Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Currie Cup: Round 1 Preview

Currie Cup: Round 1 Preview



Darry Worthington takes a look at the opening round of the 2020 Currie Cup, which will get underway on Friday the 27th of November. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

It may be late but the 2020 Currie Cup is set to provide some great rugby action to close the year out and ring in the new year. This year's tournament will see the same sides that contested the Super Rugby Unlocked campaign square off. Teams have carried their Super Rugby Unlocked points through to the Currie Cup which means the Bulls currently sit top of the pops with 23 points to their name. 

The opening weekend of the tournament has thrown up two David versus Goliath affairs which will see the Sharks tackle the Pumas and the Griquas square off against the Lions. The headline fixture will see Western Province square off in Cape Town. 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Sharks v Pumas
Friday 27 November
Kings Park
19:00


To Win (80 Mins)
Sharks 1/12
Draw 33/1
Pumas 7/1

Handicap
Sharks 9/10 (-17.5)
Pumas 9/10 (+17.5)

The Sharks will be looking for a fast start to the Currie Cup after they finished the Super Rugby Unlocked season in second place as they finished four points off winners, the Blue Bulls. 

This weekend's hosts had a decent enough Super Rugby Unlocked campaign losing only to the Bulls. They registered an impressive 19-42 win over the Pumas when the two sides met at the Mbombela Stadium in late October. They were far less impressive in their final Super Rugby Unlocked fixture, however, as they scraped to a 33-34 win over a Griquas side that finished the season in last place. 

The Pumas didn't fare as well as the Sharks during the Super Rugby Unlocked season only managing one win from their five fixtures, with the victory coming over their fellow minnows, the Griquas. They closed out their Super Rugby Unlocked campaign with a 21-5 defeat to the Bulls. 

Verdict: Sharks 9/10 (-17.5)
The men from Kwa-Zulu Natal know they need to claim bonus points against the minnow sides if they are to reel the Bulls in. I can see them getting the full five-point here and clearing the handicap in the process. 

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Griquas v Golden Lions
Saturday 28 November
Tafel Larger Park
16:30


To Win (80 Mins)

Griquas 15/4
Draw 25/1
Lions 2/11

Handicap
Griquas 9/10 (+13.5)
Lions (-13.5)

Our next fixture takes us to Kimberley where the Griquas will take on the Lions. Both teams struggled during the Super Rugby Unlocked season with this weekend's hosts finishing at the foot of the table with no wins to their name. 

The Lions fared only a slight bit better as they registered just one win in the tournament. They did have a number of their games cancelled with a number of their players picking up COVID-19 during the tournament. 

The visitors for Saturday's fixture have been off for almost four weeks now as their final two Super Rugby Unlocked fixtures were cancelled. Their last outing saw them give the Bulls a real run in Johannesburg as they went down 25-30 to the Super Rugby Unlocked winners. 

The Griquas last fixture was far more recent as they went down by just one point to the Sharks last weekend. 

Verdict: Griquas (+13.5)
I reckon we'll get an end to end game which sees both sides rack up the points. My money is on this one ending with not much separating the sides, which is why I'm on the Griquas plus. 

Western Province v Blue Bulls
Saturday 28 November
Newlands Stadium
19:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Province 92/100
Draw 22/1
Bulls 92/100

Handicap
Province
Bulls

We close out the weekend with the big one as old rivals Western Province and Blue Bulls will square off in the 'Mother City'. Only four points separated the two sides on the Super Rugby Unlocked standings when all was said and done, however, when the duo met during the season, the Bulls outclassed their opponents running out 39-6 victors at Loftus. 

The Bulls head into this one off the back of a 21-5 win over the Pumas. The winning margin could have been a lot greater has the Bulls not taken the foot off the pedal during the second half. Province had their game against the Sharks cancelled due to COVID concerns, Their final outing came a week before and saw them beat the Cheetahs 30-13 at Newlands. 

Verdict: Western Province

I reckon Province will sneak this one. They'll be chomping at the bit to atone for their hiding at Loftus, and they looked a far better side at the close of the Super Rugby Unlocked season than they did at the start. 
 
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