Currie Cup 2017: Sharks v Lions Preview

Rugby player gets tackled


We preview the vital Currie Cup clash between the Sharks and Lions taking place at Growthpoint Kings Park on Friday the 29th of September.

The table-topping Sharks will be looking to secure home final hosting rights when they take on a Lions side that needs at least two more wins from their final three games to assure themselves of a place in the semi-finals.

Sharks v Lions | Friday 29 September | Growthpoint Kings Park | 19:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Sharks 2/7 | Draw 25/1 | Lions 5/2
Handicap
Sharks (-9.5) 9/10 | Lions (+9.5) 9/10

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Sharks
The title favourites head into this one off the back of their ninth successive victory, which saw them beat the Bulls 18-5 down in Durban. While it was by no means a vintage performance from the Natalians, they really weren't troubled by the Bulls and could have put a much bigger score over their opponents had it not been for the inclement weather and some poor decision-making.

Defence is Bosch's Achilles Heal 

Curwin Bosch was the star of the show for the Sharks last weekend, kicking a long-range drop and nailing some challenging conversions. He's likely to be more tested this time around as the likes of Rohan Janse van Rensburg will look to target his defensive channel. Defence is Bosch's Achilles Heal and he will need to work on this aspect of his game if he is to make the transition to Test level.

Sbu Nkosi Released by Boks

Speaking of Test match rugby, Sharks winger Sbu Nkosi can count himself very unlucky to be turning out for his Province rather than the Springboks this weekend. The dreadlocked flyer has been immaculate for the Natalians this term and was called up to Allister Coetzee's Rugby Championship squad. Unfortunately for the national side - and fortunately for Sharks fans -  Nkosi was released from Allister Coetzee's squad with Western Province's Dillyn Leyds being preferred.


Unlike Nkosi veteran hooker Chilliboy Ralephele has remained with the 'Bok which means Franco Marais starts at hooker for the Natalians with Lions old-boy Akker Van der Merve providing cover from the bench.

Successive victories have seen the Lions claw their way back into

Lions
It's been a topsy-turvy season for Joburg's Pride who looked likely to miss out on qualification for the semi-finals three weeks ago. Successive victories have seen the Lions claw their way back into, not only semi-finals contention but also a shot at home semi-final hosting rights.The visitors do come into this one off a bye though but last week's results helped more than hindered their chances of claiming a home semi.

The hosts have selected a very young midfield who will find the going tough against the Lions physical centres

The Lions squad side for this weekend's assignment looks rather good with Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Harold Vorster set to provide a solid foundation in midfield. There's also a nice look to their back three with the experienced Jaco van der Walt set to link up with young flyers Sylvan Mahuza and Aphiwe Dyantyi. The forward pack is a slight concern, however, as they have an unbalanced back row and lock Marvin Orie is the epitome of a player who flatters to deceive.

Verdict: Lions (+9.5) 9/10 
I think the Lions may just give the Sharks a real run here. The hosts have selected a very young midfield who will find the going tough against the Lions physical centres. The handicap is likely to open up at around 9.5 and I fancy the Lions to stay it, especially with the Sharks just needing a win to secure top spot for the regular season.

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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