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Currie Cup

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Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

The rugby spectator who was stabbed at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday evening, shortly before the end of the Currie Cup match between the EP Kings and the Golden Lions, is recovering well, according to Stadium management.

Stadium management’s chief executive Chantal du Pisani and Charl Crous, EP Rugby chief executive along with representatives from the Mount Road SAPS visited the victim on Monday.

“He is recovering well and is in relatively good spirits,” said Du Pisani.

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Thomas du Toit

Thomas du Toit

The Cell C Sharks limped back into Durban after their defeat to the Steval Pumas wounded not only psychologically by their Nelspruit ordeal, but also physically.

Star young flank Francois Kleinhans went off early at Mbombela Stadium with a broken wrist, and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

That is a big blow for the Sharks as they have lost Jean Deysel and Keegan Daniel to Japanese clubs, while Ryan Kankowski is of course also back in Japan.

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Jesse Kriel

Jesse Kriel

The Vodacom Blue Bulls were given another mixed dose of news when the injury report arrived following their 23-18 loss to DHL Western Province in their Absa Currie Cup clash on Saturday.

While there was good news that both injured flyhalves – Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Tony Jantjies – had recovered from their ailments that forced them to miss the Western Province game, the Bulls were given the news that they will need a new fullback this weekend when they prepare to take on the Xerox Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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Jacques Botes

Jacques Botes

Fortunately for the Cell C Sharks they have a good chance of redeeming themselves when they host struggling GWK Griquas in Durban this coming weekend, but the warning lights are flickering for the Absa Currie Cup champions.

There were excuses aplenty for the Sharks coaches after their 32-22 defeat to the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit in round four, and some of them were legitimate. Injuries did during the course of the game decimate their pack.

And let’s also not take anything away from the Pumas, who have been strong at home this season and also pushed the Sharks in the first round game much more than the final scoreline would suggest.

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Seabelo Senatla

Seabelo Senatla

Speedster Seabelo Senatla will almost certainly miss Friday night’s home Absa Currie Cup clash with the EP Kings at Newlands, but the DHL Western Province brains-trust will be holding thumbs that his absence from the game won’t be for long.

The Springbok Sevens star will have the ankle that he twisted during his match winning performance for WP against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus this past weekend assessed on Monday.

He said after the match that the ankle didn’t feel bad, and he was apparently walking comfortably on Sunday, but WP coach Allister Coetzee has listed him as a doubtful starter for Friday night’s game.

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DHL WPFew would deny that up-tempo Western Province, last year’s runners-up, look favourites for the 2014 Currie Cup title at this point.

There is every chance that at the midway turn in ordinary-season play next weekend, they will only have consolidated their position at the top of the table and remain the only side with a 100 percent win record from five matches.

That is because Friday night at Newlands sees a clash between the leaders and the EP Kings, currently the wooden-spoon outfit with a mere one point – it would be a real turn-up for the books if the visitors come away victorious.

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Schalk van der Merwe

Schalk van der Merwe

Eastern Province Kings coach Carlos Spencer was a frustrated man after his team suffered their fourth straight loss in the Currie Cup, going down 41-22 to the Lions at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday night.

Despite the losing streak, the Kings showed a massive improvement after they had been thumped by the same opponents 60-19 in their clash in Johannesburg earlier this month.

The Kings showed great fighting spirit and enjoyed a narrow 22-21 lead with 20 minutes remaining, before the Lions’ experience and aggressive driving play earned them two final tries to seal the victory.

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Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke says his side showed encouraging signs in their defeat to Western Province that they are on the right track.

It has been a tough start to the season for the Pretoria side, with just one win from their four games so far, and they were left disappointed again at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday as the unbeaten Cape side beat them for the second time in a few weeks.

However, despite the frustration of coming up short again, Ludeke was upbeat and took some positives from his side’s performance.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

Opening a three-point gap atop the Currie Cup log, after a tightly contested 23-18 victory over a much-improved Blue Bulls side at Loftus Versfeld gave Western Province coach Allister Coetzee a lot to smile about.

“We are very happy with the win, we were up against a desperate Bulls side and they showed the way they came out tonight and they really came at us,” Coetzee said.

“It is a massive win for us, to come out here at altitude to beat the Bulls with a relatively young side and it is the first time that they’ve lost at Loftus this year.”

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Jimmy Stonehouse

Jimmy Stonehouse

With the Pumas having kept their home record in tact in the Currie Cup, coach Jimmy Stonehouse will be targeting away victories following their 32-22 victory over defending champions the Sharks in Mbombela on Friday evening.

“The sign of a good team is whether they can win away from home and although it was easier in the First Division we won all our away matches which is difficult in the Currie Cup Premier Division,” Stonehouse said.

“Our first aim is to get the bonus point when we are playing away. Obviously you go for the victory – but you hope things stick and come away with a win.”

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ABSA Currie CupXerox Golden Lions keep EP Kings at bay

The Golden Lions got their Currie Cup rugby title bid back on track when they scored a bonus-point win in overcoming a courageous Eastern Province Kings outfit 41-22 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night.

With Ruan Combrinck in outstanding form with the boot, slotting all seven of his kicks at goal with five conversions and two penalties, the Lions will be satisfied to come away from Port Elizabeth with five points.

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EP KingsXerox Golden LionsEP Kings (19) 22 / 41 (21) Golden Lions (Final Score)

The Eastern Province Kings and Xerox Golden Lions did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

*******************

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Renaldo Bothma

Renaldo Bothma

The Pumas defeated defending Currie Cup champions, the Sharks, 32-22 (half-time 18-9) at Mbombela Stadium on Friday night.

The hosts used their majority possession to score a four-try bonus point victory to move to the second place on the Currie Cup log.

Playing an exciting brand of rugby, the Lowveld-based side demonstrated how to win with an expansive mindset.

The Sharks initially did well to soak up the pressure from a probing Pumas attack by exiting well from their own half using flyhalf Fred Zeilinga’s clearance kicking to great effect.

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SuperBru LogoRound 2 of The Rugby Championship and Round 3 of the Currie Cup is done and dusted!

No real surprises with the results, except the huge margin the All Blacks smashed the Wallabies by, and the fact that the Bokke hardly scraped their way to a 2 point win.

The Springboks have struggled in Argentina the past three years, but most pundits thought the Bokke would at least still be closer to a 10 point margin better than the Pumas, even on a bad day.

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Jacques-Louis Potgieter

Jacques-Louis Potgieter

Flyhalf Joshua Stander will earn a first senior start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the 2014 Absa Currie Cup when the home team face DHL Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The 20-year old former Queens College player was bracketed with Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who failed a fitness test.

Stander has played for the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 side in the Absa Provincial Championship this season and was an unused replacement in the victory against the EP Kings last weekend.
Stander will be one of four changes to the side that won against the Kings.

The flyhalf will come in for Tony Jantjies (concussion), while Piet van Zyl (for Rudy Paige – bench), Callie Visagie (for Bongi Mbonambi – bench)) and Werner Kruger (for Marcel van der Merwe – Springboks) will return to the run-on team.

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Deon Stegmann

Blue Bulls captain Deon Stegmann

The Blue Bulls will be in the rare position of underdog when they host Western Province at Loftus Versfeld, in Pretoria on Saturday.

Only a fortnight ago, Province scored a 41-17 victory over the Light Blues in Cape Town.

Two weeks in rugby was a long time though, and the Bulls had since claimed their first win of the competition when they beat, albeit rather unconvincingly, the Eastern Province Kings 30-25 at home in Pretoria.

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Jurgen Visser

Jurgen Visser

The Vodacom Blue Bulls have been dealt a massive blow with the news that fullback Jurgen Visser has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

According to reports, Visser injured his foot two weeks ago against Western Province and was allowed to take the weekend off against the Kings to recover.

While the medical assessment on Monday indicated he would be fit and ready to train on Tuesday and rejoin the team, more discomfort has seen the medical team review their diagnosis, and the fullback is set to undergo an operation that will see him out of action for at least the next four months.

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Brad Macleod-Henderson & Paul Anthony

Brad Macleod-Henderson & Paul Anthony

John Plumtree coached the Cell C Sharks in six Absa Currie Cup campaigns, and in four of those they topped the log.

They didn’t always convert that advantage. In 2009 they finished top but got bombed by the Cheetahs in a Kings Park semifinal on a day that, Plumtree will probably agree now, he made a mistake by absorbing too many Springboks back into the starting team. The Boks had won a series against the British and Irish Lions that year, as well as the Tri-Nations.

They weren’t in the mood and didn’t have the energy for the Currie Cup.

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Jacques Botes

Personal milestone: Jacques Botes – 150 Currie Cup Caps

Veteran Sharks flank Jacques Botes will break new ground in the Currie Cup on Friday as he extends his appearance record to 150 matches, which will make him the first player to reach this milestone.

Botes will mark this achievement against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday — the team he first represented in the competition.

He made his provincial debut for the Pumas in 2002 and remained at the union until 2004 before joining the Sharks in 2005. Sharks coach Brad Mcleod-Henderson has handed scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann his first start, while Springbok lock Stephan Lewies continues his return from injury off the bench.

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Mark Boucher

Mark Boucher received a signed jersey from the Vodacom Blue Bulls and will address the team later this week before they take on Western Province over the weekend to explain the synergies of working with the Team and SANParks to combat the rhino atrocities recently witnessed.

The Castle Lager Boucher Legacy NPC (non-profit company) “Our Rhino in safe hands” programme has joined forces with the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd in an effort to combat the scourge of rhino poaching.

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Josh Stander

Josh Stander

Flyhalf Joshua Stander could earn a first senior start for the Blue Bulls in the 2014 Currie Cup when the home team face Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The 20-year old former Queens College player has been bracketed with Jacques-Louis Potgieter at flyhalf and could make his debut for the team should the latter fail a fitness test.

Stander has played for the Blue Bulls Under-21 side in the Absa Provincial Championship this season and was an unused replacement in the victory against the EP Kings last weekend.

Should Stander or Potgieter play, they will be one of four changes to the side that won 30-25 against the Kings.

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DHL WPVodacom Blue BullsDHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls have decided to dedicate Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup fourth-round match to two rugby heroes who are involved in a battle of their own, Tinus Linee and Joost van der Westhuizen, both of whom are suffering from MND.

As the world continues to highlight the plight of those affected by Neuromuscular Disease via the social media phenomenon that is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Province and the Blue Bulls have decided to highlight the bravery of both Linee and Van der Westhuizen through Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld.

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man outfit to face the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Ackermann has made a few changes to the Lions backline, following last weekend’s 27-14 loss to Western Province at Newlands.

Ruan Combrinck will start at his preferred position of fullback, Lionel Mapoe will run out at right wing and Stokkies Hanekom reverts to the outside centre berth for this match.

Alwyn Hollenbach returns to action and will start at inside centre, while Andries Coetzee will fill the flyhalf slot.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks have stuck largely with the same side that defeated Free State last week for Friday night’s Absa Currie Cup clash with the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Among the backs, there is just one change where scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann gets his first start after playing off the bench last week, with Cameron Wright coming off the bench later in the game, reports Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.

Among the forwards, JC Astle is back from injury and partners with Etienne Oosthuizen in the second row in the absence of Marco Wentzel, while the front row trio of Matt Stevens, Kyle Cooper and Dale Chadwick remains the same from last week as do the loosies, captain Tera Mtembu, Francois Kleinhans and Jacques Botes .

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Paul Anthony

Cell C Shark’s assistant coach, Paul Anthony.

Assistant coach Paul Anthony has defended the way the Sharks have continued to play the same kicking game they used during Super Rugby in the Currie Cup, insisting they are trying to change.

The defending champions are unbeaten so far and sit second on the log after three games, although have yet to show the attacking intent that had been promised by the Kings Park outfit in recent weeks.

“As we’ve discussed this week, we’ve got a different philosophy to the approach from Super Rugby, and hopefully that will not disappear, because there is place to kick, but there’s also a time to kick and a time to move it,” Anthony said on Tuesday.

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EP KingsThe Eastern Province Kings team that will take on the Xerox Golden Lions at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this weekend has been announced.

Head Coach Carlos Spencer said they had not yet finalised who the captain would be, what with Luke Watson being out with a concussion, but said Aidon Davis would take up Watson’s spot at 8th man on Saturday.

Spencer said BG Uys came in for Lizo Gqoboka, who was being rested following a long three games.

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DHL WPWestern Province will never disrespect or underestimate any Blue Bulls team, no matter how much their rivals from the north are struggling.

The table-topping WP outfit travel to Pretoria on Saturday for the biggest domestic derby, when they face a Bulls team fresh off their first win of the season.

After having suffer heavy defeats in back-to-back outings in the opening rounds, the Bulls showed some improvement in their 30-25 win over the Eastern Province Kings last week.

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Sibusiso "S'Bura" Sithole

Sibusiso “S’Bura” Sithole

The Cell C Sharks look likely to be without outside centre S’bura Sithole when they play their return ABSA Currie Cup match against the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night.

Sithole has been battling a rib injury and is in doubt for the match. Heimar Williams will replace him if he is not cleared to play. Otherwise the rest of the Sharks players are fit, with there being a possibility that key lineout forward Stephan Lewies will be added to the mix for a starting place this week.

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