The Cheetahs and Sharks are eager to capitalise on their strong starts to the Currie Cup when they face the Griffons and Griquas away respectively on Sunday afternoon.
The two sides have swapped opponents, after the Cheetahs got their campaign off to a flying start with a thumping 42-19 win at a traditionally tough Griqua Park in Kimberley, while the Sharks comfortably defeated the Griffons 32-16 in Durban.
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With both teams managing to pick up bonus points in those wins, they will be targeting the same in the second round of fixtures.
Currie Cup first division champs the Griffons will be fired up for their first home game back in the top flight and they will want to impress against the Cheetahs at the North West Stadium in Welkom (kick-off 2pm).
Adding to the excitement is the match being a Free State derby, which will have added meaning for many of the players involved.
The Cheetahs, featuring stars like Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar, will be firm favourites to pick up another bonus point win, but if the Griffons can draw inspiration from the home crowd and the occasion, they may be able to make a game of it.
“The Griffons are a physical team and have a good kicking game. The most important thing will be to be mentally switched on,” said Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie ahead of the match.
“We want to build on last week’s performance. We haven’t played our best rugby yet. So there’s more to come, and we want to improve in every game we play. There’s a lot of room for improvement, especially on attack.”
After a good start to the competition the Sharks will also be favourites in their clash with the Griquas at Griqua Park (kick-off 4pm).
The visitors will be well aware of what a tough place Kimberley is to go and play in, but having done the double over the hosts in last year’s Currie Cup, will be confident of picking up a third win on the trot.
Both games were however close, with the Sharks winning 24-23 at home and then 13-6 away, but if the Griquas don’t drastically improve from their opening performance against the Cheetahs, they will stand no chance on Sunday.