currie cup

Currie Cup Semifinal Preview

Sharks vs Blue Bulls

Stat Attack courtesy of alloutrugby.com

John Mitchell’s Bulls side have scored the most tries in the tournament (64) and lead the overall ball-carrying statistics in metres with 1508. The star man in this regard is fullback Warrick Gelant who is the most prolific try-scorer in the Currie Cup (10). Sevens player Gelant is a penetrative and explosive runner with 20 line breaks (best in the tournament) and boasts 1423 metres gained with ball carries (also an individual best stat). No wonder there are rumours about the Bulls fullback earning a Bok call against Ireland. Gelant and The Blue Bulls seem to be peaking at exactly the right time.

The Sharks have had the most offloads and boast the second-best defensive record in the Currie Cup. They have also broken the most tackles (102 occasions) but it’s in the kicking game where they thrive. They have kicked the most times (270) and gained more ground with kicks (8569 metres) than any other side. Talented young flyhalf Curwin Bosch will be a central figure in their gameplan on Saturday.

The Sharks have made three changes to the side that lost out to Western Province last week. Most notably, Jean-Luc du Preez returns to the pack against a side known for its love for the physical fight in the pack. The Blue Bulls managed to squeak into the semifinal stage by ultimately getting the better of an unfortunate Pumas side last weekend. They are unchanged for the semifinal, incidentally the first meeting between these sides at this stage for five years and The Bulls haven’t won in Durban since 2006.

 

Western Province vs Golden Lions

Stat Attack courtesy of alloutrugby.com

Province loose forward Nizaam Carr epitomises the aggressive style adopted by Province, making more tackles (167) than any other Currie Cup player this season. He’s also good in the loose phases with 20 offloads (another leading stat). Lock JD Schickerling is on top in the dominant tackle category. Their opponents, The Golden Lions, will have to produce something special to breach their defense – Province boast the highest tackle percentage (88.8%) in the Currie Cup.

Province’s discipline will be absolutely vital on Saturday, as Lions flyhalf Jaco van der Walt has been the most successful goal kicker among the top four sides with an 88.6% success rate.

In the centres, Scotland international Huw Jones will relish the midfield battle with Lions duo Harold Vorster and Rohan Janse van Rensburg (who has an impressive 6 tries). Huw is joining the Glasgow Warriors at the end of what has proved to be a very impressive campaign on a personal level (including a creditable 5 tries). He’ll want to cap it with team glory but there’s a battle to be fought in the middle of the park at Newlands in which he will be a key figure.

Star hooker Malcolm Marx starts for the Golden Lions after his much-acclaimed performance for the Springboks at Newlands. The Lions will need Marx to produce a similarly flawless display on this ground again if they are to reach the final. The Lions, like the Bulls in the first semifinal, seem to be saving the best for last with a late surge into the tournament’s final four.

These teams are no strangers, having met in the 2014 and 2015 finals.

 

The Sharks play host to The Blue Bulls at Growthpoint Kings Park, kickoff is at 14:30.

Western Province welcome The Golden Lions to Newlands in the second semifinal, kicking off at 17:00.

 

Facebook Comments

Related Posts

Currie Cup best XV: All based on stats
Am and Gelant back up domestic form with Springboks selection
Potent Province power to Currie Cup glory against Sharks