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Currie Cup: Round 3 Preview

Currie Cup - Round 3 Preview

We preview the three Currie Cup fixtures taking place this weekend, including a mouth-watering tie between the Bulls and the Sharks on Saturday evening. 

Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports

The Currie Cup enters its third round this week and the Bulls currently lead the pack with the Pretoria-based side eight points clear at the top of the log. They face a tricky old fixture this weekend as they’ll take on the second-placed Sharks in the round’s last tie. 

Prior to that game, there’s a Friday evening clash between Western Province and the Pumas while the Free State Cheetahs and Golden Lions will go head-to-head in Saturday’s opening fixture. 

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Western Province v Pumas
Friday 11 December

Newlands
19:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Western Province 1/33
Draw 35/1

Pumas 9/1

Handicap
Western Province 9/10 (-21.5)
Pumas 9/10 (+21.5)

We kick things off in the Cape where third-placed Western Province will be looking to close the 11 point gap on the Bulls by getting a big win over minnows, the Pumas. 

The hosts come into this one off the back of a narrow three-point defeat to the Lions in Johannesburg. This was their second defeat of the Currie Cup having gone down 20-22 to the Bulls in the opening round. 

The Pumas had a much better time of it last weekend as they beat fellow minnow side, the Griquas, 22-17 at the Mbombela Stadium. This was the perfect response to their 10-45 defeat to the Sharks in Round 1. 

When the two sides met in Super Rugby Unlocked the Stormers registered a very controversial and late 35-42 win out in Nelspruit. 


Verdict: Stormers 9/10 (-21.5)

I’m expecting a big response from the hosts. They simply have to get a big bonus point win here if they are to have any chance of claiming this season’s Currie Cup. I can see them doing that against a solid but still limited Pumas outfit. 

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Free State Cheetahs v Golden Lions
Saturday 12 December
Toyota Stadium
16:30


To Win (80 Mins)
Cheetahs 11/10

Draw 22/1
Lions 15/20

Handicap
Cheetahs 17/20 (+2.5)
Lions 17/20 (-2.5)

Next up we have a cat fight with the Cheetahs taking on the Lions in Bloemfontein. The hosts have dropped off the boil over the past couple months, with the main factor for this being their bleeding of players to overseas contracts. The Lions, on the other hand, have found some form since their mass COVID outbreak. 

The Cheetahs had a bye week in Round 1 but opened up their Currie Cup campaign in very disappointing fashion as they went down 40-13 to the Bulls. The Free Staters were well in the fight at half-time but dropped right off in the second stanza. 

The Lions, on the other hand, have enjoyed a great start to this season’s Currie Cup beating the Griquas 17-20 – admirably not the most impressive result but a win nonetheless – and then registering an impressive late 22-19 win over Western Province, which came courtesy of a massive late penalty kick. 

Verdict: Cheetahs 11/10

I know they are struggling at the moment but I can see the Cheetahs getting up for this one. My money is on the hosts registering a narrow victory in what could well be a high-scoring thriller.  
Sharks v Blue Bulls

Saturday 12 December
Kings Park
19:00
To Win (80 Mins)

Sharks 11/10

Draw 22/1
Bulls 15/20

Handicap
Sharks 17/20 (+1.5)

Bulls 17/20 (-1.5)

The Currie Cup organizers have saved the best for last with the two sides at the top of the table set to clash in Durban this Saturday.

This is a crucial clash for the hosts as a win for them here would move them within four points of the Bulls, whom they have a game in hand over. A loss, however, could see the Bulls extend their lead at the top of the standings to 12 points, which would be near on impossible to reign in. 

The visitors have picked off right where they left off from Super Rugby Unlocked winning their first two Currie Cup fixtures. Their first victory came down in the Cape where they beat the Stormers 20-22, while their second was at Loftus last weekend where they hammered the Cheetahs 40-13. 

The Super Rugby Unlocked meeting between the sides saw the Bulls at their rampant best as they ran out 41-14 victors at Loftus. 

Verdict: Bulls 15/20
They’re in red hot form, and while I expect this game to be a tight affair, I just don’t think the Sharks have it in them to take on this solid and exciting Bulls side. 

Written by Darry Worthington.

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