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Western Province

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ABSA Currie CupIt was a weekend of bonus-point victories in the ABSA Currie Cup as all the winning sides, except for the Vodacom Blue Bulls, bagged 5 Log points from their matches to maintain comfortable log positions with an eye on the playoff stages.

In Friday’s matches DHL Western Province defeated the Steval Pumas 37-23 in Nelspruit and the Vodacom Blue Bulls beat the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 31-22 in Bloemfontein. On Saturday the Cell C Sharks thumped the EP Kings 53-24 in Durban and the Xerox Golden Lions registered a convincing 46-8 victory against GWK Griquas in Kimberley.

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Steval PumasThe Pumas are looking to take down one more “big” team in their quest to obtain a playoff spot which will, ultimately, make for a successful season.

The Mbombela Stadium has become a fortress for the Nelspruit side as they are yet to be beaten at the venue in the campaign and coach Jimmy Stonehouse is hoping to keep it that way.

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Seabelo Senatla

The good news for DHL Western Province fans is that explosive winger Seabelo Senatla, who has been missed by the Cape side during his injury enforced absence, will be back for the play-off rounds of the Absa Currie Cup.

Senatla has linked up with the Springboks during their build-up to Saturday’s test match against Australia at Newlands for the purpose of picking up experience that could come in useful later in his career.

He has been unable to train, but according to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts he is being monitored by the Bok Sevens medical team. He is in the final stages of rehabilitation from his ankle injury and will soon be back on the field.

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DHL WPDHL WP, the 2012 Absa Currie Cup winners and 2013 finalists, will take on the Steval Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium with vice-captain Pat Cilliers back at tighthead prop and Brok Harris moving down to the bench.

Scrumhalf Nic Groom and utility back Michael van der Spuy will join Harris on the bench this week, with coach Coetzee once again reverting to a more traditional four / three split (forwards / backs) amongst his replacements.

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Currie CupEastern Province Kings:

The captaincy curse has struck the winless Eastern Province Kings again, with another skipper sidelined.

Steven Sykes will join Luke Watson in the sickbay and will not be on duty the against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, according to the Kings medical team.

Sykes will be missing the upcoming game due to a knee injury that he sustained during the loss to the Free State Cheetahs last Saturday.

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ABSA Currie CupAs anticipated, DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions confirmed their positions at the top of the Absa Currie Cup log with bonus point home wins over the weekend, but they may have reason now to be looking nervously over their shoulders.

The Cell C Sharks have looked woeful for most of the season and until the second half against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 days again, they just weren’t converting their line breaks or stringing phases together.

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Nick Mallett

Nick Mallett

This is what Nick Mallett had to say after yesterday’s Currie Cup matches:

I was surprised, because the Sharks have gone through a couple of difficult weeks, where they lost two and drew one. Going into the game it looked like the Blue Bulls had a bit of momentum. It was a really good performance by the Sharks, it’s never easy to win at Loftus.

It was not just a win, but a good win.

The Blue Bulls are going to really battle to make the semis now.

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DHL WPGWK GriquasWP (24) 36 / 12 (0) Griquas (Final Score)

DHL Western Province and GWK Griquas did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at

Newlands, Cape Town 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.

(Take Note: There will be no LIVE GAME ARTICLE for the EP Kings / Toyota Free State Cheetahs match, as it also takes place at the same time as this game)

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DHL WPLoose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe and utility back Justin Geduld will make their first Absa Currie Cup starts for DHL Western Province in Saturday’s home fixture against Griquas (kick-off 15h00).

Notshe will wear the No.6 jersey at DHL Newlands in the absence of injured loose forward colleague Siya Kolisi, whilst SA Sevens star Geduld will start on the left-wing as part of the five changes to the DHL WP team this week.

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DHL WPWestern Province will need to ‘change their attitude’ or face more Currie Cup heartache in the coming weeks.

This is the view of WP coach Allister Coetzee, following his team’s first defeat of the season – when they went down 33-35 to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg last Saturday.

Province, who conceded just eight tries in the first five weeks of the revamped Currie Cup competition, leaked five five-pointers against the Lions at Ellis Park.

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SuperBruRound 3 of the Rugby Championship ended in heartbreak for the Springboks when they went down to Australia by 1 point in the final few minutes of what was not an entertaining match at all.

The referee, the yellow card to Bryan Habana, the failed touchfinder by Morné Steyn and various other reasons have already been dissected and discussed, so we won’t dwell on those.

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Louis Schreuder

50 Up! Louis Schreuder

Scrumhalf Louis Schreuder will play his 50th provincial match on Saturday and he will have a new halfback partner for the occasion, when DHL Western Province go up against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg (kick-off 17:05 SA Time).

The DHL WP starting XV shows just two changes from last week’s 49-14 demolition of the EP Kings, with Kurt Coleman partnering half-centurion Schreuder in what will be his first start of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup and vice-captain Pat Cilliers returning at tighthead prop.

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De Kock Steenkamp

De Kock Steenkamp

Welsh club Ospreys have confirmed that they have signed Stormers lock De Kock Steenkamp on a three-year contract, despite the player having one more year on his contract in the Cape.

Steenkamp, 27, secured an early release from his Stormers contract and will join the PRO12 club after representing the Stormers on 49 occasions in Super Rugby and playing 59 games for the Western Province in the Currie Cup.

“Joining the Ospreys is a great opportunity for me and a challenge that I can’t wait to get stuck into,” said Steenkamp in a statement on Ospreys’ official website.

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Cheslin Kolbe

Cheslin Kolbe

Western Province made it five from five in the Currie Cup with a convincing 49-14 win over the Eastern Province Kings at Newlands on Friday night.

The hosts, the only remaining unbeaten team in the Currie Cup, picked up their third bonus point win of the season in the process as they racked up seven tries whilst conceding just two, reports WP’s official website.

Skipper Juan de Jongh opened his team’s tally in the 11th minute when he snapped up a loose EP Kings pass, that after kickers Scott van Breda (Kings) and Demetri Catrakilis (WP) missed goal kicks inside the first ten minutes.

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SuperBruThis weekend sees the resumption of The Rugby Championship with the All Blacks hosting the Pumas in Napier and the Springboks traveling to Perth to face the Wallabies.

Last weekend we had the Round 4 of the ABSA Currie Cup and there has been some movement at the top of the Rugby-Talk SuperBru group.

The 6 Important games we focus on which are played this weekend, consists of the 2 Rugby Championship Test matches as well as 4 ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division matches.

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John Dobson

John Dobson

Western Province Under-21 coach John Dobson is upset at the punishments dished out to two Blue Bulls players after WP lock JD Schickerling broke his neck in an Under-21 game in Pretoria last weekend.

Schickerling was injured just after catching a ball from a kick-off when Bulls lock Irne Herbst’s shoulder collided with Schickerling’s head in their clash at Loftus Versfeld. Afterwards, the other Bulls lock, Marvin Orie, grabbed the WP player in a headclamp before hurling him to the ground.

Schickerling suffered a fractured cervical spine at the C5/C6 level during the match and narrowly escaped paralysis.

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JD Schickerling

JD Schickerling

Based on the video evidence below, Tank Lanning believes it impossible to argue against at least further investigation into Irne Herbst’s tackle on JD Schickerling in Saturday’s Under-21 game at Loftus Versfeld.

Schickerling was injured after catching a ball from a kick-off when Bulls lock Herbst’s shoulder collided with Schickerling’s head. Afterwards, the Bulls’ other lock, Marvin Orie, grabbed Schickerling in a headclamp, before hurling him to the ground.

Orie has been asked to attend an official SARU disciplinary committee, while Herbst was issued an off-field yellow card after the WPRU asked for the incident to be reviewed.

Watch the video below:

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DHL WPDHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to his starting team for Friday night’s ABSA Currie Cup clash with the EP Kings at Newlands.

Only one of those changes is enforced, with wing Seabelo Senatla ruled out because of the ankle injury sustained against the Vodacom Blue Bulls last weekend. Coetzee said earlier in the week that Senatla would be out for a minimum of two weeks, but it seems likely now that he will be out for three or four. Continue reading

Carlos Spencer

Carlos Spencer

EP Kings head coach, Carlos Spencer, has made five changes to the starting lineup that will take on Western Province at Newlands on Friday.

Spencer announced that Steven Sykes will once again captain the side as regular skipper, Luke Watson, was still recovering from a concussion.

Changes to the forward pack include Lizo Gqoboka, who will return to the side at loosehead prop in place of BG Uys, with Shaun McDonald coming off the bench on at Flank, rotating with Thembelani Boli who moves to the bench.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

He has been one of the stellar performers nationwide as the Currie Cup approaches its halfway stage in pre-knockout play this weekend.

But will Nizaam Carr, the tearaway No 8 for log-leaders Western Province, fall prey soon to that all too common shortcoming by South African coaches at either Super Rugby or provincial level: flogging players to the point of exhaustion or often not unrelated injury?

A week and a half ago, WP coach Allister Coetzee admitted to some journalists that Carr, whose game-to-game work-rate has often been little short of extraordinary, was in need of some “off” time – remember that the domestic competition has no bye-weekend luxuries.

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JD Schickerling

JD Schickerling

Western Province Under 21 lock JD Schickerling narrowly escaped paralysis after breaking his neck against the Blue Bulls Under 21’s.

The 19-year-old Junior Springbok broke his neck in the 4th minute of the Absa Under 21 clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Schickerling was injured just after catching a ball from a kick-off when Bulls lock Irne Herbst’s shoulder collided with Schickerling’s head. Afterwards, the other Bulls lock, Marvin Orie, grabbed the WP player in a headclamp before hurling him to the ground.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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