The Blue Bulls and Natal Sharks will go head-to-head on Saturday 30 January in the Carling Currie Cup final, at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Last weekend proved to rather profitable for yours truly as both my Currie Cup semi-final tips landed with the Sharks beating Province and the Lions running the Bulls close enough to stay in what was a rather generous double-digit handicap.
Moving onto this weekend now, and we’ve got what should be a cracking Currie Cup final on the cards with tournament pacesetters, the Bulls, taking on a hit and miss but yet still dangerous Sharks side.
Blue Bulls v Natal Sharks
Saturday 30 January
To Win (80 Mins)
Bulls 9/10 (-5.5)
Sharks 9/10 (+5.5)
The Bulls were given a good run by the Lions last weekend and the men from Johannesburg managed to find some chinks in the Loftus sides armour. The Bulls had total control of the game in the first half and went into the sheds 11-0 to the good.
As was the case during their round-robin phase meeting, the Lions came storming back into the game and had drawn level with their much-vaunted opponent. Two silly yellow cards would see the Lions go down to 14 men and the Bulls extend their lead to 12 points. And while a late try from the Lions would make the final scoreline tighter, those two yellow cards were the real death knoll in the Lions’ Currie Cup coffin.
While the Bulls will have been pleased to get one over their Highveld rivals, there will be some worries for Jake White and his coaching staff. One of those concerns will have been Morne Steyn’s goalkicking, with the ex-Springbok fly-half missing a couple shots at goal that you’d expect him to slot. The other concern for the Bulls will have been some of their defensive work around the fringe of the ruck as this was an area the Lions were successful in targeting.
The Sharks will know they face stiff opposition lying in wait at Loftus this weekend but the Natalians will be rather confident of making it two famous away wins after they beat Western Province at Newlands this past Saturday.
The men from Durban really did put in a solid display last Saturday as they bullied and out played their opponents to run out 9-19 victors in the Cape.
Sean Everitt’s men have actually fared rather well against the Bulls in the Currie Cup this year beating the Currie Cup table toppers 32-29 when the sides met in Durban back in December. They haven’t done that well at Loftus this year, however, going down 41-14 to their opponents during Super Rugby Unlocked.
Key to the Sharks chances will be the performance of fly-half Curwin Bosch. If the 23-year-old can repeat his performance from last weekend where he kicked three penalties, a drop goal and a conversion, ten his side will be in with a shout of claiming the Currie Cup.
Verdict: Sharks 9/10 (+5.5)
This game is likely to be extremely tight and it’ll probably come down to which fly-half kicks better. With that in mind, I’ll be backing the plus handicap this coming Saturday.
Written by Darry Worthington.