SARU u/21 Championship – Preview Round 5

(Photo Credit: Debbi Adcock/Speedshots.co.za)

The SARU u/21 Championship enters its 5th weekend with the Bulls who travel to Potchefstroom tomorrow, the overwhelming favourites to be crowned the champions. The Sharks who is currently third on the log hosts the second placed Free State Cheetahs tomorrow while all eyes will be at Wits where a struggling Lions team host a Western Province side that is looking better every week and who could just upset the current three leading teams later on in the season.

Golden Lions vs Western Province

The Golden Lions is currently one position higher on the log than their visitors' Western Province but unfortunately, it must be said that a team with all the talent available to them must surely perform a lot better than what they did in the first half of this competition. Western Province welcomes David Coetzer and Rikus Pretorius back after they played at the u/20 World Champions in Argentina. Western Province can rightly claim to maybe have the most lethal backline in this competition and the Lions will have to make sure their defence has no cracks.

The Lions made wholesale changes to their team that scraped home against the Pumas 24-19 last weekend. A Ntlabakanye comes back in at tigh head while C Smid moves to four to partner up with Scottish International C van Niekerk. Smid's position at eight is taken by S Scoonees who will be part of an exciting loosie combination with P Krause coming in at seven. The backline sees Mujawo replacing Mpeku at 11 while Mpeku moves to 15 while Rossouw replaces S Maduma at inside centre.

Up front, for the Western Province M Theunissen replaces I Kitwanga in the starting lineup at lock while Paarwater replaces M Theunissen at eight. At the back D Coetzer replaces A van Reenen at flyhalf who moves to the bench while D Kriel moves from 15 to 13 to partner up with R Pretorius in a brand new and exciting backline.

Venue: Wits Rugby Stadium @ 19/07/2019 - 13:00

Teams:

Golden Lions: 15. K Mpeku, 14. M. Pretorius, 13. Y Hlalu, 12. L Rossouw, 11. T Mujawo, 10. B Lailvaux, 9. J Hart, 8. S Schoonees, 7. P Krause, 6. M Pelser, 5. C van Niekerk, 4. C Smid, 3. A Ntlabakanye, 2. P Botha, 1. N McBeth. Replacements: 16. D Venter, 17. T van der Merwe, 18. E Buma, 19. F Gerber, 20. T Dullisear, 21. T Combrinck, 22. W Vlitoor, 23. S Williams.

Western Province: 15. Q Eymann, 14. S Njezula, 13. D Kriel, 12. R Pretorius, 11. D Hoffman, 10. D Coetzer, 9. V Dlepu, 8. A Paarwater, 7. P Orderson, 6. G Dlamini, 5. B Dixon, 4. M Theunissen, 3. S Sandi, 2. S Erasmus, 1. L Lyons. Replacements: 16. J Muller, 17. D Bleuler, 18. M Strauss, 19. I Kitwanga, 20. J Johnson, 21. G Jaars, 22. A van Reenen, 23. L Hendricks.

Sharks vs Free State Cheetahs

The Sharks are only one point behind the Cheetahs on the log at number three but must be the favourites to win this match after their close loss to the log leader, Blue Bulls, last Friday. The Cheetahs surprised us all in beating Western Province 45-39 at home with their inside backs scoring four tries on the day.

The Sharks made several changes while the Cheetahs only made three hoping that their inside backs will be in as devasted form as against the Western Province last weekend.

The Sharks as is the norm made several changes with D Richardson moving from hooker to six may be the most significant. S Barnes and F Mbatha form a brand new front row with tight head C Kundiona the only survivor from last weekend. JJ van der Mescht is given a rest with M Barnard forming a new lock combination with J Labuschagne. At the back, R Koster moves to 12 to make way for exciting H Chamberlain while the rest of the backline remains the same.

The Free State Cheetahs does not have the luxury to change 50% of the starting lineup as the bigger provinces do. Up front, G Visser replaces T Mangwana at tighthead prop while at the back wingers, M Boshoff and P Krugell replaces M Boshoff and D Adonis in the only changes at the back.

Venue: Kings Park @ 20/07/2019 - 11:30

Teams:

Sharks: 15. T Abrahams, 14. H Cilliers, 13. M du Plessis, 12. R Koster, 11. C Dingaan, 10. H Chamberlain, 9. J Hendrikse, 8. A Mountfort, 7. E Roos, 6. D Richardson, 5. J Labuschagne, 4. M Barnard, 3. C Kundiona, 2. F Mbatha, 1. S Barnes. Replacements: 16. C Haggard, 17. F Klopper, 18. E van Heerden, 19. L Ncube, 20. V Fourie, 21. X Swartbooi, 22. L Malan, 23. S. Tole.

Cheetahs: 15. C Jasper, 14. M Boshoff, 13. C le Fleur, 12. J Mollentze, 11. P Krugell, 10. L Dobela, 9. R Kruger, 8. R vd Merwe, 7. E Louw, 6. R Smit, 5. K Murray, 4. N Jordan, 3 G Visser, 2. R Cross, 1. E Davids. Replacements: 16. C Wijburg, 17. W Marais, 18. V Meades, 19. S Engelbrecht, 20. H Terblance, 21. Z Booysen, 22. A Oliphant, 23. K Haman.

Leopards vs Blue Bulls

The Leopards have the "pleasure" to host the log leaders this weekend. The Leopards maybe can feel unlucky after their loss against the Lions last weekend but the weekend they will need all the luck to beat an on-form Blue Bulls team.

If the Leopards want to have any say against the dominant Blue Bulls they will have to concentrate on their discipline especially on defence as they concede several offside penalties against the Lions.

The Leopards front row only has S Wiegers at tighthead as the only survivor after being dominated by the Lions come scrum time last weekend while E Nebe replaces R. Spies at five. C Vermaak comes in at six in the place of A Fouche who moves to eight. The only changes at the back are the new wingers P van Niekerk and I Snyman.

In the Bulls front row props S Swiegers and R du Plessis replace D Maritz and M Smith while C Els replaces R Pieterse at five who moves to the bench. Flanker E Potgieter makes way for J Labuschagne in the only other change upfront. L Du Toit moves to the bench with K Johannes starting at nine to form a brand new combination with V Isaacs at flyhalf while I Snyman replaces S Jobb as the only change out wide.

Venue: Olien Park @ 20/07/2019 - 13:00

Teams:

Leopards: 15. B Botha, 14. P van Niekerk, 13. L Daniels, 12. J Steenkamp, 11. I Snyman, 10. A vd Bergh, 9. S Hassien, 8. A Fouche, 7. R Dreyer, 6. C Vermaak, 5. E Nebe, 4. W Nel, 3. S Swiegers, 2. S Mare, 1. R du Plessis. Replacements: 16. G du Rand, 17. R Baumann, 18. L Klopper, 19. B Lushozi, 20. S Veldsman, 21. C Dorfling, 22. L Jahns, 23. L Nyelee.

Blue Bulls: 15. A Kota, 14. G Mouton, 13. S Xamlashe, 12. W van Niekerk, 11. S Jobb, 10. V Issacs, 9. K Johannes, 8. H Sirgel, 7. J Labuschagne, 6. J Pretorius, 5. J Swanepoel, 4. C Els, 3. C Eloff, 2. W Fourie, 1. L Janeke. Replacements: L Classen, 17. K Dube, 18. R Pieterse, 19. S Smit, 20. L du Toit, 21. T Boshoff, 22, J Nel, 23. M Smith.