Currie Cup: Golden Lions v Western Province Preview

The Golden Lions take on Western Province on Sunday the 8th of October, Johannesburg.

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Golden Lions vs Western Province
8 October 2017 | 14h30
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

The Golden Lions will look to advance their cause for a qualifying spot when they host Western Province at Emirates Airline Park on Sunday afternoon. The visitors meanwhile, will want to keep a hold of their second-place status after the Sharks all but secured top spot for the season, with another win here.

To Win Match
Lions 9/10 | Draw 25/1 | Western Province 9/10

Golden Lions

The Lions seemed destined to finish the 2017 campaign as also-rans just a month ago, but some barnstorming displays of late see them still in with a shout of a semi-final appearance. Coach Swys de Bruin’s men were certainly helped by the influx of many big-name players, but the way they have clawed themselves back into contention still deserves merit.

Last weekend’s tough 24 – 10 loss to the table-toping Sharks has upped the pressure on the 2015-champions, who will know that a loss this Sunday will see their semi-final future hang by a thread. The wet conditions in Durban last week certainly didn’t aid the Lions’ cause, and they will be hoping for sunnier weather to unleash their full running potential on WP.

The Lions’ forward pack was comprehensively outmuscled in the Shark Tank, and forwards coach Victor Matfield needs to ensure his boys man up against an uber-physical WP line-up, who did well to match the Bulls last week (indeed, according to the Rugby Stats app, they made a whopping 18-dominant tackles. Province also showed last week that they are no slouches on attack either, and the Lions backs will need to be weary of their counter-attacking threats in the shapes of Damian Willemse, Seabelo Senatla and Huw Jones.

Western Province

Province played out to a spectacular 46-45 win at Loftus Versfeld on the weekend, that required a last-gasp Willemse penalty to see them home. The away side’s ecstasy was palpable as the final whistle blew, and it really was rewarding to see just how much that win meant to the blue and white troops – the Currie Cup may be dying, but the will to win remains across SA’s provinces.

Their defensive organization, however, particularly from broken field, left a lot to be desired and WP need to be wary of affording the likes of Rohan Janse van Rensburg and company too much time and space on offence. While Province’s attack, particularly in the wider channels, has come on in leaps and bounds this campaign, they seriously cannot afford to lose concentration on defence. It is this aspect that wins titles, after all.

Verdict: Western Province 9/10
WP are looking sharp at the moment, and are playing with some real freedom on attack. If they fix their defensive frailties they could yet have a say in the competition. That said, they will outperform the Lions at home this weekend.