Round 3 of the Currie Cup kicks off today with the Griquas hosting the Pumas at 15:30, before heading over to Pretoria where the Blue Bulls face the Cheetahs at 17:45 and ending off with a Sharks v Western Province clash at 20:00. There will be plenty of rugby to watch, but some key stand out features make this round all the more exciting.
Ruan Pienaar captains the Cheetahs looking like a spring chicken with his recent performances, whilst Frans Steyn, Rosco Specman and Clayton Blommetjies add some fire power out wide. The Cheetahs, unfairly excluded from the United Rugby Championship are still my favorites to win the 2022 Currie Cup. Despite their unenviable position, they have managed to retain a strong playing personnel and look like a well settled side having won their opening fixture.
In the Bulls are lead by Cornal Hendricks at 12 in a relatively young backline, with Chris Smith charged to take control at flyhalf. Players such as Muller Uys, Schalk Erasmus, David Kriel and Stedman Gans will all be looking to put in performances that can lift them up to regular duty in the URC and this is the perfect platform. Even with the game being played in Pretoria, one has to back the Cheetahs to take the win tomorrow.
The Sharks are boosted by the return of Sikhumbuzo Notshe at 8. The player was sublime in 2021 until injury scuppered his shot at a Bok call up for the B & I Lions series. A vital player he will have his work cut out for him trying to usurp in form Phepsi Buthelezi. Curwin Bosch also turns out at flyhalf and the maligned Bok will be using this opportunity to regain some form. With Marius Louw captaining the team at 12 and Werner Kok out wide, the backline will definitely boast a physical edge.
Long time forgotten Springbok (2006-2007) Hilton Lobberts has been named on the bench for Western Province, alongside young flyhalf Kade Wolhurter Wolhurter returns from a long injury lay-off and the WP management will be watching him eagerly for a return to the URC, where many believe he will step up to be the understudy of Bok incumbent, Handre Pollard. Elsewhere on the park, WP have a fairly inexperienced pack, but enough experience in the backs should help them.
There are a number of players returning which bolster both their domestic franchise stocks as well as the Springbok options with Notshe and Wolhurter atop that list. If you're going to bet on any teams, then my money would be on wins for the Pumas, Cheetahs and Sharks this evening.