CHANCE TO BOUNCE BACK AF­TER OPEN­ING LOSSES

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - VATA NGOB­ENI

AF­TER a high scor­ing start to the Cur­rie Cup com­pe­ti­tion, the win­ners of the open­ing round will be look­ing for con­ti­nu­ity while the losers will be seek­ing re­demp­tion.

It was the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons the Free State Chee­tahs who kicked off the com­pe­ti­tion in grand style last week Fri­day as they blew away the Sharks in Bloem­fontein and they will close off this week­end with a mighty clash against West­ern Prov­ince on Sun­day.

Al­ready a daunt­ing prospect, es­pe­cially at home, the Chee­tahs will be show­ing off their lat­est ac­qui­si­tions in for­mer South­ern Kings wing Maka­zole Mapimpi who will be mak­ing his first start since mov­ing from Port El­iz­a­beth while Mal­colm Jaer will start on the bench.

For West­ern Prov­ince ,they could nothave asked for a tougher start to their do­mes­tic cam­paign than a trip to the heart­land of lo­cal rugby against a team that is look­ing as for­mi­da­ble and un­beat­able as last sea­son.

The Pu­mas will want to cap­i­talise on their good start, af­ter beat­ing the Golden Li­ons at home last week, when they travel to Dur­ban – even with some changes to their team which in­clude a start­ing role for for­mer Kings flank Them­be­lani Bholi.

The Sharks have quickly moved to bol­ster their side af­ter last week’s em­bar­rass­ing de­feat to the Chee­tahs with the in­clu­sion of Ju­nior Spring­boks fly­half Cur­win Bosch, prop Thomas du Toit, Spring­bok hooker Chili­boy Rale­pelle and the Du Preez broth­ers, Jean-Luc and Daniel.

The clash be­tween the Li­ons and Gri­quas could be an­other spec­ta­cle af­ter both teams went down last week­end to the Pu­mas and Blue Bulls, re­spec­tively, but did so with a fight and by play­ing some at­trac­tive at­tack­ing rugby that saw them just miss out.

Gri­quas have made some sig­nif­i­cant changes to their start­ing line-up with al­most half the team spot­ting some new faces with Ge­orge White­head start­ing at fly­half and the ev­er­green AJ Co­ertzen mov­ing from full­back to wing and Eric Zana start­ing at No 15.

The Li­ons have also played mu­si­cal chairs with their team and have bol­stered it with the likes of wing An­thony Volminck, full­back Jaco van der Walt, prop Justin Ack­er­man and cen­tre Jac­ques Nel.

The Blue Bulls are en­joy­ing a bye this week­end ahead of their mouth­wa­ter­ing clash with the Li­ons next Satur­day at Lof­tus Vers­feld.

PIC­TURE: BACKPAGE P

KEY MAN: Cur­win Bosch will start at fly­half for the Sharks as they try to put last week’s hu­mil­i­a­tion at the hands of the Chee­tahs be­hind them when they face the Pu­mas, who downed the Li­ons in round one, to­mor­row.

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