In the Currie Cup Week Two we saw a clear indication of who the top four teams will be.
Let’s take a look at how the last two weeks results have started to shuffle the teams.
Currie Cup Week Two Wrap
The Cavaliers earned their right to play in the Premier Division via the long route. They won their place by virtue of their performances in the qualification tournament. In week one, they were soundly beaten (16-44) at home by the Cheetahs. They followed this up with a fairly easy win (28-10) against the hastily thrown-together EP Kings team.
The Cavaliers will always add a dash of panache to any competition they take part in and 2016 will be no different. It is hard to see them winning more than a few games though.
The Kings are taking part in the Premier Division by virtue of their association with a Super Rugby Team. They missed round one of the completion as they did not have a team to field after the Union’s liquidation had been ordered. Their game against the Griquas will be caught up this coming weekend. The first game they took part in was the 28-10 loss to the Cavaliers. The game was very scrappy. For a team that had been thrown together a few days before their first match, the Kings did show that there is something to work with. They will probably only manage a single win though.
The Griquas also missed the first game of their campaign due to the Kings being unable to field a team. As they had just been through a tough qualification series, the weekend off could have been regarded as a bonus. They paid for that weekend off against the Sharks in Durban though in a 46 to 24 loss to the Sharks in Durban. The Griquas will be as competitive as ever and should claim a scalp or three at their fortress in Kimberley.
This is not the Pumas team we have become used to, with many of their star players such as Faf de Klerk and Vincent Koch moving on. They lost 33 to 10 to the Sharks at home and followed that up with a 68 to 26 loss to the Lions in Johannesburg. This could turn out to be their toughest year yet in the Currie Cup Premier Division.
Western Province played their only game to date against the Bulls in Pretoria and were heavily under the cosh for the first 60 minutes and were 38 to nil down at that point. They took advantage of a loss of concentration by the Bulls to run in four quick tries. The Bulls had the last laugh and closed the game out with a last try to win 45 to 26. This is a young Province team that should be looking for a Currie Cup semi-final spot as their minimum requirement of the season.
In the first two games of their 2016 campaign, the Bulls have proven to be very inconsistent. They dominated Western Province in week one for an opening victory. They followed this up with a meek capitulation to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, losing 43 to 20. The defense that was so successful against Province was easily penetrated by the Cheetahs. The incisive attacking play that put Province to the sword was strangely absent. There is a lot talent in this Bulls team and a semi-final spot has to be on the radar for them, but their consistency and intensity will have to be worked on.
The Lions did not take part in round one of the completion as their Super Rugby players were playing the Super Rugby Final. It did not seem to make a huge difference as they put the Pumas to the sword to the tune of 68 to 26. The Lions depth in talent is astounding given their position in 2012 and 2013. This squad will only get stronger through their campaign.
The Sharks seem to be developing nicely under the tutelage of Robert du Preez. They have a 33 to 10 win away from home against the Pumas and a home 46 to 24 drubbing of the Griquas. The improvement of their forward pack, especially at scrum time has been noticeable. Their demolition of the Pumas scrum in week one was a wonder to behold. At worst, they look to be semi-final contenders.
Free State Cheetahs
The Cheetahs may be surprising leaders at this early stage of the competition. They won away to the Cheetahs (44 to 16) and a home win against the Bulls (42 to 20). They have also started to supplement their squad with a few former Kings players and their outlook is a little than originally thought. They should be aiming for a semi-final.