“Minnows” Show They Are Serious Contenders In 2023 Currie Cup Premier Division


The 2023 Currie Cup Premier Division started with a bang as the "minnows" showed that they will once again be competitive. The Pumas stole the show when they humiliated the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versveld, while there were also bonus-point victories for DHL Western Province, the Toyota Cheetahs and Cell C Sharks in the opening round of the 2023 campaign.

Defending Currie Cup Premier Division champions, the Airlink Pumas, delivered a statement of intent when they dismantled the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Sunday in Pretoria. Jimmy Stonehouse’s team from Mpumalanga delivered the performance of the opening round with their record 63-15 victory over the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

With young flyhalf Kade Wolhuter pulling all the strings, DHL Western Province used their running game to dismantle Fidelity ADT Lions 44-28 in an entertaining fixture at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday afternoon.

In Saturday’s earlier fixture, the Cell C Sharks recovered from a slow start to beat newly promoted NovaVit Griffons 32-16 at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban, and on Friday. After trailing by three points at the break, the Cell C Sharks found their mojo in the second spell to add four more tries to their sole effort in the first half, while also restricting the Welkom side to just one penalty goal.

The Toyota Cheetahs sent a clear signal of their title ambitions when they outclassed Windhoek Draught Griquas 42-19 in Kimberley on Friday, with Ruan Pienaar turning back the clock with a classy display at scrumhalf. Veteran scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar celebrated his 39th birthday in style by delivering an outstanding display for the Toyota Cheetahs. The side from Kimberley lost at home in last year’s pulsating Currie Cup final to Airlink Pumas, and they were determined to start the 2023 edition on a positive note. However, the Bloemfontein side had plans of their own as indicated by their 22-0 halftime lead.

In next weekend’s second-round action, the Airlink Pumas face Fidelity ADT Lions on Friday in the Mbombela Stadium (17h05) and the Vodacom Bulls host DHL WP in a 19h05 kick-off in Pretoria.

The two remaining games take place on Sunday – NovaVit Griffons face Toyota Cheetahs in Welkom (14h00) and Windhoek Draught Griquas entertain the Cell C Sharks from 16h00 in Kimberley.