Currie Cup semi-final preview: Line-ups & predictions – 23 January

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Winning at all cost will be the only objective when the four Currie Cup semi-finalists take the field on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld and Newlands to stake a claim for a place in the final.

OPINION | HOW JAKE WHITE HAS TURNED LOFTUS VERSFELD INTO A FORTRESS

The Bulls will host their southern neighbours, the Lions, in Pretoria in the first Currie Cup semi-final at 14:00, before the action switches to Cape Town for the match-up between Western Province and the Sharks at 16:30.

The log-leaders from Pretoria will be guaranteed of a home final at Loftus Versfeld – their first since 2009 – if they succeed in recording their second victory in three weeks against the men from Jozi.

CURRIE CUP FINAL VENUE UP FOR GRABS

A victory for the Lions, however, will hand the winner between WP and the Sharks a home final – feats they last achieved in the 2018 and 2017 seasons, respectively.

In the event of teams being level on the scoreboard at the end of the regular 80 minutes of play, 20 minutes of extra time will be played – two stanzas of 10 minutes each – with the side in the lead on the scoreboard advancing to the Currie Cup final.

If the teams are still level, the side that progresses to the final will be determined by the most tries in the match, and then the highest log position following the completion of the pool rounds.   

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TEAMS:

Bulls 

15 David Kriel, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Lizo Gqoboka 

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Jan Uys, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren

Lions

15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 André Warner, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole

Substitutes (from): 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Francke Horn, 24 Nathan McBeth, 25 EW Viljoen, 26 Ross Cronjé

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs and Griffin Colby

TMO: Marius Jonker

PREDICTION: Home ground advantage, despite the empty stands, will still play a role as Jake White’s Bulls have made Loftus Versfeld a fortress in recent times. Bulls to grind out victory by 9 points.

TEAMS:

Western Province

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak

Substitutes (from): 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Ruhan Nel, 24 Sazi Sandi, 25 Tristan Leyds

Sharks 

15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Manie Libbok

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

Assistant Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni and Aimee Barrett-Theron

TMO: Stuart Berry

PREDICTION: Tight match between two sides who haven’t played in a while. Covid-19 affected players aside, it could go either way. Both sides will know whether they are travelling to Pretoria for the final or stand the chance of hosting it. Could be WP’s final match at Newlands and they won’t want to go out on a losing note … WP to win by 3 points.

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