Wrap: A Currie Cup opener to forget for the Lions
Western Province and the Sharks will be pleased after they picked up away wins to kick-start their campaigns on the right note.
Pumas hooker Simon Westraadt scores a try against the Lions in the teams’ Currie Cup game in Mbombela on Friday. Picture: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images
The Lions bosses are sure to have spent the weekend trying to figure out how to fix their team ahead of their second match in this year’s Currie Cup, against Western Province, in Joburg on Wednesday evening.
Cash van Rooyen’s men made the worst possible start to the competition, losing 39-10 to the Pumas in Mbombela on Friday evening.
It was a performance by the Lions that raised eyebrows and left many supporters in shock and asking plenty of questions about the team.
Van Rooyen’s men were completely outplayed by a fired-up and far more clinical and well-structured Pumas side who fully deserved their win.
While the Pumas looked like a well-coached side, the Lions looked leaderless and lacking in ideas, and there was little of the eye-catching attacking flair one has come to expect of the Joburgers, but they will have no more time to ponder their situation as they host the men from the Cape in two days’ time.
And John Dobson’s men will be full of confidence after winning at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon, albeit against a weakened Bulls team – with the bulk of the first choice players missing due to the Rainbow Cup final, Junior Bok and Sevens commitments, and injuries.
The Province boys played some sparkling rugby though and will feel happy with their 48-24 win at Loftus. They’ll believe they can make it two in a row on the highveld – which would set them up nicely for the rest of the competition.
The Bulls though, quite miraculously, picked up a bonus point for scoring four tries, and they’ll be back to full strength this week for their hosting on Friday of the Pumas – which should now be a hugely entertaining game.
Jake White’s team will want to make up for their poor showing in Treviso against Benetton, while Jimmy Stonehouse’s Pumas will be confident of knocking over the two big Gauteng sides in back-to-back games.
The other match at the weekend saw the Sharks beat an always determined and tough Griquas 30-16 in Kimberley, but Sean Everitt’s men will now have a week off.
Griquas are back in action on Saturday when they host the Cheetahs in Kimberley at 1pm.
It will be the first match in the competition for the men from Bloemfontein and after several weeks of not playing against any serious competition (they weren’t involved in the Rainbow Cup) they’ll be keen to show South Africa that they’re still among the country’s top teams.
Pumas 39 Lions 10
Griquas 16 Sharks 30
Bulls 24 WP 48
Wednesday: Lions v WP 7pm
Friday: Bulls v Pumas 70m
Saturday: Griquas v Cheetahs 1pm