Currie Cup: Opening Round Preview


Our rugby scribe gives his tips for the opening round of the 2016 Currie Cup.

A plethora of controversy has surrounded this year’s Currie Cup, with the former flagship sponsors pulling out and the saga surrounding the Kings. Despite the challenges, the Currie Cup will get underway this Friday, with only one game being postponed.

The Bulls and Western Province get the opening round underway at Loftus this Friday afternoon. The game kicks off at 17:10 today, so make sure you get those bets on early. The second game of the round sees the Sharks travel to the Mbombela Stadium to take on the Pumas. We close the round off with a clash between the Cheetahs and Boland on Saturday.

We’ve decided to take a different approach to this one by keeping the preview short and sweet.

Bulls v Western Province 

To Win (80 Mins)
Bulls 6/10 | Draw 20/1 | Western Province 13/10
Handicap
Bulls (-3.5) 9/10 | Western Province (+3.5) 9/10
Despite the bookies pricing the Bulls up as favourites, my money is firmly on Western Province. The men from South Africa’s Western Cape have an exciting looking backline that has the ability to turn on the style when given license. The combination of du Preez, Jones and du Plessis in the midfield is sure to give the Bulls problems. The Province pack also looks decent, particularly their tight five which features the highly rated Alistar Vermaak and promising lock JD Scheckiling.

Verdict: Western Province 13/10
I think this one will be a narrow run-in, with Western Province snatching a vital away win in the dying minutes of the game.  

Pumas v Sharks

To Win (80 Mins)
Pumas 19/10 | Draw 25/1 | Sharks 4/10
Handicap
Pumas (+6.5) 9/10 | Sharks (-6.5) 9/10
The Pumas produced one of the upsets of the 2015 season by defeating the Sharks in last year’s opening round. That was a very different Pumas side to this one, however, with both Faf de Klerk and skipper Stefan Watermeyer having moved on. The Pumas have managed to secure Bulls' ten Francois Brummer’s services for their campaign but I still think they are in for a long night against the Natalians who will look to use their pack to gain the upper hand.

Verdict: Sharks (-6.5) 9/10
I expect the Shark forward pack to see them to a large opening round victory.

Cavaliers v Cheetahs

To Win  (80 Mins)
Boland 33/10 | Draw 33/1 | Cheetahs 2/11
Handicap
Boland (+15.5) 9/10 | Cheetahs (-15.5) 9/10
I fancy this Cheetahs side to do big things this year. They’ve kept the majority of their Super Rugby players on for the Currie Cup season and they really do look a settled side. Boland were decent value in the Currie Cup qualifiers but struggled in the final 20 minutes of their fixtures. This period of the game is when the Cheetahs tend to be most dangerous with their free flowing rugby coming to the fore.

Verdict: Cheetahs (-15.5) 9/10
I can see the Cheetahs blowing their opponents away in the second stanza and in the process clear the -15.5 handicap.

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net!

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