Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
10 May 2022
2:55 pm

Bulls v Lions: Who will crack the nod for Currie Cup derby?

Ross Roche

The Bulls have regularly picked their URC players, while the Lions have backed their youngsters so far.

The Lions have a big decision to make about who they'll pick to play against the Bulls in a Currie Cup game this weekend. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

It is going to be interesting to see who gets the nod for the Highveld Currie Cup tussle between the Bulls and Lions at Loftus on Saturday, with both teams gearing up for their final United Rugby Championship (URC) pool matches in the UK next weekend.

The Bulls face Scarlets and the Lions are taking on Dragons, with both games taking place in Wales, which begs the question of who both teams will avail for their Currie Cup clash.

The Bulls have largely made their URC stars available for the Currie Cup, which sees them as the current table toppers, however, just one slip up could see the hard chasing Cheetahs replace them at the summit.

The Lions have only recently started playing a number of URC players in their young and inexperienced Currie Cup side and have seen their play improve drastically as they pushed the Griquas and Cheetahs all the way in their last two games.

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The Bulls’ match against Scarlets will definitely take preference, as they are fighting to finish in the URC top four which would give them a home semifinal.

This means they could name a Currie Cup side bereft of their URC stars against the Lions for the second time this season.

In that first match, the Bulls still emerged with a thumping 40-10 win at Ellis Park, with them still way too strong for the Lions youngsters.

However this weekend could be very different as the Lions may look to keep reinforcing their Currie Cup squad with URC regulars in an effort to break their duck in the competition.

They have suffered nine losses and are desperate for a win, and with the Dragons match not vitally important, as the Lions are out of the running for a URC quarterfinal spot, they might be happy to back their URC players in the Currie Cup and then have them face the Dragons as well.

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Lions coach Mziwakhe Nkosi, however, admitted after their match against the Cheetahs that they were beholden to the decisions of upper management on who they can use.

“We are at the mercy of Ivan (van Rooyen, Lions URC head coach). Ivan has to make the decisions on who can and who can’t play and we will just take it from there,” said Nkosi.