Clash of the heavyweights

As always, the North versus South derby is one of the most anticipated clashes on the South African rugby calendar. Tomorrow’s match is no different.

And it is no surprise. Of the 73 times the Absa Currie Cup has been contested, Province and the Bulls have won it a combined 53 times. WP have 32 titles to their name, while the Bulls have 21.

Province though won 17 times before the Blue Bulls were even founded. The Northern Transvaal Rugby Union (as it was then) came into being only in 1938. Since both have been in existence, Province have won 15 times and the Bulls 21.

The Bulls dominance also extends to recent clashes at Newlands. WP have not beaten the Bulls at home since 2003, but then it was an emphatic victory, 63-26. The next two encounters in Cape Town though belong to the team from the north.

In 2004 they won 20-7 and last year they triumphed 18-10. Province will feel they have avenged those defeats with a gritty 15-10 win in the first round this year.

Such has been the topsy-turvy nature of this year’s competition that the favourites tag has changed hand on several occasions. At the moment the Bulls trail WP by three points. WP are second on the log with 33 points, with the Bulls third on 30. The Cheetahs lead the standings on 35 points.

A win for either team will be a massive boost in the race to host a semi-final, while the Lions could do everyone a favour and take some points off the Cheetahs at Ellis Park that will make the last four rounds extremely interesting.

Results of recent match between Western Province and the Blue Bulls:

2002: Bulls 35 WP 26 (Loftus)
2003: Bulls 64 WP 29 (Loftus)
WP 63 Bulls 26 (Newlands)
2004: WP 7 Bulls 20 (Newlands)
Bulls 36 WP 36 (Loftus)
2005: WP 10 Bulls 18 (Newlands)
Bulls 39 WP 3 (Loftus)
2006: Bulls 10 WP 15 (Loftus)

By Andrew Hollely