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Pumas host Lions, Bulls take on Western Province in Currie Cup second round

The Currie Cup kicks into high gear as it enters its second weekend of the 2023 season with some cracking encounters on the cards, as the Pumas host the Lions in Mbombela and the Bulls host Western Province in Pretoria on Friday evening.

The defending champion Pumas will be riding high after a stunning 63-15 demolition of the Bulls at Loftus in the competition opener this past Sunday, and hosting their first game of the season they will be confident of getting another win over the Lions.

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Last season the Pumas smashed the Lions 50-9 away and 45-10 at home, and although this is a very different Lions team, bolstered by a number of URC fringe players, the home side will still be strong favourites.

The Lions kicked off their Currie Cup campaign with a disappointing 44-28 home loss against Western Province and they will want to bounce back against the Pumas.

“It was a tough start to the competition. We would have loved to have started with a win but I thought the team still played well. We made mistakes which allowed Western Province to score points against us,” said Lions forwards coach Wessel Roux.

“But it is a long competition and for the first game I thought there were a lot of positives to take out of it. The conversations in the week have been for us to keep focusing on ourselves and to become an even more cohesive team. The Pumas are a very good side.

“They are the reigning champions and they don’t have a weakness really. They are well balanced and well coached. Physical in all facets of the game and from a forward perspective they scrum well and have a very good lineout system. So we have our work cut out for us.”

The Pumas v Lions game kicks off at 5:05pm.

Bounce back

The Bulls will also be eager to bounce back after their demoralising tournament opener, but find a confident and inform Western Province next up.

It should be a cracking game as the main Bulls and Stormers sides have built a thrilling rivalry over the last few years, with the Stormers winning all five of their United Rugby Championship encounters so far, including two at Loftus.

So the Bulls Currie Cup side will be out for a bit of revenge against Western Province, in their game which kicks off at 7:05pm.

The visitors will however be confident after their impressive bonus point away win over the Lions, and have also been boosted by hulking loose forward Wille Engelbrecht coming into the starting line-up, and star eighthman Hacjivah Dayimani returning from injury to play off the bench.

It should be a thrilling game and both sides will be going all out to claim a positive result.

On Sunday, the Griffons host the Cheetahs in Welkom (2pm) and Griquas entertain the Sharks in Kimberley at 4.05pm.

from The Citizen https://www.citizen.co.za/sport/rugby/pumas-lions-bulls-western-province-currie-cup-second-round/

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