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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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DHL WPCentre Michael van der Spuy is the only injury worry for Western Province coach Allister Coetzee, ahead of Saturday’s away meeting against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.

Van der Spuy has a tight hamstring, following the weekend’s 27-14 win over the Golden Lions, and did not train on Monday.

Should Van der Spuy be ruled out of action, Jaco Taute (on the bench last week) and Pat Howard (who came off the bench in Round One) would come into the selection equation an centre.

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Kobus van Wyk

WP flyer, Kobus van Wyk

Surprise, surprise… there are the Sharks and Western Province, back dominating Currie Cup rugby.

Many changes could still happen, of course, given that the 2014 competition is not quite a third of the way through the pre-knockout phase, but it is interesting nevertheless that the two coastal powers have already seized just a hint of a grip.

It will only increase speculation that the pair may be set for a third successive meeting in the final this year, something that has not happened since the Blue Bulls and Cheetahs met in each of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 showpieces.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

It was not performance that sounded a Currie Cup championship warning but the victorious Western Province showed their attacking prowess in their 27-14 victory over the Golden Lions at Newlands on Saturday.

Speaking after the match, Province coach Allister Coetzee said the importance of starting well was once again underlined.

“Later in the match the Lions put us under tremendous pressure and there were not many opportunities again,” Coetzee said.

“It cost really hard work for us to survive in what was a tough game.”

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Cell C SharksA long-range penalty by Fred Zeilinga four minutes from time helped the Sharks snatch a last-ditch 19-16 victory over the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash at Kings Park on Saturday night.

The home flyhalf kicked 14 points in total, with the other five coming through a late try by Tonderai Chavhanga.

However, the visitors will rue what might have been after leading the game for most of the evening thanks to a brilliant Clayton Blommetjies’ try and the boot of Willie du Plessis.

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Xerox Golden LionsGolden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man side to take on Western Province at Newlands this Saturday.

In the forwards, Willie Britz and Warwick Tecklenburg move up into the starting side, joining Derick Minnie in the loose trio. Minnie will captain the side.

Meanwhile in the backline, Ackermann has opted for consistency, selecting the same group which beat the EP Kings 60-19 at Ellis Park last Saturday.

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WP RugbyHead coach Allister Coetzee has named an unchanged line-up for Saturday’s top-of-the-log Absa Currie Cup clash between DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17:05 SA Time).

Hookers Tiaan Liebenberg (back) and Scarra Ntubeni (calf muscle) remain sidelined, meaning Stephan Coetzee continues in the No 2 jersey with Neil Rautenbach again warming the bench.

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Derrick Minnie

Derrick Minnie has been entrusted to take over the Lion’s captaincy from Warren Whiteley

Derrick Minnie will reclaim the Golden Lions’ captaincy armband when they head to Cape Town for a top-of-the-table Currie Cup clash with Western Province.

The Lions, who top the table on points difference ahead of WP, will head to Newlands without regular skipper Warren Whitely – who was called up to the Springbok squad in place of the injured loose forward Willem Albert, for the Test against Argentina in Salta on Saturday.

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WP RugbyWestern Province, for the first time in almost two seasons, came away from a match without an injury following their 41-17 win over the Blue Bulls in their Currie Cup match at Newlands, in Cape Town, on Saturday.

Province coach Allister Coetzee said the entire match-day squad over the weekend had indeed emerged injury-free.

Province, and their Super Rugby side, the Stormers, had been picking up a variety of injuries almost without fail in the past two seasons.

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WP RugbyWhen the Springboks finished off their 2013 campaign with a victory over France in Paris, coach Heyneke Meyer spoke about the need for South African rugby to undergo revolutionary change in order to close the gap that the All Blacks enjoyed when it came to conditioning and mental strength.

At the start of the 2014 Castle Lager Rugby Championship, he continued the theme of revolution, this time talking about the need to bring greater intensity and tempo to the Bok game, to be able to out-think opponents now that the days of bludgeoning opposition with physicality are in the past.

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WP jou lekker dingIt was a case of mission accomplished for DHL Western Province on Saturday, as they picked up an impressive 41-17 Absa Currie Cup win over the Vodacom Blue Bulls – their second successive bonus-point victory of 2014.

“It’s a good start for us at home – it’s mission accomplished,” DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee told www.wprugby.com at DHL Newlands on Saturday night.

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Currie CupThis past weekend saw Round 2 of the ABSA Currie Cup of 2014.

As usual 4 games were played, with the Cell C Sharks beating Steal Pumas 34 / 17, DHL Western Province demolishing the Vodacom Blue Bulls by 41 / 17, Xerox Goldenlions hammering EP Kings by 60 / 19 and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs beating GWK Griquas 34 / 27.

 

WP demolish Blue Bulls

DHL Western Province scored three tries either side of halftime as they demolished the Vodacom Blue Bulls 41-17 (halftime 19-6) in a scintillating Absa Currie Cup encounter at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

Province ran in six tries through Pat Cilliers, Michael Rhodes, Nizaam Carr, Juan de Jongh and a brace from Seabelo Senatla while replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi nabbed one for the visitors.

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Jaco Coetzee

Jaco Coetzee

Glenwood’s Jaco Coetzee has been selected to captain the SA Schools team for 2014 against France, Wales and England.

Their first match is against France at the City Park Stadium in Cape Town on 15 August, followed by Wales at Outeniqua Park in George on 19 August, and England at the Paul Roos Markötter grounds in Stellenbosch on 23 August.

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Scarra Ntubeni

Scarra Ntubeni

DHL Western Province has been rocked by the loss of hooker Scarra Ntubeni ahead of their first home Absa Currie Cup match of the season against the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Saturday.

Ntubeni was set to replace Tiaan Liebenberg, who is out with a back injury, in the team that beat the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth last week. However, according to coach Allister Coetzee, Ntubeni injured a calf in training and has been forced to withdraw from the team at the 11th hour.

“Unfortunately Scarra picked up a calf injury at training on Tuesday and it has subsequently been confirmed that he will be out for a minimum of 14 days,” said Coetzee.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made just one change to his starting line-up for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup meeting with the Vodacom Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands (kick-off 14:05 SA Time).

The only change to the DHL WP line-up sees Stephan Coetzee named in the No.2 jersey, in his first start at this level, with the injured Tiaan Liebenberg (back) dropping out this week.

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Frans Ludeke

Coach under siege: Frans Ludeke

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke named fit-again flank Jacques du Plessis in his starting line-up to face DHL Western Province at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

This round two match in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division will see two new faces in the Blue Bulls starting pack that lost their season opener against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.

Du Plessis comes in at flank after recovering from a broken jaw sustained in a pre-season match, with Jono Ross moving to no 8 and replacing Jacques Engelbrecht, who moves to the bench with Wiaan Liebenberg dropping out of the match 22.

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WP RugbyTiaan Liebenberg’s back problem has flared up again but that blow to DHL Western Province’s build-up to Saturday’s north/south Absa Currie Cup showdown with the Vodacom Blue Bulls has been offset by the news that as many as six top players will be returning to action this week.

Scarra Ntubeni is among those that will be assessed on Monday, and he will be an obvious replacement for Liebenberg at hooker should he be declared fit. Liebenberg is to undergo a scan to assess the severity of his injury but he will definitely miss the Bulls game.

The other players coming back into the system are Rynhardt Elstadt, who has been out since the early stages of Super Rugby, Brok Harris, Kurt Coleman, Jaco Taute and Ruan Botha. The latter should come in at No 5 lock, with Manuel Carizza moving to the front of the lineout as Eben Etzebeth will be the with the Boks this week.

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EP KingsDHL WPEP Kings (11) 16 / 35 (10) WP (Final Score)

The Eastern Province Kings and DHL Western Province did battle in the Currie Cup Premier Division at

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

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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

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WP RugbyThere has been a late change to the DHL Western Province team for Friday night’s Absa Currie Cup clash against the EP Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (kick-off 19:10 SA Time).

At lock, Springbok squad member Eben Etzebeth will start on the bench, with youngster Jean Kleyn making his Absa Currie Cup debut in the No 4 jersey.

“We have monitored Eben’s workload at Springbok training this week, so we thought it would be prudent to start with him amongst the replacements on Friday,” explained DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee.

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WP RugbyJuan de JonghA new-look DHL Western Province team will head to Port Elizabeth to open their 2014 ABSA Currie Cup campaign against the Eastern Province Kings on Friday night (kick-off 19:10 SA Time).

Centre Juan de Jongh, in his first senior match as captain of DHL WP, will skipper a squad with eight ABSA Currie Cup debutants, but the 22-man group includes Springbok squad members Frans Malherbe and Eben Etzebeth.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Frans Malherbe

Frans Malherbe

Two members of the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship squad, Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe, have been released to play in the opening round of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division for DHL Western Province on Friday evening.

Both players are returning from long-term injuries and will be allowed some game time for WP to ease them back into the game.

Etzebeth’s last game was in November 2013, for the Springboks against France in Paris, where he picked up a foot injury. Malherbe has been out for more than three months with concussion.

“Following medical assessments and consultation between our medical team and those of the various provinces, it was decided to release Eben and Frans for this weekend,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

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EP KingsEastern Province Kings coach Carlos Spencer’s main focus is to keep his team relaxed this week as the team makes a return to the top echelon of Currie Cup rugby after many years in the wilderness.

On Tuesday, Spencer named Luke Watson as the captain ahead of Friday’s clash with Western Province at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

“We know that it is a big challenge, but this week has been about getting the players to enjoy the preparations and to plan for the game without putting too much pressure on them,” Spencer said.

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Jaco Taute

Jaco Taute

Jaco Taute has been ear marked as a potential centre option for Western Province should newly appointed captain Juan de Jongh get called up to the Springboks.

Taute, who usually finds himself in the No 15 jumper, is set to play a major role in Allister Coetzee’s Currie Cup squad with the coach also having a look into the Springbok as a potential captaincy replacement.

It would not be an unfamiliar role for the fullback having played in the centres at the highest level.

Taute made his international debut against the Wallabies in 2012 as a late inclusion into the squad, playing centre after Frans Steyn was ruled out with injury.

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Brok Harris

Juan ‘Brok’ Harris

Stormers and Western Province prop Brok Harris’s departure to Newport Gwent Dragons has been confirmed.

The Welsh club confirmed on their official website that the 29-year-old has penned a 3-year deal.

The experienced front row forward has made over 90 appearances for the Stormers since making his debut in 2007 and boasts more than 100 appearances for Western Province.

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