The action will be spread over the weekend with Tafel Lager Griquas facing DHL Western Province in Kimberley on Friday, the Phakisa Pumas hosting Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Nelspruit on Saturday, and the Xerox Golden Lions taking on the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg on Sunday.

These results will also undoubtedly extend the agony of the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who will have to watch how things play out for their season while they have a bye.

Things could not be closer at the top of the Currie Cup Premier Division table, with the Xerox Golden Lions and Tafel Lager Griquas not only sharing first place with 15 points, but also boasting the same points’ difference (0).

The next two teams on the log both have 12 points, but the Toyota Free State Cheetahs (+61) currently have a better points’ difference than DHL Western Province (+39).

The Vodacom Blue Bulls (9) have a bye this weekend and could be bumped into the wooden spoon position by Phakisa Pumas (8), should the latter earn a valuable win at home.

Friday night’s clash, between Tafel Lager Griquas and DHL Western Province in Kimberley, is expected to set the tone for the weekend.

Tafel Lager Griquas had a bye last weekend, and will be pretty fresh and ready for the Cape onslaught. Coach Brent Janse van Rensburg rewarded the squad that subdued the Vodacom Blue Bulls two weeks ago, making only one tactical change, with veteran Zandre Jordaan coming in at flank as the men from Kimberley look to impose themselves at the breakdown.

DHL Western Province coach John Dobson, meanwhile, was forced into making four changes due to Springbok call-ups.

Chad Solomon replaces Scarra Ntubeni, Ernst van Rhyn comes in for Siya Kolisi, Dillyn Leyds is replaced by SP Marais and Wilco Louw by Carlu Sadie. Hooker Schalk Erasmus is set to make his DHL WP debut from the bench, with lock David Meihuizen and scrumhalf Paul de Wet also coming into the match 23, as well as Damian Willemse who returns from injury.

Friday, 16 August

Tafel Lager Griquas v DHL Western Province

Venue: Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley

Kick-off: 19h15

Referee: Rasta Rashivenge

TMO: Pro Legoete


Tafel Lager Griquas - 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (c), 9 Zac Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Zandre Jordaan, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Weshuizen, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona. Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Johan Momsen, 19 Gideon van der Merwe, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Chris Smit, 22, Bjorn Basson, 23 Ruan Kramer.

DHL Western Province - 15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 JD Schickerling, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl (c), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Damian Willemse, 23 Edwill van der Merwe.

Saturday’s clash in Nelspruit will be equally telling. The Mbombela Stadium was good to the Phakisa Pumas last time around and they will feel confident in their abilities to beat anyone coming to the Lowveld.

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs, on the other hand, had a dip in results after winning their opening three matches, and will be determine to stop sliding, but they will be wary of the fact that they cannot give the home side any opportunities to get their power game going.

Phakisa Pumas coach, Jimmy Stonehouse, named Luther Obi on the wing and re-jigged his loose trio from last weekend. Obi started the season with the Isuzu Southern Kings, but he now runs free in the Lowveld and could be a factor against his old team-mates. Carel du Preez comes into the loose trio and Jeandre Rudolph moves to the openside, while Willie Engelbrecht will start at the back of the scrum.

Former Cell C Sharks prop, Ngonidzashe Chidoma, will play off the bench.

Toyota Free State Cheetahs coach Franco Smith brought in Ruan Pienaar in at scrumhalf and moved regular captain, Tian Meyer, to the left wing, while William Small-Smith returns to the other wing.

The loose trio is also new with Gerhard Olivier and Junior Pokomela being named as the flankers, with Abongile Nonkontwana providing cover on the bench. 

Smith also rotated Walt Steenkamp and Sintu Manjezi, with Steenkamp starting, while Jacques du Toit will be the starting hooker, with Joseph Dweba coming off the bench.

At prop, Schalk van der Merwe replaces the injured Charles Marais.

Saturday 17 August

Phakisa Pumas v Toyota Free State Cheetahs

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Kick-off: 14h00

Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni

TMO: Christie du Preez


Phakisa Pumas - 15 Devon Williams, 14 Morne Joubert, 13 Alwayno Visagie, 12 Henko Marais, 11. Luther Obi, 10. Chris Smith, 9. Ashlon Davids, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 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 Simon Westraadt, 17 De-Jay Terblance, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Ginter Smits, 21 Jaco Marais, 22 Ruwellyn Isbell, 23 Ngonidzashe Chidoma.

Toyota Free State Cheetahs - 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Tian Meyer (c), 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Sitnu Manjesi, 20 Abongile Nonkontwana, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Dian Badenhorst, 23 Tapiwa Mafura

Sunday, 18 August

Xerox Golden Lions v Cell C Sharks

Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

Kick-off: 14h00

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen.

TMO: Shaun Veldsman


Sunday’s clash between the Xerox Golden Lions and Cell C Sharks will have all the credentials of a humdinger. Both teams have real purpose and the hunger and ability to lift the Cup again, while they both have enough players of real quality to turn the game on its head.

Cell C Sharks coach, Sean Everitt, has not been shy to dip into his youth ranks and is doing so again this weekend. He named uncapped flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain in the team, as regular flyhalf Curwin Bosch has a lower back sprain.

Everitt last week gave Evan Roos a run with the seniors and of course already handed Junior Springbok scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba a starting berth, so Chamberlain will find some comfort in having his fellow national age group player on his inside after playing for the SAU20’s on their UK tour earlier this year.

Another Junior Bok, Dylan Richardson, comes onto the bench as back-up to Kerron van Vuuren at hooker, and John-Hubert Meyer will start at tighthead prop in place of the injured Coenie Oosthuizen. Utility back Leolin Zas has also been drafted onto the bench as cover for the injured Marius Louw.

Xerox Golden Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen, who has been fielding young sides all year, named his team on Friday afternoon. Frans van Wyk will make his debut for the men from Johannesburg at Emirates Airline Park on Sunday, while Manni Rass will start in midfield as centre partner to Wandisile Simelane. Cyle Brink has recovered from a broken wrist and has been included on the bench. 

Sunday, 18 August

Xerox Golden Lions v Cell C Sharks

Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

Kick-off: 14h00

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

TMO: Shaun Veldsman



Xerox Golden Lions - 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Manni Rass, 11 Stean Pienaar, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Len Massyn, 6 James Venter 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sithembiso Sithole. Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Rhyno Herbst, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Marnus Schoeman, 22 Dillon Smit, 23 Duncan Matthews.

Cell C Sharks - 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Tera Mtembu (co-captain), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Phepsi Buthelezi, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola. Replacements: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Leolin Zas

Disciplinary Update:

Vodacom Blue Bulls player, Fred Eksteen, was suspended for three weeks following his red card sanction against the Xerox Golden Lions last weekend. He is suspended from rugby until and including 31 August 2019, which would result in his being eligible to play again on 7 September 2019.