Western Province vs Bulls: Currie Cup preview and prediction

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Newlands plays host to one of the biggest fixtures in South African rugby, as the Bulls host Western Province in the Currie Cup on Saturday.

Following success in Super Rugby Unlocked, the men from the nation’s capital look to add another trophy to their collection in the form of the world’s oldest rugby tournament.

Bulls vs Loftus Versfeld: Currie Cup preview 

With Springboks available for the clash, both coaches have named strong squads for the occasion.

World Cup-winning skipper Siya Kolisi returns to action and slots in at openside alongside Ernst van Rhyn and Juarno Augustus.

Other big names in John Dobson’s squad include the all-Bok front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe, while fullback Warrick Gelant makes his debut in Western Province colours.

Jake White’s Bulls, on the other hand, are short of an influential figure in flyhalf Morne Steyn, who sits out the encounter. 

In his absence, Chris Smith has been handed another start, with the likes of Cornal Hendricks and Travis Ismaiel providing some experience in the backline.

Veteran Bok Duane Vermeulen skippers the side from the back of the scrum, where he partners up with fellow internationals, Marco van Staden and Arno Botha.

Teams 

Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuuren.

Western Province: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Kwenzo Blose, 19 Neethling Fouche, 20 David Meihuizen, 21 Chris van Zyl, 22 Jaco Coetzee, 23 Marcel Theunissen, 24 Godlen Masimla, 25 Tim Swiel, 26 Ruhan Nel.

Kick-off, TV channel and prediction 

The Currie Cup match between the Bulls and Western Province kicks off at 19:00 (SAST), and will be broadcast live on Supersport Grandstand (201).

Prediction: Expect a tight game, but the Bulls should be able to edge it by less than five points.

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