No witty intro’s here, just business!!
WESTERN PROVINCE vs GOLDEN LIONS
How quickly the tune has changed down in Cape Town – instead of the same old record getting stuck on repeat, the Mountain Men are now rocking the dancefloor to whatever tune they feel like playing! The young guns have thrown caution to the wind and are partying like rockstars on the rugby field with arguably the biggest dose of talent coming in the shape of the number 12 jersey – Marcel Brache! I don’t have the stats (because stats are for dorks) but I’m willing to bet our Currie Cup prediction reputation that he must be edging up the on the line break leaderboard. And joining him in the young blood crusade is none other than Demetri “The Greek” Catrakilis (sounds like a GTA character) and after witnessing him turn opposition defence into bread, WPRU will be wondering how they let him slip away to the Southern KingsWatson Rugby Club for the 2013 SR season. Up front, WP will return to full fighting strength – literally. Tyrone “The Sledgehammer” Holmes joins fellow lose forward and part time sparring partner Jebb “The Terminator”Sinclair in the starting XV and Province fans will be hoping that these two save the punches for Taibo class. Province are in the fortunate position of enjoying some consistency in the team selection, they remain largely unchanged for the match this weekend and have only lost Gio Aplon for this match. Fantasy favourite Deon Fourie dons the captains armband and the number 6 jersey again this weekend and Fantasy managers will not be letting go of the most exciting hooker / flanker in Currie Cup this season. If you’re looking for a wild card pick, give some consideration to the powerful running Damien de Allende – he’s taken Aplon’s place in the starting XV and unlike Pierre Spies in an Outsurance ad, he actually looks like he could run through a wall.
We’ve been heavily critical of The Golden Lions Elton Jantjies Project for some time and now the Lions finally have an opportunity to shut us up this weekend. Much of the success of the Gauteng based franchise has come off the boot of the worst hairstyle in rugby this year – literally (we’re talking about the success here). Elton can kick it over the posts until the cows come home and without their ace goal kicker (and points accumulator) it’ll be interesting to see how the Big City Boys fare this weekend. Someone else they’ll miss rather dearly will be none other than Jaco Taute, since his return from injury he has been collecting tries, cashing cheques and snapping necks. His reward was none other than a call up to the Springbok squad and lets’ hope he is involved beyond benchwarming – that’s the sort of activity reserved for Morne Steyn. So, it’s clear then that the Lions will have to look to the old guard to bring home the spoils – Butch James is in charge at number 10 and we’re expecting him to introduce his shoulder to the face of Demetri Catrakilis early on in the match. Well, not really, but the experienced journeyman can certainly get an edge on his younger counterpart if he ruffles his perfectly gelled hair early on in the match – James is also not know for boxing smart, so it remains to be seen what happens there. Lionel Mapoe should also really be doing more with his time on the field, at least he’s not tweeting during the match. Of slight concern for the Lions would be the rate at which they are thinning up front – weight loss (and experience loss) is happening right before their eyes! First it was Jaco Straussand now it’s CJ Van Der Linde! But have no fear, Baywatch is here! Cobus Grobbelaar is still on duty as are Franco Van Der Merwe and Captain JC Janse Van Rensburg – those 3 will need to gate crash the party harder than a team of cash strapped students if they want to shut down the Newlands Disco. The question remains, however, can they do it? Lets’ see…
Province will be playing on home turf in front of what will surely be a vociferous home crowd. They have all of the momentum and really do have it all to lose this weekend. But they won’t….PROVINCE to keep the good times rolling.
Fantasy Managers Note
The season is drawing to a close and if you’re looking to dominate your leagues then you might have to take a few chances. This is not the game to do it in.
FREE STATE CHEETAHS vs GRIQUAS
Last weekend we witnessed the Free State Cheetahs conspire against their fans (but more importantly, against us!) as they dropped the perfect opportunity to seal an away deal at Loftus last weekend. Hugh “The Blade” Bladen actually made a valid point for once when he pointed out that Tewis De Bruyn has the boot of a 9 year old girl – instead of being able to send long punts downfield to relieve pressure, he could only muster box kicks (for touch) and left his team defending on plenty of occasions. You have to sympathise with the Orange & White union – when your flyhalf choices are limited to your 2nd choice scrumhalf and Simple Jack, you have to take a chance. To his credit, Sias Ebersohn played really well when he came on but his inconsistency is forever counting against him. Super Sarel only rewarded Fantasy managers with an assist last weekend but its’ unlikely Fantasy managers will punish him for that “indiscretion”. Everybody loves Raymond Rhule was played out of position last weekend and although he’s a powerful runner, he didn’t seem to fit into the role at centre. No matter, he scored a try anyways.Heinrich Brussow clearly read our preview last weekend – after we accused him of lacking the walk to back up the talk, he played like a man possessed! He rashed the Lions harder than a pair of wet underpants on a hot summers day and maybe all the man needed is time on the park after a long time filling water bottles and studying English literature. And lastly, a mention has to be made of one of the silent Cheetahs workhorses, Hercu Liebenberg – a strong scrummager and a strong ball carrier. Possibly a future Green and Gold ambassador……
The Cabbage Patch Kids let themselves down last weekend and now have to live with not having won a match against Western Province at Newlands in what will be 102 years! But they’ve probably moved on from that and will no doubt be looking forward to playing on a surface that is somewhat similar to their home patch – hardened sand with sprinklings of dry grass. Never really outplayed, but never really in the game is pretty much the best way to sum up how Griquas fared last weekend and to be honest, it was disappointing (in the way that your parents sometimes say it to you). Rocco Jansen continued to prove his worth as a Fantasy favourite as he collected another 5 pointer and it was great to see that Marnus “The Beserker” Schoeman made good on our recommendation of him as he also dotted down over the chalk. If anyone has watched the American Football movie called The Replacements (with Keanu Reeves) then it’s easy to see the similarity between Marnus and that crazy swat team guy who has to “get the ball”. Well, “Marnus gots the ball”! He really is a crazy son of a bitch. Moving on, Willie Le Roux (we’re getting tired of writing his name) was once again performing more tricks than a street magician and Francois Brummer put in a solid showing at number 10 but unfortunately that was it for the Diamond Miners. It was a performance where there were instances of brilliance surrounded by long spells of mediocrity. Walter Venter finally seems to be starting to settle into the Cabbage Patch way of life (albeit towards the end of the season) and Ryno Barnes was his usual abrasive self which we expect to see more of this coming weekend. But if you have to look at Griquas chances this weekend, they’d have to rank as fairly good on the overall scale.
Griquas may have lost last weekend, but so did the Cheetahs. The Cheetahs may be playing at home but Griquas have the far more settled backline. Up front there isn’t too much between the teams and in a match where the style of play is the same, it could come down to a couple of kicks and we’d back Brummer in that duel…. GRIQUAS to play the role of the puppeteer!
Fantasy Managers Note
Result aside – there will be tries!