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Josh Strauss

Sale Sharks are delighted to announce the signing of Scottish International Back Row Forward Josh Strauss on a three year deal.

Josh is currently playing for Glasgow Warriors who he joined in 2012 from The Lions and Golden Lions where he was captain.

He made his Currie Cup debut in 2010 and became a cult figure with his style of play and distinctive full length beard.

Josh has been capped eleven times by Scotland after making his international debut against Japan in the 2015 World Cup at Kingsholm.

Director of Rugby Steve Diamond said: ” Josh is a world class ball carrying forward. He has been performing well for both Glasgow and Scotland over the past five years and will compliment the squad in the ball carrying department. He is a leader and a very powerful athlete.

“The new owners Simon Orange and Ged Mason are keen to help Sale Sharks to become one of the leading clubs and signings like Josh will help our cause.”

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Free State CheetahsXerox Golden LionsFS Cheetahs (26) 55 / 17 (0) Golden Lions (Final Score)

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Xerox Golden Lions did battle in the Currie Cup Premier Division 2016 Semi-Final at

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 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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WP RugbyFor the second year in a row, Western Province won the final match at the Craven Week. This year’s was different.

Last year Western Province beat Eastern Province a record 95-0 in the last match.

This time they won 27-20 – a much, much better contest, a lively match. The result could have changed right up to the final whistle.

The Golden Lions had the better of scrums, the Western Province of the line-outs. But there was far greater rhythm to Western Province’s play, as one would expect with their outstanding backs.

Both sides showed determination and so the match went for the full 60 minutes with growing excitement. Both sides defended heroically, Golden Lions more often.

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

No 8 Warren Whiteley has credited coach Johan Ackermann for the revival in Lions rugby.

This season, Ackermann coached the Xerox Golden Lions to an ABSA Currie Cup title while they also had an adequate Super Rugby campaign as the Emirates Lions, winning 9 of their 16 games.

Not only have the Lions showed a revival in form, but they have also done so by employing an enterprising game style.

“This all started when Johan Ackermann took over as head coach and encouraged the players to play for each other and the jersey,” Whiteley told “He put the pride back into Lions rugby, which had a major influence on the team. We enjoyed a strong finish to Super Rugby last year, and we did well during this year’s tournament. We’re also doing well in the Currie Cup. This is all reward for the hard work we’ve put in to ensure the Lions excel as a unit… as a family.”

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Xerox Golden LionsDHL WPGolden Lions (22) 32 / 24 (10) WP (Final Score)

The Xerox Golden Lions and DHL Western Province did battle in the FINAL of the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup at

Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg at 13:45 SA Time (11:45 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 LionsDHL WPIt once was the biggest game in South Africa, the highlight of the year – to determine the most supreme team in the country.

On Saturday the FINAL of the ABSA Currie Cup, still the premier domestic competition, will compete for a place in the spotlight with the BIGGEST game in Rugby Union – a World Cup showdown between South Africa and New Zealand.

However, the Xerox Golden Lions and DHL Western Province will play like, and the winners celebrate as if, they are involved in a Rugby World Cup Final.

The build-up may have been low-key – in comparison with other finals – but there is no doubt that the game will be every bit as intense and entertaining as any Final that has gone before.

Province coach John Dobson was keen to take on the underdog tag – pointing to the Lions’ 62 / 32 win 3 weeks ago and their unbeaten run as reasons why pundits are likely to bank on the home team.

However, he feels the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, in last week’s Semifinal Round, gave other teams a glimpse of how to bring the Emirates Airline Park-based team down to earth.

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann was not keen to take the ‘favourites’ tag offered to him by Dobson.

The wily Golden Lions mentor feels Western Province have a real chance of retaining their title.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province will field an unchanged line-up in Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup FINAL against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

Coach John Dobson has wisely not tampered with the match-22 that beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls by 23 / 18 in last weekend’s semifinal, with outside centre Johnny Kotze (knock to the knee) cleared to take part in the final.

Kotze will start in his 1st-ever ABSA Currie Cup Final and he is 1 of 7 players doing so, whilst a total of 12 players in the matchday squad will be wearing Province colours in a final for the 1st time.

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Xerox Golden LionsThe Xerox Golden Lions side to take on DHL Western Province in the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup Final shows 3 changes to the starting line-up at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday 24 October 2015 at 13:45 SA Time.

Robbie Coetzee starts at hooker with Malcolm Marx moving to the bench, Kwagga Smith will wear the No 7 jersey while Stephan de Witt takes up a seat on the bench and in the last change Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Stokkies Hanekom will swop places with the latter moving to the bench.

3 Finals will take place on Saturday.

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ABSA Currie CupWith just 2 knockout Rounds left until the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup champions are crowned this year, the 4 remaining teams in the country’s oldest and most prestigious domestic rugby competition have it all to play for in the 2 Semifinals this weekend.

DHL Western Province, the 2014 champions, travel to Pretoria for their clash on Friday evening against the Vodacom Blue Bulls. The Blue Bulls, who finished 2nd on the Log, will host their 1st ABSA Currie Cup Semifinal since 2008, with the match starting at 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT).

The in-form Xerox Golden Lions, meanwhile, have so far swept aside every challenge before them this season and they are currently on a 10-match unbeaten run in the competition. They are playing in the 2nd Semifinal at home in Johannesburg at Emirates Airline Park against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs. This Saturday fixture kick-off is at 13:45 SA Time (11:45 GMT).

The clash in Pretoria will mark the 3rd time that the 2 great North vs South rivals meet this season, and they currently share the spoils between them with a home victory each. Last year, the Cape side defeated their rivals 31 / 23 in the Semifinal at Newlands.

Western Province eventually went on to lift the coveted ABSA Currie Cup trophy in front of their home crowd, after former coach Allister Coetzee’s charges edged the Golden Lions 19 / 16 in the 2014 final.

The Xerox Golden Lions scored a runaway 73 / 31 victory over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in their round-robin meeting last month in Bloemfontein and they should be fresh and rejuvenated after fielding a new-look side for last weekend’s last league fixture against the ORC Griquas.

However, the Free State Cheetahs will approach the meeting with the Golden Lions knowing that previous form will count for nothing in the knockout phase. They managed to escape defeat against the Cell C Sharks last Saturday thanks to a gritty fightback in Bloemfontein and this week they will have to show that fighting spirit from the start against the team that have so far have thrived on their high-tempo, fast attacking style of play.

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Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has brought back his rested stars for their semifinal clash against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs on Saturday.

Jaco Kriel will again lead the team, which has a strong leadership group with Warren Whiteley, Ross Cronjé and Howard Mnisi all back on duty.

Prop Jacques van Rooyen and flank Steph de Wit are back in the starting 15 after playing off the bench last weekend against ORC Griquas.

A number of players who started against Griquas will be on the bench this Saturday. They include centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, hooker Robbie Coetzee, flyhalf Jaco van der Walt, wing Sampie Mastriet, lock Fabian Booysen and the impact specialist Kwagga Smith.

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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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Xerox Golden LionsThe Van der Walt brothers, Jaco and Gerdus will run out together for the Xerox Golden Lions in their match-up against the ORC Griquas at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday 10 October 2015.

Jaco will don the No 10 jersey while Gerdus will be at inside centre, partnering with Jacques Nel in midfield.

The side will be lead on the field by No 8 Warren Whiteley, while a host of Under 21 players have been given the opportunity to taste Currie Cup rugby in this last game of the pool stages.

Up front Robbie Coetzee returns after a 2 week lay-off and is joined by Pieter Scholtz at tighthead. The locks are MB Lusaseni and Bobby de Wee (Martin Muller failed his late and final fitness test on Friday after limping off with an injury at Thursday training), while Kwagga Smith and Ruaan Lerm will complete the loose-trio with Warren Whiteley.

Mark Richards and Sampie Mastriet are the wings and Vainon Willis the fullback.

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Howard Mnisi

Howard Mnisi

There seems to be no stopping the Xerox Golden Lions on the field as well as off it, as injuries seems to be something they need not worry about.

Following their resounding 62 / 32 victory over DHL Western Province in Johannesburg, the Golden Lions only picked up 4 minor knocks but all the players are available for selection for their final Currie Cup round-robin fixture against ORC Griquas.

MB Lusaseni has recovered enough from a shoulder injury to be available for selection while hooker Mark Pretorius will also be available for selection after recovering from his knee niggle.

There is also good news in midfield for the Johannesburg side as centres Rohan Janse van Rensburg (shoulder) and Howard Mnisi (hamstring) have both recovered from slight knocks picked up against Western Province.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions produced their most impressive display of the season when they demolished DHL Western Province 62 / 32 in their ABSA Currie Cup match at Emirates Airline Park on Friday evening in Johannesburg.

The Golden Lions stretched their unbeaten run to 9 games and their prolific form saw them stack up 135 points in their last 2 games. They are 9 Log Points clear of 2nd-placed Vodacom Blue Bulls, who outplayed the Eastern Province Kings by 48 / 27 also on Friday evening in Pretoria.

Although WP suffered their 3rd loss of their campaign against a rampant Golden Lions team, their 30 Log points means they are assured of 3rd place on the standings, irrespective of the outcome of their last Round clash this coming Friday against the EP Kings in Cape Town.

ORC Griquas were no match for the Cell C Sharks in Kimberley on Saturday as the Durban-based side ran in 6 tries for a 45 / 20 victory to move within 2 points of the 4th-placed Toyota Free State Cheetahs on the Log.

The Steval Pumas and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs played to a thrilling 37 / 37 draw in their encounter at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday after the visitors led 24 / 16 at halftime.

Currently, the Xerox Golden Lions lead the way on 43 Log points, followed by the Vodacom Blue Bulls on 34, DHL Western Province are 3rd on 30, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 4th on 21, followed by the Cell C Sharks on 19, Steval Pumas on 16, EP Kings on 12 and ORC Griquas are stone last on 8.

This coming weekend sees the Toyota Free State Cheetahs host the Cell C Sharks in Bloemfontein and the winner of this encounter will play the Xerox Golden Lions in 1 of the Semi-finals in Johannesburg. The Vodacom Blue Bulls just need a win in Nelspruit to set up a home meeting in the semi-finals against DHL Western Province.

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Xerox Golden LionsSpringbok No 8 Warren Whiteley will wear the Xerox Golden Lions No 8 jumper against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday but Jaco Kriel will still lead the team on the field.

Steph de Wit will be the 3rd member of the loose-trio with Kwagga Smith moving to the bench.

The 3rd change to the starting line-up is the inclusion of Jacques van Rooyen in the front row.

Lourens Erasmus retains his place at lock after a sterling performance last weekend.

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Alwyn Hollenbach

Alwyn Hollenbach

Xerox Golden Lions centre Alwyn Hollenbach has been forced to retire from rugby with immediate effect, due to an recurring shoulder injury.

The 30-year-old Hollenbach joined the Lions rugby family in 2009 and has since represented the union 37 times in the Currie Cup, 24 times in Super Rugby and 19 times in the Vodacom Cup.

The centre has been struggling with the same shoulder injury for quite some time and in 2014 it worsened during Super Rugby against the Brumbies. It is the same shoulder that he injured this year in the Currie Cup against the Pumas.

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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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Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel is back to lead the Xerox Golden Lions against the Vodacom Blue Bulls for the ABSA Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday 12 September.

With Kriel back for his 39th Currie Cup match for the Golden Lions, Kwagga Smith drops to the bench, while Martin Muller also returns from injury in the place of MB Lusaseni while Mullers’ lock partner Franco Mostert is also back.

Ross Cronjé and his Springbok halfback partner Marnitz Boshoff also makes a welcome return.

Cronjé replaces Lohan Jacobs. Boshoff runs out in the place of Jaco van der Walt, who moves to the bench.

In other changes Robbie Coetzee returns to the fray at hooker in a rotational move which sees Malcolm Marx take up the No 16 jersey and Ruan Dreyer is at tighthead prop.

Courtnall Skosan comes in for the injured Anthony Volmink at wing in the only other change to the starting line-up.

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Julian Redelinghuys

Julian Redelinghuys

Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley (calf) will not be available for selection for the game against the Blue Bulls on Saturday.

Julian Redelinghuys has a chest injury and will miss training on Monday and Tuesday. He will have to pass a late fitness test on Thursday to play at the weekend.

Martin Muller (ankle) may be available for selection if he passes a fitness test scheduled for Thursday.

Stokkies Hanekom (jaw) should be available for selection but no contact Monday and Tuesday.

Anthony Volmink is out with concussion.

Jaco van der Walt (chest) should be available for selection but no contact Monday and Tuesday.

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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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his team to face the Eastern Province Kings at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.

Ackermann has followed through with his rotation policy, making wholesale changes to the side which downed the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit last weekend.

In the forwards, Malcolm Marx and Julian Redelinghuys will start in the front row. MB Lusaseni is included at lock.

Most notably, Warren Whiteley was supposed to return at No 8 to captain the side but he pulled his calf at Thursday training. As a result, Fabian Booysen is retained at No 8.

Howard Mnisi has been selected to captain the side from the centre berth.

Additionally, there have been 5 personnel changes to the Xerox Golden Lions backline. Lohan Jacobs will start at scrumhalf, while Jaco van der Walt has been given an opportunity to start at flyhalf.

Anthony Volmink will start at left wing, while Ruan Combrinck shifts to right wing to make space for Andries Coetzee who returns from injury this week, at fullback. Additionally, Stokkies Hanekom will start at outside centre.

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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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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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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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