The #Reloaded Currie Cup will kick off in dramatic fashion this weekend as six of the seven participating teams take to the field in the first of nine action-packed weekends of rugby, with the north-south derby between DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Cape Town taking centre stage.
The Cell C Sharks and Tafel Lager Griquas will kick off South Africa’s premier domestic competition – sponsored by DirectAxis Financial Services – in Durban on Friday evening, which will be followed by match-up’s between the Xerox Golden Lions and Phakisa Pumas in Johannesburg, and DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Cape Town, on Saturday. The Toyota Free State Cheetahs have a bye.
The tournament is set to deliver top entertainment with the new #Reloaded campaign, which will see fans being treated to an enhanced stadium experience featuring trendy music and a new food offering, and comedians selected as ‘Official Unofficial Team Commissioners’, among other activations.
Siv Ngesi (DHL Western Province) and Bouwer Bosch (Vodacom Blue Bulls) will make their debuts as ‘Official Unofficial Team Commissioners’ at DHL Newlands on Saturday, and lucky fans will have the opportunity to interact with them.
In Cape Town, DHL Western Province will be hunting their fifth Currie Cup victory in a row against the Vodacom Blue Bulls when the teams meet in a repeat of last year’s semifinal on Saturday. They will also look to maintain their good track record at home against their Pretoria rivals.
But both teams will be acutely aware that DHL Western Province have won eight of their last nine home matches against the visitors from Pretoria, while the other match ended in a draw.
DHL Western Province flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis and Edwill van der Merwe (wing) will make their Currie Cup debuts, while Corne Fourie (prop) will make his DHL Western Province debut in a settled team featuring youth and experience.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls welcome back Springbok lock Lood de Jager following his recovery from a shoulder injury and he will slot into a familiar team, featuring only one new face in Wian Vosloo (flanker), who was at the Cell C Sharks last season.
Vosloo will make his Currie Cup debut for the team alongside De Jager, Cornal Hendricks and Rosko Specman (wingers) and Wiehahn Herbst (prop).
Currie Cup Round One Fixtures:
Friday, 12 July:
Cell C Sharks v Tafel Lager Griquas
Venue: Jonsson King Park, Durban
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Vusi Msibi and Archie Sehlako
TMO: Christie du Preez
Cell C Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Tera Mtembu (co-captain), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Juan Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Rhyno Smith.
Tafel Lager Griquas – 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead (capt), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona. Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Moxili, 18 NJ Oosthuizen, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Zandre Jordaan, 21 Chriswell September, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Eduan Keyter.
Saturday, 13 July:
Xerox Golden Lions v Phakisa Pumas
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Jaco Pretorius and Eduan Nel
TMO: Pro Legoete
Xerox Golden Lions – 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Stean Pienaar, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (capt), 8 James Venter, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Ruben Schoeman, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Manuel Rass, 23 Jan-Louis la Grange.
Phakisa Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Morne Joubert, 13 Neil Maritz, 12 Ryan Nell (capt), 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Jacobus Marais, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Hermanus Carel du Preez, 6 Jeandre Rudolph, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Marne Coetzee, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel. Replacements: 16 Cornelius Els, 17 Wikus Groenewald, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Ashlon Davids, 21 Christopher Smith, 22 Henko Marais, 23 Morgan Naude.
DHL Western Province v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen and Jabian Jeftha
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans
DHL Western Province – 15 SP Marais, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Chris van Zyl (capt), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Craig Barry.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (capt), 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Wian Vosloo, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Ruan Nortjie, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima. Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Dylan Sage.