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Currie Cup

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ABSA Currie CupDHL Western Province will host the Xerox Golden Lions in Cape Town in the ABSA Currie Cup final after the teams won their respective semifinals on Saturday to remain the last teams standing in the competition.

DHL Western Province defeated the Vodacom Blue Bulls 31-23 in a physical encounter in Cape Town, while the Xerox Golden Lions delivered a fine performance against the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg to register a convincing 50-20 victory.

DHL Western Province were quick on their feet throughout the clash and supported this with good decision-making on attack and a solid defensive effort. In stark contrast, the Vodacom Blue Bulls made mistakes at crucial times and missed three penalties, which cost them.

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DHL WPVodacom Blue BullsThe DHL Western Province Under 21 and Under 19 teams and their counterparts from the Vodacom Blue Bulls will contest Saturday’s ABSA Under 21 and ABSA Under 19 Provincial finals at DHL Newlands.

The Blue Bulls teams booked their trip by beating the Cell C Sharks 43-20 (Under 19) and Xerox Golden Lions 23-19 (Under 21) in their semi-finals played at Loftus Versfeld.

The WP Under 21 side had too much class for the Toyota Free State Under 21’s at DHL Newlands, winning 41-17, while the WP Under 19 side won 29-22 against the Free State Under 19’s in Bloemfontein.

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Vodacom Blue BullsWP (25) 31 / 23 (10) Blue Bulls (Final Score)

DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division Semi-Final at

Newlands, Cape Town at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 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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Xerox Golden LionsCell C SharksGolden Lions (23) 50 / 20 (3) Sharks (Final Score)

The Xerox Golden Lions and Cell C Sharks did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division Semi-Final at

Ellis Park, Johannesburg at 14:30 SA Time (12:30 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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Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard will play at inside centre when the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on DHL Western Province in the semi-finals of the Absa Currie Cup in Cape Town on Saturday.

Pollard will replace injured Burger Odendaal for the match at DHL Newlands in one of two backline changes made by coach Frans Ludeke. In the other, Rudy Paige will start at scrumhalf, with Piet van Zyl playing off the bench.

Pollard came off the bench in the final Absa Currie Cup league match against GWK Griquas last weekend and his place amongst the reserves will be taken by Sampie Mastriet.

In the pack, Ludeke rotated Marcel van der Merwe and Werner Kruger, with the latter starting at Newlands.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has recalled all his big guns for Saturday’s 2014 Absa Currie Cup semifinal against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17:00 SA Time).

Flanker Rynhardt Elstadt is the only starting survivor from last week’s experimental line-up that took on a full-strength Sharks team at DHL Newlands.

Amongst the players recalled by coach Coetzee this week are skipper and centre Juan de Jongh (the team’s leading try-scorer this season), vice-captain and tighthead prop Pat Cilliers, the fit-again pairing of fullback Cheslin Kolbe and lock Jean Kleyn and SA Sevens speedster Seabelo Senatla.

Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis will play his 50th match for DHL WP this weekend, with Nic Groom partnering him at halfback.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks have named a strong lineup for the Currie Cup Premier Division Semi-Final against the Xerox Golden Lions on the weekend.

“We weren’t happy with our first half performance against Western Province but it was great to see us come out in the second half and play some nice rugby and get quite a few points on the board. Hopefully the continuity continues against the Golden Lions. It’s going to be a huge task going up to Ellis Park, but a challenge we’re looking forward to. We will have to play for the full 80 minutes, defensively we need to be strong and our set-piece needs to function well.

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Jacques-Louis Potgieter

Jacques-Louis Potgieter

Vodacom Blue Bulls pivot Jacques-Louis Potgieter is confident his team has the right game plan to win playoffs as they prepare for their Absa Currie Cup semifinal against DHL Western Province at Newlands on Saturday.

Potgieter believes the momentum the Bulls have built up, coupled with their game plan will be enough to get his side over the semifinal hurdle against their old rivals.

The Bulls will head down to Cape Town as massive underdogs this weekend, having lost both their league games against Province this year and having very little to counter the Cape side’s expansive game when the teams have met.

But the turnaround came precisely after the Bulls lost their game against Province at Loftus Versfeld and despite a stutter against the Sharks, the Bulls have been steadily building after a poor start to the season to find themselves sneaking into the semifinals and now believe they can go the whole way.

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Robbie Fleck

Robbie Fleck

Western Province backline coach Robbie Fleck says they are well aware of the threat Handré Pollard could pose in their Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands on Saturday.

Pollard, who starred at flyhalf for the Springboks in the recent Rugby Championship, is allowed to play in the Currie Cup because he is not a contracted Bok.

“Handre is playing with a lot of confidence and brings his team-mates into play. We’ll have to be aware of that,” Fleck said. “He is an exceptional player having a stellar season.”

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GriffonsValkeThere will be a lot more than prize money and bragging rights at stake for the Down Touch Griffons and Valke in the Absa Currie Cup First Division final in Welkom on Friday as the teams meet in the final for the first time in the competition’s history.

The Down Touch Griffons have won the title only once since the competition’s inception in 2000, and that was against the Leopards in 2008, while the Valke, Vodacom Cup champions in 2006, will make history if they were to emerge victorious as it would mark their maiden First Division title.

The winner will walk away with R1,054m, while the runner up will receive a cheque of R527000 for their efforts this season. The First Division final will be preceded by the Absa Under-19 B Division final between the Valke and Boland and the Absa Under-21 B Division final between the EP Kings and SWD respectively.

In the main game, the teams will be careful to underestimate one another as they will enter the final with a win a piece in their round-robin matches this season. In their first meeting in July, the Down Touch Griffons registered a 29-20 victory against the Valke in Welkom, while the Valke won the second match 36-27 in Kempton Park last month.

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Ryno Barnes

Ryno Barnes

Griquas hooker Ryno Barnes will appear before a SARU disciplinary committee on Thursday after receiving a red card for verbally abusing referee Pro Legoete in the Currie Cup match against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria last Saturday.

Barnes received a Red Card for the incident in the 72nd minute, which was in breach of Law 10.4 (m) and (s).

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Currie CupDHL Western Province will host the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Cape Town and the Xerox Golden Lions will face the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division semifinals next weekend.

Log-leaders DHL Western Province were assured of their home semifinal and the top spot on the log before entering the final round of pool matches this weekend, while the Xerox Golden Lions sealed their home semifinal by thumping the Toyota Free State Cheetahs. The victory for the Johannesburg team was enough to cancel out any efforts by the Cell C Sharks for the second spot on the log.

In the weekend’s matches, the EP Kings registered their first victory of the season as they pipped the Steval Pumas 26-25 in Port Elizabeth, while the Xerox Golden Lions thumped the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 47-7 at Ellis Park, the Cell C Sharks defeated DHL Western Province 28-20 in Cape Town and the Vodacom Blue Bulls beat GWK Griquas 46-12 in Pretoria.

The Xerox Golden Lions will meet the Cell C Sharks in the first semifinal on Saturday, October 18, at 14:30 SA Time and DHL Western Province will go up against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at 17:00 SA Time.

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WP coach Allister Coetzee says that his team wont be changing their attacking gameplan for the Currie Cup semi-final against the Blue Bulls.

Western Province beat the Blue Bulls in both league games this season, and that is why coach Allister Coetzee says that his team won’t be changing their attacking gameplan for a more conservative one in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands.

In fact, since Coetzee took over the WP Currie Cup team in 2008, they have lost only once to the Blue Bulls at Newlands, although it was a big one – the 2009 semi-final, when Morné Steyn slotted a late penalty for a 21-19 win.

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WhistleThe two REFEREES for the Currie Cup Premier Division Semi-Finals of 2014 have been revealed.

Jaco van Heerden will take charge of the first Semi-Final between the Xerox Golden Lions and Cell C Sharks at Ellis Park (kick-off at 14:30 SA Time).

Van Heerden will be assisted by Ben Crouse and Sieg van Staden, while Johan Greeff will be the TMO.

Pro Legoete will handle duties in the second Semi-Final at Newlands between DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls (kick-off at 17:00 SA Time).

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Burger Odendaal

Burger Odendaal

The Bulls suffered a serious injury blow in the first half of their 46-12 victory over the Griquas with inside centre Burger Odendaal – possibly the find of the season for the Bulls – leaving the field clutching his arm.

Ludeke said Odendaal possibly suffered a fracture which would rule him out for the playoffs and leave a dent in the midfield.

The Blue Bulls may have made a stuttering start to their season, but they finished the Currie Cup round-robin stage with a flourish against the Griquas in their at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Their performance may suggest the Light Blues were peaking at the right time, though they still had two more hurdles to overcome to claim the coveted title for the first time in four years starting with their semifinal clash against Western Province in Cape Town next Saturday.

“We feel things are starting to come together, and we would like to make sure that we put everything together next week with a good performance there,” Ludke said.

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Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

It’s a sort of homecoming, with apologies to U2, as Handre Pollard returns to his Western Cape roots for an Absa Currie Cup semi-final on Saturday.

The former Paarl Gym flyhalf, born in Somerset West but shrewdly snapped up as a teenager by the Blue Bulls in 2012 despite Western Province insisting they did everything they could to hold onto the wunderkind, seems a betting certainty to start for his adopted province in a classic “South v North” derby at Newlands (17:00).

Pollard, who has supposedly been nursing a niggle or two from his often heroic exertions in the Castle Rugby Championship, only underlined in a few late minutes off the bench against Griquas at Loftus on Saturday just what a tremendous prospect he is at the still pretty tender age of 20.

Not only did he register a try of his own against the predictably outmuscled visitors with a sizzling inside step and then power surge over the line, but the exciting new Springbok also produced two cunning chips in attacking play – one of which directly led to a touchdown by veteran wing Akona Ndungane.

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GriffonsThere will be no promotion-relegation matches in 2014, but the the winners of this year’s Currie Cup First Division will bag R1,054m for their efforts.

The First Division final will be contested between the Griffons and Falcons in Welkom next Friday evening.

The runners up will receive R527 000.

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed that there will be no promotion-relegation matches this year, but should Griquas or the Pumas finish in seventh spot on the Currie Cup Premier Division log, then there will again be a qualifying competition in 2015 between the six First Division teams as well as the seventh-place team in the Premier Division.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks play their final pool match of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup ahead of the play-offs when they take on Western Province at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday, aiming for a big performance.

Enjoying some great form at the moment, they will want to maintain that continuity as the competition heads into next week’s semi-finals, a place in the knock-outs already guaranteed.

They will be bolstered by the return of Cobus Reinach who featured in the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign. The lightening quick scrum-half is one of a number of changes this week.

The unfortunately season-ending injury to Paul Jordaan necessitates a midfield reshuffle, with S’bura Sithole shifting from wing to outside centre to form a powerful partnership with Andre Esterhuizen.

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GWK GriquasA host of injuries has forced Griquas coach Hawies Fourie to select players out of position ahead of their final round-robin Currie Cup fixture against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

“Injuries have plagued us this year,” Fourie said.

“It is a problem with which any union struggles, but we’ve gotten the short end of the stick this year. It makes preparations very difficult and it disrupts any momentum we might have had.”

Locks Hilton Lobberts and Boela Serfontein, prop Steph Roberts, flank Carel Greeff and captain Wayne Stevens have all been ruled out with injuries.

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Steval PumasEP KingsAfter 9 straight defeats, the EP Kings are desperate to end their return to the Currie Cup premier rugby division on a high when they host the Pumas in their final clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

It has been a sobering experience for the Kings players, who have been competitive at times but have not managed to produce the sort of consistency throughout the 80 minutes needed to match, much less beat, the big guns.

Now they face another team who have had lean pickings lately, but they know the Pumas, still with an outside chance of making the semis, will produce a massive onslaught to try to stay in the running.

Kings forwards coach Shaun Sowerby said it was essential for the Kings to put together a complete performance for the entire match to have any chance of winning.

“At times we have been good this season but we need a consistent effort throughout the match to pull off a victory,” Sowerby said.

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Jaco Taute

Jaco Taute

Western Province have reacted quickly to a drunken episode in Bloemfontein at the weekend, following their 34-29 victory over the Cheetahs.

Centre Jaco Taute is believed to have over-indulged in the fruits of the vine and went on a rampage that included harassing hotel guests as well as breaking a computer in the hotel’s lobby.

On Thursday, WP Media Manager Howard Kahn, said that the incident had been investigated and the necessary steps were taken.

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Nizaam Carr

Star DHL Western Province loose-forward Nizaam Carr won’t be playing in his team’s final Absa Currie Cup league match, but there is good reason for him to want to pull out something special for the play-off matches that will follow.

While the contracted Springboks won’t be playing in the deciding stages of the domestic competition, that does not mean that Bok coach Heyneke Meyer and national selectors Peter Jooste and Ian McIntosh won’t be studying the games closely.

The days may be gone where you select Boks out of the Currie Cup, but it can be used to confirm form shown in Super Rugby earlier in the year, and it just so happens that there will be a window of opportunity for new players on the upcoming November tour.

A squad of 36 will be selected in the week of the Currie Cup final for the four match tour, which starts on 8 November with a match against Ireland in Dublin and concludes three weeks later with a test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. For that last match, the Boks will be losing as many as eight or nine overseas-based players from the selection equation because it falls outside of the IRB’s stipulated international window.

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Vodacom Blue BullsVodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke recalled two Springboks and a Junior Springbok to his starting backline to play GWK Griquas in Pretoria on Saturday, whilst also including Bok pivot Handré Pollard on the bench.

In a re-jigged backline Junior Bok William Small-Smith (for Bok contracted JJ Engelbrecht), Bjorn Basson (for Sampie Mastriet) and Piet van Zyl (rotating with Rudy Paige) will start, while Marcel van der Merwe will wear the number three jersey in place of Werner Kruger in one of three changes from the pack that beat Steval Pumas last weekend.

Bongi Mbonambi is back again in the two jumper with Callie Visagie benched and Morne Mellett will start at loosehead in place of Dean Greyling.

Pollard will be brought into the game when needed, Ludeke said.

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DHL WPExperienced prop Brok Harris will captain DHL Western Province in their final league match of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup season – against the Sharks at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 17:05 SA Time).

DHL Western Province have already qualified for a home semifinal, by virtue of their top of the log finish with a game in hand, and head coach Allister Coetzee has handed starts to captain Harris, fit-again Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg and flyhalf Kurt Coleman, who will make his 50th appearance for Province.

Harris, who will be leaving Western Province at the end of the season – after eight years in the Cape, has played 117 matches for DHL Western Province and 93 for the DHL Stormers.

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Xerox Golden LionsXerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his team to take on the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Ellis Park this Saturday.

In the forwards, Derick Minnie will start at flank and Warren Whiteley has returned from Springbok duty to start at eighthman. He will also captain the side.

As a result of these changes, Warwick Tecklenburg and Willie Britz will shift to the bench to provide cover.

Meanwhile, in the backline, Howard Mnisi will get a start at inside centre. Harold Vorster will provide centre cover off the wood.

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Anton van Zyl

Veteran lock Anton van Zyl

Former DHL Western Province captain Anton van Zyl is set for a shock return to the team after an absence of four years as the Absa Currie Cup log leaders seek a way to protect their stocks ahead of the play-off phase of the competition.

Van Zyl, known as Worms by his friends, finished off a stint with Stade de Francais a few months ago and is back living in Cape Town. He last played for WP in the 2010 Currie Cup final, and last played for the Stormers in the 2011 season.

He attended a Province training session on Tuesday as the Cape side prepares for the clash with the Cell C Sharks this weekend, and according to WP sources, is in the reckoning to play in the game.

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Nizaam Carr

DHL Western Province and Stormers loose forward Nizaam Carr was the big winner at the 2014 WP Rugby Awards Evening at the Southern Sun Cape Sun on Tuesday night.

The 23-year-old loose forward star walked off with two big prizes – the Adidas MVP Award and the prestigious Players’ Player of the Year Award, the latter as voted for by his peers. Carr has had an outstanding season, first establishing himself as a first-choice pick for the DHL Stormers and then carrying that form across into the 2014 Absa Currie Cup competition.

Joining Carr as major winners on the night were Springboks Duane Vermeulen (Senior Forward of the Year), Damian de Allende (Senior Back of the Year), Michael Rhodes (Most Promising Senior Forward) and Cheslin Kolbe (Most Promising Senior Back).

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