Currie Cup - Round 8 Preview
Sharks host WP in top of the table clash
August 27, 2009
Chris Jack returns to the Western Province second-row against Natal Sharks © Getty Images
Round eight of the Currie Cup kicks off with Boland taking on the Leopards on Friday, but all the attention rests on two high-profile showdowns on Saturday. The Sharks host Western Province at Kings Park, while the Blues Bulls make the short trip to Johannesburg to take on the Golden Lions.
Boland have made only one change to their side after a 59-8 drubbing at the hands of Free State Cheetahs last weekend, Hein Myburgh slotting in to the centre in place of Ernie Kruger.
The Leopards have rung the changes after a bruising loss to the Bulls last weekend, with five alterations to the pack alone. No.8 RW Kember is out with concussion after his sending off last week, Christo van Niekerk starting in his place. Ligtoring Landman comes in to the second-row for Anthonie Gronum and Philip Lemmer and Pellow van der Westhuizen start in the front-row.
The Sharks have recalled fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez from injury to face Western Province, the Puma linking up with scrum-half Rory Kockott. Stefan Terblanche continues at fullback, with Johann Muller leading the team alongside Steven Sykes in the second-row. Deon Carstens and Patrick Cilliers have been bracketed together at loose-head, with a decision yet to be mate on the starting front-row.
Province have named Peter Grant at fly-half for the game despite his continuing struggles with back and foot injuries. Fullback Joe Pietersen has filled in for Grant in training but has been named in the No.15 jersey for Saturday's game. Luke Watson leads the visitors from No.8, with Chris Jack stepping in to the second-row alongside Anton van Zyl after Adriaan Fondse's season was ended by a knee injury.
The Blue Bulls have called on their senior players after a young side defeated the Leopards last round, with Derick Kuün, Werner Kruger and Wilhelm Steenkamp all restored to the starting XV for their Lions clash. Marius Delport starts on the wing after Akona Ndungane suffered a broken leg last weekend, with Jaco Pretorius continuing in the centre alongside Stefan Watermeyer.
The Lions have cut Emerging Springbok Earl Rose from their 22 after some inconsistent performances, with Earl Lewis starting at fullback and Herkie Kruger at fly-half. They have received a big boost with the return from injury of skipper Cobus Grobbelaar and Willem Alberts, who start in the back-row along with Franco van der Merwe.
Hendro Scholtz replaces Kabamba Floors in the Cheetahs back-row as they take on a Griquas side desperate for a return to winning ways.
Having thumped Boland last weekend, Cheetahs boss Naka Drotske has retained hooker Adriaan Strauss as skipper. Griquas began the season with five straight wins but have slipped off the pace with back-to-back defeats to the Blue Bulls and Sharks - who ran out comfortable 41-6 winners in Durban last round.