Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Currie Cup: Round 4 Preview

Currie Cup: Round 4 Preview

Ruben van Heerden

Things are starting to heat up in the Currie Cup as the tournament approaches the knockout phase. Last weekend saw the table-topping Bulls go down to the Sharks in Durban. This has cut the Pretoria side's lead at the top to just five points over the second-placed Sharks. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The Bulls will be eager to bounce back with a bonus-point win over the Griquas who sit at foot of the table having won no Currie Cup games or Super Rugby Unlocked fixtures. 

There's another minnow versus big gun fixture in store in Round 4 as the Pumas will take on the Cheetahs in Friday night's opener, while the other game for the weekend is the pick of the bunch and will see an in-form Lions side take on the Sharks in Johannesburg. 

Pumas v Free State Cheetahs
Friday 18 December
Mbombela Stadium

To Win Match
Pumas 33/10
Draw 25/1
Cheetahs 2/9

Pumas 9/10 (+10.5)
Cheetahs 9/10 (-10.5)

We kick the Round 4 action off over in Nelspruit where the sixth-placed Pumas will take on the fifth-placed Cheetahs. The visitors will still harbour hopes of claiming a semi-final berth but need to start picking up wins. A bonus-point victory here would close the gap between themselves and the fourth-placed Lions to just three points, which would hear the pressure on Johannesburg's pride who tackle the Sharks on Saturday. 

The Pumas are all but out of the running for a play-off berth, but will be keen to garner a couple more wins so as to ensure they don't finish the tournament as wooden spoonists. They head into Saturday's fixture off the back of a 28-14 loss to Western Province in the Cape. The visitors also head into this one off the back of a defeat having gone down 23-39 to the Lions in Bloemfontein. 

Verdict: Cheetahs (-10.5) 9/10
They're missing a lot of players but I still think the Cheetahs will be able to clear what is a modest-looking handicap. 

Griquas v Blue Bulls 
Saturday 19 December
Tafel Larger Park

To Win Match
Griquas 11/2
Draw 28/1
Bulls 1/10

Griquas 9/10 (+16.5)
Bulls 9/10 (-16.5)

The Griquas will be looking to bag their first win of the season when they take on a Bulls side that has only tasted defeat twice since rugby restarted in South Africa this year. 

The visitor's second defeat of the season came this past weekend when they went down 29-32 to the Sharks in Durban. They could have salvaged a draw from that game had veteran pivot Morne Steyn not missed a late shot at goal. 

The Griquas had a bye week last weekend with their latest outing coming in Round 2 where they went down 22-17 to the Pumas in Nelspruit. They actually have a decent account of themselves when they took on the Bulls way back in Round 1 of Super Rugby Unlocked going down by 30-23 at Loftus. 

Verdict: Griquas (+16.5) 9/10
I just think this handicap is slightly too high. While the Bulls are a solid side, the Griquas have proved to be something of a tough nut to crack on home soil giving some of the big guns runs for their money at Tafel Larger Park. 

Golden Lions v Sharks
Saturday 19 December
Emirates Airline Park

To Win Match
Lions 9/10
Draw 22/1
Sharks 9/10

We're in for a treat this Saturday evening as the Lions will tackle the Sharks it what could well prove to be an exciting affair. The hosts currently lie three points off the Sharks and a win here could see them leapfrog their opponents into second place. 

Both teams head into Saturday's fixture in solid touch and are both undefeated in the Currie Cup, with their latest results seeing the Lions beat the Cheetahs 23-39 and the Sharks beat the Bulls 32-29. 

We were treated to a rather exciting old game when the two sides met in Super Rugby Unlocked early this season with a late missed penalty from Lion's ten Elton Janjties seeing Joburg's pride go down by just three points in Durban. 

Verdict: Lions 9/10
I fancy the home side here. They have found their groove and will be spurred on playing at home. There are a few thunderstorms being forecast to hit Joburg this weekend, but if this game is played in the dry then we can certainly expect a good deal of points to be scored too.  

Written by Darry Worthington.

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