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Cream Rises to the Top

On the Supersport website, Gavin Rich writes the following scene set for Saturday’s final:

The Absa Currie Cup has seen a definite step-up from 2012, and now it is set for a fitting finale by being played at the venue that will most befit the occasion and between the two teams that have proved they are by some distance the best in the competition.

We will get to the final on Thursday. For now, we will focus on the past weekend’s games:

Griekwas 21 – Pumas 19

Soos iemand opgemerk het: dit wou op ‘n stadium voorkom asof Griekwas nie bereid was om die promosie/relegasie wedstryd te wen nie. Hoekom hulle volhard het om nie pale toe te skop nie, sal net hulle weet. Tensy hulle Dewald Potgieter se benadering wou volg en solank vir die volgende wedstryd voorberei? Hulle kan hulself baie gelukkig ag dat hulle uiteindelik deurgeskraap het.

Die Pumas het waarskynlik ietwat van ‘n onsekerheid in hul agterkoppe gehad oor hul vermoë om op hierdie vlak te kan kompeteer. Na Saterdag se vertoning, en op hul tuisveld eerskomende naweek, gaan hulle die Griekwas beslis onder groter druk plaas. Die klein punteverskil mag dalk net tot die Griekwas se ondergang lei, soos wat die Kings teen die Leeus ervaar het.

WP 33 – Leeus 16

Die WP het reeds die wedstryd in die sakkie gehad teen rustyd. Die groot uitdaging was net of hulle dalk, soos dikwels hierdie seisoen, die voorsprong gaan weggee deur op te hou speel. Mens het uiteindelik die idee gekry dat hulle daarop gefokus het om net in die Leeus se halfgebied te bly, en dit het vrugte afgewerp. Die verwagte aanskoulike rugby is toe uiteindelik deur die WP, en nie die Leeus nie, gespeel.

Die Leeus het hard gebrul in die eerste 30 minute, maar Gio Aplon se briljante solo drie het waarskynlik hul moed gebreek. Met hul massiewe oorheersing in die vaste skrums sou die Leeus gehoop het om beter te kan doen, mar helaas vir hulle was die WP se verdediging net te goed.

Sharks 33 – Cheetahs 22

Like WP, the Sharks used the last ten minutes of the first half to open a big enough gap between the two sides which allowed them to dictate terms in the second half. They played with a lot of assurance, much unlike they did against WP recently, which will stand them in good stead this coming Saturday. The loss of their Springbok props did nothing to deter the pack, and says much about the depth of the side. It was particularly heartening to see the return to form of Pat Lambie after brief appearances as a replacement for the Springboks. I have no doubt that he is a far better flyhalf than fullback.

The Cheetahs, unfortunately, made too many errors to really threaten the Sharks. It remains a mystery why a side, which did so well in the Super Rugby series, did not fare better in the Currie Cup. Their coaching staff and personnel on the field, bar a few Springboks, were the same, so why not the performance?

Springbok Contenders

The selection panel meets later this week to decide on the squad for the end of the year tour in November to play Wales, Scotland, France and England. It seems that Meyer wants to take a full strength Springbok squad on tour. With a number of regular players injured, they may be forced to bring in new blood.

No doubt, size will matter, but two notable, albeit it smaller contenders this past weekend, are Gio Aplon and Pat Lambie. The latter should get a start in the number 10 jersey, and Aplon as an impact player who not only possesses the X factor – he sommer has the Y and Z ones as well. CJ van der Linde (pictured above) reiterated his formidable scrummaging prowess in demolishing the WP front row who outscrummed the Springbok incumbents the week before.

We look forward to hearing your views on these and other possible contenders.

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