.

Kotze made 8 Vodacom Super Rugby starts for the Stormers earlier this season (on the wing), but this will be his 1st ABSA Currie Cup start – having made his tournament debut off the bench 2 weeks ago against the ORC Griquas.

DHL Western Province coach John Dobson told the www.wprugby.com website: “It was always our intention to get Johnny into the No 13 jersey at some point, but of course, it has now been necessitated by Juan’s injury.

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Luke Watson

Luke Watson

Luke Watson and Stefan Willemse have been withdrawn from the line-up due to leg injuries, for Friday night’s clash against the Steval Pumas at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Unfortunately the pair have not responded to treatment as quickly as the team management had hoped. They have been replaced so as to not risk losing them for the remainder of the Currie Cup campaign.

Cameron Lindsay replaces Stefan Willemse on the bench, while Thembelani Bholi has been moved to the starting line-up in place of Luke Watson, with Paul Schoeman taking his place on the bench.

Steven Sykes will captain the team.

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Stokkies Hanekom

Stokkies Hanekom

Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced his team to front the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

In the forwards, Ackermann has made 4 changes. Ruan Dreyer and Robbie Coetzee move into the starting line-up at loosehead prop and hooker respectively. At lock, MB Lusaseni also moves up into the starting side and Kwagga Smith will start at flank.

In the backline, Stokkies Hanekom will start in the place of injured centre Harold Vorster. Jaco van der Walt starts at fullback, shifting Ruan Combrinck to right wing.

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Michael Claassens

Michael Claassens

Head coach Gary Gold has made changes to the Cell C Sharks side to take on the Xerox Golden Lions this Saturday at Growthpoint Kings Park, as he looks to overcome one of the form sides this year.

Unbeaten, with maximum Log points and riding a wave of confidence and continuity, the Golden Lions make a strong argument as possible title contenders, something not lost on Gold who warns that his charges will have it tough this weekend.

Paul Jordaan and André Esterhuizen form a youthful but exciting new centre partnership for this week’s match, while S’bura Sithole is welcomed back into the fray, slotting in on the wing.

The hugely experienced Michael Claassens gets his 1st start of the campaign, as does Francois Kleinhans, who comes in for the injured Jean Deysel.

Up front, Dale Chadwick returns from injury, replacing Juan Schoeman in the final change with Lourens Adriaanse, Khaya Majola and Kyle Cooper not considered due to injury.

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