Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
15 Jun 2022
11:56 am

Why the Cheetahs need to make a big statement in the Currie Cup playoffs

Ross Roche

The Bloemfontein-based side are well placed for a Currie Cup title run, but they now need to deliver the goods.

The Cheetahs and Bulls in action during their Currie Cup match last week. Picture: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

With two cracking Currie Cup semifinals on the cards this weekend, the pressure will be on the Cheetahs to make a statement as they try to pick up some silverware ahead of their return to Europe next season.

A few weeks ago the Cheetahs received the fantastic news that they had been included in the European Rugby Challenge Cup next season, finally securing a return to a major international club competition for the union.

However, just before the announcement, the previously unbeaten Cheetahs were thumped by Griquas in Kimberley, and just after it they were edged by the Pumas in Bloemfontein, in two unexpected upsets.

They did manage to bounce back in their final pool match over the past weekend, with a win over a depleted Bulls team missing all of their United Rugby Championship (URC) stars, to seal top spot on the log.

ALSO READ: Currie Cup playoffs: How Cheetahs and Bulls booked home semis

But they will need to be in top form over the final two weekends of the competition to prove they deserve to be back playing in Europe.

They have a great opportunity in their semifinal against the Pumas on Saturday, which is basically a replay of the game they lost two weeks ago, and they will be eager to claim a good win over them to progress to the showpiece final.

In-form Griquas

The other semi sees the Bulls host Griquas at Loftus on Friday night, with the hosts facing a very real prospect of being dumped out of the competition by the visitors.

The Griquas have been in top form recently, winning their last three games on the trot and in their last two have recovered from big deficits to win at the death, proving that they can’t be counted out until the final whistle.

With the Bulls again understrength with their main team competing in the URC final, they will be desperate to try and pick up a win that will then allow them to be reinforced for the final a week later.

If the Cheetahs can beat the Pumas and the Bulls can beat Griquas, a massive final in Bloemfontein will be on the cards next week.