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DHL Western Province

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DHL WPDHL Western Province head coach John Dobson has announced his team for Friday’s 2015 ABSA Currie Cup semifinal clash against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

Fullback Cheslin Kolbe, winger Seabelo Senatla, centre Johnny Kotze, flanker Rynhardt Elstadt, lock Ruan Botha, prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Bongi Mbonambi all return to the DHL WP starting 15 this week, hardman Elstadt’s return the big news after missing his team’s last 4 encounters with a thigh problem.

Skipper Juan de Jongh will lead the defending champions into battle in Pretoria, partnering Johnny Kotze in midfield, with Senatla, Dillyn Leyds and Kolbe forming a razor-sharp back 3.

Nic Groom and Robert du Preez will comebine at halfbacks, with experienced scrumhalf Jano Vermaak back on the bench after missing DHL WP’s last 2 matches with a groin strain.

Prop Oli Kebble has shaken off an ankle injury to be named on the bench, where he is joined by lock Chris van Zyl – who, like Kebble, started last Friday’s 45 / 14 win over the EP Kings at DHL Newlands.

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ABSA Currie CupThe South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Monday confirmed the kick-off times and match officials for the semi-finals of the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division and the various junior competition playoff fixtures.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls host the DHL Western Province this coming Friday at Loftus Versfeld and the starting time for the 1st Premier Division Semi-final in Pretoria is 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT).

On Saturday, the Xerox Golden Lions host the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in the 2nd playoff match at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. Kick-off time is 13:45 SA Time (11:45 GMT).

Referee Marius van der Westhuizen will take charge of the Pretoria encounter while Jaco van Heerden will referee the Johannesburg match.

Both ABSA Currie Cup Semi-finals clashes will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

The 2 ABSA Under 19 A-Division playoff matches are scheduled for this coming Friday, while the 2 playoff matches in the ABSA Under 21 A-Division are scheduled for Saturday.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Toyota Free State Cheetahs clinched a dramatic 34 / 34 draw on Saturday against the Cell C Sharks in Bloemfontein to finish 4th on the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division Log, and in doing so, they booked themselves a Semifinal clash against the Xerox Golden Lions next weekend in Johannesburg.

The Free State Cheetahs scored 2 converted tries in the in last 5 minutes at the Free State Stadium, while replacement fullback Neil Marais slotted the vital conversion after the final hooter to draw the 2 teams level in Bloemfontein and at the same time shatter the Cell C Sharks’ playoff hopes. The Free State Cheetahs finished 2 points above the Cel C Sharks on the final Log with 24 points.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls finished 2nd on the Log after they edged the Steval Pumas 25 / 24 in Nelspruit on Friday and they now meet 3rd-placed DHL Western Province in Pretoria in the playoffs. The Blue Bulls versus WP clash is set for this coming Friday evening at Loftus Versfeld.

In Cape Town, DHL Western Province finished their league commitments with a bonus-point 45 / 14 win over the Eastern Province Kings. Runaway Log leaders, the Xerox Golden Lions, completed the round-robin phase unbeaten with 10 wins after their much changed side defeated the ORC Griquas 29 / 19 in Johannesburg.

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ABSA Currie CupThe final Round, Round 10, of league fixtures in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division takes place this weekend and all eyes will be on the Free State Rugby Stadium in Bloemfontein, where the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and the Cell C Sharks will battle it out for the remaining Semifinal spot.

Unbeaten Log leaders, the Xerox Golden Lions, are already assured of a home Semifinal, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls and DHL Western Province are also through to the Semifinals.

However, with only 2 points separating the Free State Cheetahs and Cell C Sharks on the Log standings, the 2 teams have everything to play for in what is effectively a Quarterfinal in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.

The Free State Cheetahs currently have 21 points and the Cell C Sharks 19, and both teams know that a victory will book a meeting with the competition’s in-form and most prolific team this season, the Golden Lions, in Johannesburg. The losing team, meanwhile, will crash out of the competition.

DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls also have a lot to play for. Both teams are in action on Friday and their respective matches in Cape Town and Nelspruit kick off at the same time at 18:00 SA Time.

The Blue Bulls, 2nd on the Log with 34 points, face the Steval Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium and the Pretoria side knows that a win, even without a bonus point, will be enough to guarantee them a home Semifinal in the capital. Steval Pumas stalwart Marius Coetzer will deservedly earn his 100th cap when he takes to the field from the bench, while skipper Stefan Watermeyer will earn his 50th cap.

Western Province, in turn, face an injury-hit EP Kings side at DHL Newlands and the Capetonians will run out knowing that a bonus-point win is a must if they want to keep alive their slim hope of hosting a playoff match. However, for that to happen they must hope for a Blue Bulls defeat in Nelspruit.

Meanwhile, the free-scoring Golden Lions will round off their league commitments with a home clash against the bottom-of-the-log ORC Griquas in a 16:00 SA Time kick-off at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.

Interestingly, the Nel-brothers, Ruhan of ORC Griquas and Jacques of the Golden Lions, will line up opposite each other, with both playing in the No 13 jersey for their respective teams. Ruhan, a Springbok Sevens international, plays outside centre for Griquas after playing on the wing against the Cell C Sharks last weekend. The brothers played together for the Golden Lions in the Vodacom Cup, but this will be the 1st time they will play against each other.

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Cheslin Kolbe

Cheslin Kolbe

3 DHL Western Province players have found themselves on the injury list following their massive defeat to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

Kobus van Wyk (hamstring contusion), Chris Cloete (calf muscle) and Cheslin Kolbe (bone bruising and a knock to shoulder) are all unavailable for selection for their final round-robin match against the Eastern Province Kings at Newlands on Friday.

The trio joins Scarra Ntubeni (calf muscle) and Rynhardt Elstadt (quadricep), who remains on the injured list and are also unavailable.

There is a silver lining for the Cape side though, as both Jano Vermaak and Dillyn Leyds have recovered from their groin strains and are available for selection.

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Juan de Jongh

Juan de Jongh

Fit-again Springbok centre Juan de Jongh returns to captain DHL Western Province in their crunch match against the Xerox Golden Lions.

De Jongh has been out of action since suffering an MCL injury against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in mid-August and his return to fitness is a massive boost for the defending champions ahead of the 2015 play-offs.

De Jongh will start at inside centre ahead of Huw Jones, as the WP coaching staff intends to control his game time upon his return to action.

In other changes to the line-up from the side that beat the Steval Pumas, Cheslin Kolbe, Nic Groom, Chris Cloete, Jean Kleyn and Steven Kitshoff all return to the starting 15.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province head coach John Dobson has made 6 changes to his starting team for Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against the Steval Pumas at DHL Newlands.

As expected, Dillyn Leyds will start at fullback – in place of the injured Cheslin Kolbe – with Kobus van Wyk moving up from the bench to start in the No 14 jersey.

In the final change to the DHL WP backline this week, Springbok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak will make his 1st start in Blue & White Hoops, having come off the bench last week to score a valuable try for his new team.

Up front, meanwhile, loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff has not recovered from his chest niggle, handing Oli Kebble a start in the No 1 jersey.

In the 2nd row, Jan de Klerk will make a 1st start at this level, with Jean Kleyn getting a deserved rest on the bench, and skipper Nizaam Carr returns to assume the team captaincy and the No 8 jersey.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who started at No 8 last week, will pack down on the side of the scrum – at No 7 – with Jurie van Vuuren, a last-minute starter last weekend, reverting to the bench. The hard-hitting Rynhardt Elstadt is still unavailable with a thigh injury.

The new faces on the bench this week are fit-again hooker Michael Willemse (in for the injured Scarra Ntubeni), prop Ali Vermaak and utility back Jaco Taute.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions scored 2 tries in the 2nd half to secure a 26 / 18 win against the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday afternoon. The win kept the Lions’ unbeaten status intact and they now have an 8-point lead over the Vodacom Blue Bulls on the Log.

Also on Saturday, former Junior Springbok wing Sergeal Petersen ran in a brace of tries as the Toyota Free State Cheetahs completed a 44 / 24 bonus-point home win over the ORC Griquas.

The win saw the Free State Cheetahs leapfrog the Cell C Sharks and the Steval Pumas to move into 4th place on the Log and keep their semifinal chances alive while the Griquas remain rooted to the bottom of the table after just 1 win from their 7 matches.

DHL Western Province gained sweet revenge against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands with a 29 / 14 victory in Cape Town on Friday evening. The Pretoria side will rue a string of missed opportunities that cost them the chance of closing the gap on the log leaders as handling errors and strong defence from WP meant they suffered their 2nd loss of the campaign.

The Steval Pumas kept their slim semifinal hopes alive with a gritty 20 / 9 win over the Eastern Province Kings in their fixture at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday.

The Pumas had come into the game off the back of 2 consecutive losses and were desperate to get back to winning ways. The victory has kept them in distant touch with the front-runners and was just enough to make them outside contenders for the playoffs. They did not collect a bonus point but the win could prove crucial at the end of the round-robin stage.

After 7 Rounds, the Xerox Golden Lions are out in front on 33 points, followed by the Vodacom Blue Bulls on 25 points. Last year’s winners, DHL Western Province, are currently 3rd on 24 points, followed by the Toyota Free State Cheetahs on 17 points. The Cell C Sharks (13) and Pumas (also 13) follow next, then the Kings in 7th place (7) and Griquas (6).

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions reigned over the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their ABSA Currie Cup derby on Saturday evening at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria thanks to a thrilling 36 / 28 win in their Top of the Table clash.

Johan Ackermann’s outfit consolidated their position on the Top of the Premier Division standings and at the same time opened up a 4 point lead over their Northern neighbours, who suffered their 1st defeat of the campaign.

Last year’s winners, DHL Western Province, strengthened their grip on 3rd place with a gritty 37 / 27 away win over the Cell C Sharks in Durban. Elsewhere, the ORC Griquas and the Eastern Province Kings scored their 1st wins of the competition.

In Kimberley, the Griquas prevailed 32 / 15 over the Steval Pumas while a 14-man EP Kings side defeated the Toyota Free State Cheetahs by 32 / 24 at home in Port Elizabeth.

With just 4 Rounds of ordinary league action remaining before the play-off’s, the Xerox Golden Lions are leading the race for semi-final places. They have 29 Log points, followed by the Vodacom Blue Bulls (25), DHL Western Province (20), Cell C Sharks (13), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (12), Steval Pumas (9), Eastern Province Kings (7) and ORC Griquas (6).

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ABSA Currie CupThe Trans-Jukskei derby is the highlight of Round 6 and a sneak preview of a possible Currie Cup Final.

The undefeated neighbours, the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Xerox Golden Lions, have been the standout teams and also the 2 most entertaining sides.

Johan Ackermann’s Golden Lions are leading the standings on 25 Log points – having collected a full-house 5 points in all 5 their outings this season.

The Blue Bulls are a solitary point behind, also winning 5 from 5 but won the last Round’s game without a bonus point.

The weekend’s action starts in Port Elizabeth on Friday where the winless Eastern Province Kings host a vastly-improved Toyota Free State Cheetahs team.

Saturday’s early match will see another winless team, ORC Griquas, host a struggling Steval Pumas outfit in Kimberley. Although the Pumas have 2 wins to their credit, including beating the Cell C Sharks in Round 1, they have struggled to maintain their early momentum.

The 3rd-placed DHL Western Province, who are a full 9 points behind the Golden Lions, face the Cell C Sharks in Durban in Round 6 – both desperate for some consistency in a season where promising victories have been soured by disappointing defeats.

Then, of course, we head to Pretoria for what may well be 1 of the best matches of the season.

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Nic Groom

Nic Groom

Nic Groom will take over the captaincy for DHL Western Province from injured No 8 Nizaam Carr – against the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

DHL WP will be looking to dominate a ressurgent Sharks team in their own backyard.

There has also been a late change from the announced team, with Kurt Coleman dropping out due to a calf strain, replaced by Robert du Preez at flyhalf and with Demetri Catrakilis on the bench as flyhalf cover.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe returns from injury to start at No 8 in 1 of only 3 changes made to the starting line-up from last weekend’s confidence boosting 33 / 15 win over the ORC Griquas.

Carr has a hamstring injury and will not be fit to face the Sharks.

The other changes to the Province starting 15 sees Dillyn Leyds start on the right wing, in place of Kobus van Wyk – who drops down to the bench.

Exciting young talent Huw Jones will make his 1st start in the Currie Cup in place of Jaco Taute at inside centre.

The fit-again pairing of prop Oli Kebble and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, come onto the bench this week – in the place of JP Smith and Godlen Masimla, respectively.

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Daniel du Plessis

Daniel du Plessis

Hooker Daniel du Plessis suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday afternoon whilst playing for the DHL Western Province Under 21 team at DHL Newlands. However, on Monday Du Plessis began to show a steady improvement which is a very positive sign for a full recovery.

Daniel Mills du Plessis – who turned 20 on 24 February 2015 – collapsed on the field during Saturday’s ABSA Provincial Under 21 encounter between DHL WP and the Leopards and he stopped breathing. He was immediately attended to by the DHL Western Province Under 21 medical team and, together with paramedics from ER24, he was resuscitated on the field and further stabilised in the stadium medical room by the stadium specialists.

Once stable, Daniel was immediately transferred by ambulance to the ICU at Vincent Pallotti Hospital. He was put in an induced coma and ventilated on Saturday night. After a steady improvement and excellent specialist care, he has come off the ventilator and is now sitting up and talking.

He still has a recovery period ahead, and the cause of his heart arrest remains unknown, but his steady improvement is a very positive sign for a full recovery.

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Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Oli Kebble

Oli Kebble

DHL Western Province have been boosted by the availability of prop Oli Kebble and flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe as they prepare to face the Cell C Sharks in a Currie Cup clash in Durban on Saturday.

Kebble (hamstring) was sidelined for WP’s last 2 matches, while Notshe (AC joint) missed last weekend’s 33 / 15 win over ORC Griquas at Newlands.

Both players were back at training on Monday will be available for selection this week.

Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, who had been sidelined in recent weeks by a finger injury, is also back at training and may be considered.

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ABSA Currie CupABSA Currie Cup pacesetters the Xerox Golden Lions and Vodacom Blue Bulls continued with their unbeaten run over the weekend, while 2014 winners DHL Western Province returned to winning ways after suffering 2 losses in a row.

The Xerox Golden Lions are top of the Premier Division Log standings thanks to a 37 / 21 win over the embattled Eastern Province Kings.

Despite racing into a 19 / 0 lead very early on, the EP Kings rallied back with a spirited performance and the Golden Lions could only seal their success with a late surge on Saturday evening in Johannesburg.

Thanks to their bonus-point win at home, the Golden Lions now Top the log with 25 Log points, 1 more than the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who triumphed 24 / 17 over a resilient Toyota Free State Cheetahs on a cold and wet Friday evening in Pretoria.

Western Province turned on the style in the 2nd half to score a much needed bonus-point 33 / 15 victory over the ORC Griquas at DHL Newlands on Saturday after suffering 2 consecutive defeats. The Cape side have 15 points and remains in 3rd spot.

At Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban, the Cell C Sharks held off a tremendous effort from the Steval Pumas to make it 2 wins in a row thanks to their close-fought 27 / 26 win over the visitors. The Sharks are 4th on the Log and just 2 points behind DHL WP.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

DHL Western Province look set to lose their 2nd captain this Currie Cup season.

Juan de Jongh is still a long term concern after the knee injury he picked up mid-August against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, and now Nizaam Carr faces a spell on the sidelines too.

The WP No  8 left the field towards the end of the 1st half in his side’s eventual 33 / 15 win over ORC Griquas at Newlands on Saturday, and coach John Dobson confirmed after the match that his skipper was doubt for next weekend’s trip to the Cell C Sharks.

“Very much so,” was his response when asked if Carr was now in doubt for the Sharks game.

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DHL WPA DHL Western Province Under 21 player collapsed on the field of play after suffering a cardiac arrest during his team’s ABSA Provincial Under 21 match against the Leopards at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Rapid response emergency procedures were immediately activated. This resulted in a successful resuscitation on field and the player was subsequently transferred to ICU for further investigations and medical care.

WP Rugby would like to thank the specialist medical team, as well as the ER24 on-duty crew, for their swift actions.

At this stage, the player cannot be named until his family has been informed in full about the incident. We further request that the media respect the player and his family’s privacy during these tough times.

Steven Kitshoff

Steven Kitshoff

Springbok training squad members Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff will both start in the front row for DHL Western Province in Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas at DHL Newlands.

Ntubeni replaces Bongi Mbonambi at hooker, whilst Kitshoff comes in for Ali Vermaak at loosehead prop, with coach John Dobson making a total of 5 personnel changes to the starting line-up that went down 21 / 28 to the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Friday.

The other changes to the DHL WP starting 15 sees Nic Groom and Kurt Coleman team up as halfback pairing, whilst livewire flanker Chris Cloete will start in the No 6 jersey with Rynhardt Elstadt filling in for Sikhumbuzo Notshe (shoulder) in the No 7 shirt.

On the bench, meanwhile, Chris van Zyl is over his knee injury to slot in as the lock replacement, fit-again Jurie van Vuuren will provide loose forward cover and inside back Robert du Preez is set for his 1st taste of ABSA Currie Cup action this season.

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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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DHL WPVodacom Blue BullsHas the world gone mad? The Vodacom Blue Bulls will be playing an expansive game and DHL Western Province will kick for territory.

That is what is on the cards when South Africa’s biggest derby, the north-south Currie Cup showdown between the Blue Bulls and WP, take place at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Province have made it clear they want to build ‘scoreboard pressure’, building up a healthy lead before looking for tries and bonus points.

One gets the feeling the WP brains trust believe the Blue Bulls can’t chase a game once they are behind.

Both WP coach John Dobson and new captain Nizaam Carr said they will not be lured into a helter-skelter contest and will back their structures to wear the Blue Bulls down.

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Juan de Jongh

Juan de Jongh

DHL Western Province were dealt a cruel blow with the news that captain Juan de Jongh has been ruled out of action for 8 to 10 weeks.

De Jongh suffered a knee injury in the 49th minute of last Saturday’s 9 / 3 win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

The Springbok centre – who captained WP to Currie Cup glory last season – suffered a Grade 2 Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear, which could potentially see him only return in time for the Currie Cup play-offs in October.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions, Vodacom Blue Bulls and the DHL Western Province all achieved successive wins in the 2nd Round of the ABSA Currie Cup played over the weekend.

In Durban, the Cell C Sharks opened their account with a win over the Eastern Province Kings, which means the EP Kings, Toyota Free State Cheetahs and the ORC Griquas are still searching for their 1st win after 2 Rounds of Premier Division matches.

At Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg the Xerox Golden Lions survived a bruising battle against the Steval Pumas to win 44 / 27 (halftime 20 / 10) on Friday night. In another Friday evening clash Vodacom Blue Bulls flyhalf Tian Schoeman contributed 21 points to steer his team to a 36 / 12 victory over the ORC Griquas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. Griquas led 12 / 6 at halftime.

DHL Western Province beat the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 9 / 3 in driving rain on Saturday afternoon to hand new coach, John Dobson, his 1st ABSA Currie Cup win at DHL Newlands in Cape Town. In the late Saturday kick-off the Cell C Sharks fought off a determined challenge from the Eastern Province Kings to claim a 33 / 25 (half-time 18 / 10) victory at Growthpoint Kings Park.

The Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions have both collected the maximum 10 Log Points on offer from their 2 outings and the Gauteng rivals are closely followed by defending champions, Western Province, who have 9 Log Points.

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Siyabonga "Scarra" Ntubeni

Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni

Fringe hooker Scarra Ntubeni has been released by the Springbok coaching staff.

Ntubeni, who did not travel with the team to Argentina on Wednesday this week, will be returning to DHL Western Province.

He was 1 of the members of the broader Springbok squad that stayed behind in Durban, while the matchday squad headed to Buenos Aires for the final match ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

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ABSA Currie CupDefending ABSA Currie Cup champions, DHL Western Province, the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Xerox Golden Lions all scored impressive wins in the opening Round of South Africa’s premier provincial competition over the weekend.

The 1st Round of the famous competition saw a number of outstanding individual performance as the teams got their new campaign underway. 6 Of the 8 teams started with new coaches at the helm, while several of the line-ups included numerous Junior Springboks and also a few Springbok Sevens stalwarts.

Springbok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard gave a masterclass performance for the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who scored 6 tries in total in their comprehensive 57 / 19 win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

In the other match played on Saturday afternoon, Junior Springbok flank Kwagga Smith was equally impressive for the Xerox Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth where he scored a hattrick of tries in their 51 / 14 demolition of the Eastern Province Kings.

Champions Western Province kicked off their campaign in perfect fashion on Friday afternoon with a 6-try victory over the ORC Griquas in Kimberley. Springbok Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla scored 2 tries to demonstrate his deadly finishing abilities.

Meanwhile, history repeated itself in the late match on Friday when the Steval Pumas beat the Cell C Sharks 33 / 24 in the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The score was almost identical to the 32 / 22 shock win of the Pumas over the Sharks in the opening Round fixture of last year at the same venue.

Pumas live-wire flank Marnus Schoeman scored 2 tries and was denied a 3rd by a desperate Thomas du Toit tackle just as he was about to launch himself over the try line.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls currently sit on Top of the Log, thanks to their bonus point win and better points’ difference and they are followed by the Xerox Golden Lions, DHL Western Province (both also on 5 points) and the Steval Pumas (4 points).

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  • grootblousmile 13 Oct 2015, 22:47 SAST - 9 @ Bullscot: Whether Ross Ford & Jonny Gray each get a week or 5 weeks suspension, makes no difference...
  • Bullscot 13 Oct 2015, 22:39 SAST - from rugbyworldcup: Ireland flanker Seán O’Brien will miss their quarter-final with Argentina after being suspended for one week for striking....
  • Bullscot 13 Oct 2015, 22:38 SAST - from rugbworldcup: Ross Ford and Jonny Gray will miss Scotland’s quarter-final with Australia after each being suspended for three weeks...
  • Bullscot 13 Oct 2015, 22:37 SAST - From rugbworldcup: Marcelo Bosch (Argentina) has been suspended for one week for a dangerous tackle contrary to Law 10.4(e). Following...
  • Bullscot 13 Oct 2015, 22:33 SAST - Marcelo Bosch got 1 week ban.
  • Bullscot 13 Oct 2015, 22:32 SAST - Jonny Gray and Ross Ford both get a 3 week ban! What I expected for Gray but outrageous for Ford...

Rugby-Talk RWC 2015

Pool Name: Rugby-Talk RWC 2015

Pool Code: bosslire

Rule: You HAVE TO BE REGISTERED (as a Subscriber here on to be eligible for acceptance in the Rugby-Talk pools on SuperBru.

The Pool is now CLOSED for new Applications.

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