Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the fixture list this weekend with Currie Cup and Champions Cup games being suspended. Despite this, our rugby punter Neal Hoogwerf has managed to find two top bets for this weekend’s Currie Cup action.
Pumas vs Cheetahs
Friday 18 December – 19:00
The Pumas return home to Mbombela after easing past the 24.5 point spread on offer against Western Province last weekend. The Pumas have been superb against the spread having covered five of their seven fixtures in Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup. It’s been the theme of the season as the Nelspruit outfit have often been handed generous handicaps by the bookmakers.
The Cheetahs hit the road after suffering their first home defeat of the season at the hands of the Lions. It’s been a frustrating season for the Bloemfontein outfit as injuries and player departures have scuppered their Currie Cup title defence. The Cheetahs have been poor against the spread in 2020, only covering one out of six possible fixtures.
The Cheetahs are missing the leadership and tactical astuteness of Ruan Pienaar and it has been evident in their results without him. The Pumas have an impressive set piece and coach Jimmy Stonehouse will have his chargers motivated at home this weekend. This handicap seems a couple of points too generous to the struggling visitors.
Currie Cup: Lions vs Sharks
Saturday 19 December – 19:00
Undoubtedly the game of the weekend, the Sharks face off against a rejuvenated Lions outfit in Johannesburg. The home side have hit some form, recording three victories in a row in the Currie Cup so far. The Lions have been the team to back against the spread having covered six from six so far (excluding the shortened weather-affected game in Kimberley).
The Sharks head to the highveld having overturned table-toppers the Bulls in Durban. It took a 75th minute Curwin Bosch cross kick to Yaw Penxe to secure the victory. Although there was a late scare as More Steyn pushed an 82 minute penalty kick, the home side were deserved victors.
The handicap struggles to separate these two in-form sides. The Sharks traditionally struggle at altitude but with some match fitness behind them, I feel as if that will be nullified. I’ll be looking to the boot of Curwin Bosch to inspire the Sharks to an impressive display.