Currie Cup Round 5: Western Province v Blue Bulls Preview

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Western Province will host the Blue Bulls in this weekends Currie Cup clash on Saturday the 12th of August 2017.

After Province’s loss to the Griquas in Kimberley on Wednesday, they will be under serious pressure to get their campaign back on track when they host the Blue Bulls this weekend. Their opponents meanwhile, come off the back of a home loss to the Sharks, and will be eager to further dent their coastal rivals’ hopes of qualifying for the playoffs - even as early as this stage.
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Western Province vs Blue Bulls | DHL Newlands Stadium | 12 August | 17:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Western Province 6/10| Draw 22/1 | Blue Bulls 13/10

Western Province
Province, under the tutelage of John Dobson, have won just one of their three encounters in the competition to date; a 34 – 19 defeat of the Pumas in round two. Wednesday’s performance against the Griquas wasn’t, as a matter of fact, all that bad. Indeed, Province was clinical on attack, managing to score five breath-taking tries from all ends of the field. It was their discipline that let them down, with the Capetonians conceding 14 points while Dewaldt Duvenage was in the sin bin in the first half, and then 17 more when SP Marais was banished in the second. It was these two moments that ultimately cost them against a very tenacious Griquas outfit.

Province welcome their old rivals, the Bulls, to Newlands on Saturday and Dobson has certainly rung the changes for this one. The exciting Damian Willemse comes in at first-five, and Scotland international Huw Jones starts at 12. While the addition of Willemse will mean that the hosts have even more attacking potential, it is the selection of Jones that should improve the side’s defensive stability and which could ultimately prove vital this weekend.
If Province can keep their heads and play a similarly promising attacking game as they did on Wednesday, they will push last season’s runners-up hard throughout the contest.

Blue Bulls
Nollis Marais’ Bulls’ 20-28 home loss to the Sharks on Wednesday was a match riddled with unforced errors. Had it not been for their inaccuracy on attack (and certainly an ill-organized display on defence) they could have grinded out an important win. As it stands however, they sit third on the Currie Cup table, with a record of two-wins from three.

A win at Newlands this weekend would see the Bulls further tarnish their opposition’s chances at qualifying for a playoff; something that will no doubt get their tails wagging. They will need a big improvement in defence if they are to stop the likes of Willemse, Jones, and Seabelo Senatla finding their way to the Bulls’ try-line this weekend. They will be hurting after their midweek loss and will come out all guns blazing for this one.

Verdict: Western Province 6/10
The inclusion of Huw Jones at centre may just swing the tide in favour of the home team this weekend. The young lad has a wealth of experience that belies his age, and I’m backing him to be the catalyst for a Province win this weekend.

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Written by Shaun Goosen for

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