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Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions: Currie Cup Round 3 Preview

20170717 HWBLOG POSTIMG Currie Cup 2017 11
The Blue Bulls will host the Golden Lions in week three of Currie Cup fixtures, kickoff is on Saturday the 5th of August 2017.

Blue Bulls v Golden Lions
Saturday 5 August
Loftus Versfeld

To Win (80 Mins)
Blue Bulls 1/4  | Draw 25/1 | Golden Lions 5/2
Blue Bulls 17/20 (-10.5) | Golden Lions 17/20 (+10.5) 

The Blue Bulls’ 51-45 away win in Kimberley two weeks ago may have been an absolute attacking humdinger, but coach Nollis Marais will be concerned with the number of tries (five) his side conceded on the day. This week sees them host a depleted Golden Lions outfit, whose first-choice players will, of course, be readying themselves for an epic Super Rugby Final showdown with the Crusaders in Johannesburg. Nevertheless, Ryan Kankowski’s boys will look to build some momentum after their win at home last week, to really get their Currie Cup campaign off the ground in 2017.

Blue Bulls 
Nollis Marais’ nightmarish Super Rugby campaign is over, and it is now time for him to repay the faith shown in him by John Mitchell, and prove that he really is a coach of some substance. After last week’s bye, his Bulls team now welcome the Golden Lions’ second-stringers to Loftus, in a game sure to be filled with attacking flair from both franchises.

While Marais can be very proud of the way his team performed on offence a fortnight ago (they scored seven-tries), he will be equally concerned with their showing on defense. The Griquas at home are always a tough prospect, but to concede five-tries (two coming from interceptions) is simply not good enough. The Lions have some big attacking threats in the forms of Kankowski and Anthony Volmink, and they should be wary of giving them too much opportunity and space on attack this weekend.

That being said, they should be able to outmuscle and outperform their visitors. The Blue Bulls have some seriously good young players at their disposal (particularly in the forwards) and, playing at home, should grind out a positive result against an ambitious Lions side.

Golden Lions
With their “bigger brothers” set to take on the Crusaders at Ellis Park earlier in the day, this younger, more inexperienced Lions outfit will hope to make it a 100% record for Lions rugby for the weekend against the Blue Bulls. After round two, the Lions’ have one win and one defeat to their name going into this weekend. A 36-43 loss to the Pumas in Nelspruit was followed up by last Saturday’s exciting 48-43 home win over the Griquas, and the Lions’ young coaching staff (under the tutorship of the ever-present Swys de Bruin) will be encouraged by what they have seen from their side so far.

Not unlike the Bulls, the Lions have a few issues to rectify on defence, but their overall enthusiasm and willingness to run the ball in their past two encounters have made for some wonderful viewing. The Lions’ young guns will certainly be aiming to upset the Bulls at home this weekend, but don’t be too surprised if they are outmuscled in the contact points – they will get better as the competition goes on, but this fixture may have come slightly too soon for them.

Verdict: Blue Bulls 1/4
Both defences will certainly leak more than a few tries this Saturday, but the Bulls will take the win at home. They will overpower the Lions and with a coach in Nollis Marais looking to prove a point, may outthink them too. They would have learned from some costly errors in their first outing and will run out victors this weekend – by no more than 10-points albeit.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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