The Free State Cheetahs and the Golden Lions will contest the 2019 Currie Cup final in Bloemfontein on Saturday and the Cheetahs start as the bookmakers favourites
Free State Cheetahs v Golden Lions, Saturday 7th September, Bloemfontein, Kick Off 17:00
Weather Forecast - Bloemfontein
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs and Egon Seconds
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
The Cheetahs came through their home semi final against the Sharks with a 51-30 victory last week. The Free Staters started that game in the region of 4.5 point favourites and they had to come back from 20-11 down at half time with Junior Pokomela scoring two of their seven tries.
In the regular season the Cheetahs finished top of the overall standings, a position they clinched in the final round of matches with another second half fightback to edge out Western Province 38-33. Other home games included an emphatic 68-14 win over the Griquas but they did lose 24-22 to the Lions in Bloem in Round 4, a game they led 19-0 at one stage in the first half and 19-7 at the break.
Before this tournament began the Cheetahs were trading as high as 12/1 to lift the trophy but they are now favourites to regain the title they last won in 2016 when they beat the Blue Bulls 36-16 in Bloemfontein.
The Lions also justified favouritism in their home semi final against the Griquas. They covered a minus handicap of around 7.5 points in coming out on top 32-19, scoring four tries to one, their biggest victory margin of the season.
In the regular season the Lions finished with the same record as the Cheetahs, winning four and losing two but their points difference was -1 compared to the Cheetahs +72. They won all three of their road trips including the visit to Bloem and they also edged tight contests away to Western Province (30-28) in Round 3 and the Griquas (27-26) in Round 7.
The Lions last won the Currie Cup in 2015 when they beat Western Province 32-24 in Johannesburg.
Recent Head to Head
2019 Cheetahs 22-24 Lions
2018 Lions 47-14 Cheetahs
2017 Lions 44-17 Cheetahs
2017 Cheetahs 30-24 Lions
2016 Cheetahs 55-17 Lions (semi final)
2016 Cheetahs 37-29 Lions
2015 Lions 43-33 Cheetahs (semi final)
2015 Cheetahs 31-73 Lions
2014 Lions 47-7 Cheetahs
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Tian Meyer (captain ), 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Junior Pokomela , 6 Gerhard Olivier , 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjesi, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charl Marais, 18 Reinach Venter, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Abongile Nonkontwana, 22 Louis Fouche, 22 Darren Adonis
Golden Lions: 15 Tyrone Green; 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Duncan Matthews, 11 Stean Pienaar; 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (captain); 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jan-Louis la Grange, 23 Jamba Ulengo
Recent Currie Cup Finals
2018 Cape Town Western Province 12-17 Sharks Tries 0-1
2017 Durban Sharks 21-33 Western Province Tries 2-4
2016 Bloemfontein Cheetahs 36–16 Blue Bulls Tries 2-1
2015 Johannesburg Golden Lions 32–24 Western Province Tries 4-3
2014 Cape Town Western Province 19-16 Lions Tries 1-1
2013 Cape Town Western Province 19-33 Sharks Tries 1-2
2012 Durban Sharks 18-25 Western Province Tries 0-1
The Betting- Handicap
Cheetahs -7.5 points 9/10 WSB
Lions +7.5 points 9/10 WSB, BetXChange, BetOlimp
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of last update but are subject to change.
On this week's rugby thread on our discussion forum the early thoughts included Brent's projection that the handicap line would be 8.5 points whilst Southpaw was quick to side with a home win by a 1-12 point margin.
There will be more opinion throughout the week on the fourm and don't forget Thursday night at 21:00 The Handicap will be streamed live on Youtube and in this preview where the betting for all this week's rugby will be covered in depth.
In the semi finals last week I went for both home teams to win by 1-12 point margins and paid the price but I do like Southpaw's early call on Cheetahs 1-12 at what seems like a decent enough price. Both teams have proved they can launch comebacks and take a game to the wire but on semi final form I was more impressed by the Cheetahs who dethroned the defending champions.
Bet: 2.5 units Cheetahs win by 1-12 points inclusive at 7/4 with Sunbet
(Unit scale 1-5)