Cheetahs, Blue Bulls - Who is hungrier?

Cheetahs, Blue Bulls - Who is hungrier?

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs will look for a fairy-tale finish to the Currie Cup, after progressing through the competition unbeaten, when they host the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein on Saturday in what will mark the 10th final between the sides.

Currie Cup logo

A victory for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in the Currie Cup final - brought to you by DirectAxis and Nashua - would not only earn them their first title since 2007, it would also mark their 10th straight win this season.


They will, however, face a Vodacom Blue Bulls outfit who are equally hungry for success as they last won the title in 2009 - incidentally against the Free Staters in Pretoria - and who also come off an impressive winning run of five matches. 

Cheetahs captain Francois Venter believes his side have what it takes to complete the illusive dream season but won't allow his charges to get too caught up in all the Final hype.

But looking at the history of Currie Cup finals between these teams, it's clear the Toyota Free State Cheetahs will have their work cut out for them. The Vodacom Blue Bulls have won seven of the nine previous finals between the sides from 1973 to 2009, while the teams shared the title in 2006 after playing to a 28-28 draw after an exhausting 100 minutes of rugby.


Adding spice to the clash, there is an intense rivalry between the teams as they met in back-to-back Currie Cup finals from 2004 to 2006, with each side winning one, while the other match ended in a draw.

ALSO READ: Marais names Blue Bulls squad to face Free State in Currie Cup final

Blue Bulls forward coach Gary Botha, himself no stranger to the big occasion, says their semi-final victory over Western Province last week at Loftus had already indicated to him that the Light Blues have the temperament and composure to bring the cup home.

In the six Currie Cup Finals hosted by the Toyota Free State Cheetahs since 1939, they have lost three, won two and registered one draw.


Earlier in the season, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs registered a brilliant 43-20 victory against the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the pool stages of the competition, but the Pretoria side defeated them 20-17 in the Currie Cup Qualifier at Loftus Versfeld.


The hosts, however, boast better statistics on attack and defence than the Pretoria side, with 55 tries scored and 21 conceded in their nine matches this season, to 42 tries scored by the Vodacom Blue Bulls and 29 conceded.


They will, however, be wary of writing off the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who found themselves in a similar situation in the 2005 Currie Cup Final - on a nine-match winning running and playing with confidence in front of their home crowd - when the Free Staters defied the odds to take their first title in 29 years. 

ALSO READ: Fans see Blue Bulls off ahead of Currie Cup final

The SA Rugby Under-19 and Under-21 Championship Finals between Western Province and the Golden Lions will be played as curtain-raisers to the Currie Cup final at 11h00 and 13h00 respectively.


Blue Bulls v Free State in Currie Cup finals:

1973: Northern Transvaal 30-22 Orange Free State

1975: Orange Free State 6-12 Northern Transvaal

1977: Northern Transvaal 27-12 Orange Free State

1978: Orange Free State 9-13 Northern Transvaal

1981: Northern Transvaal 21-6 Orange Free State

2004: Blue Bulls 42-33 Free State Cheetahs

2005: Blue Bulls 25-29 Free State Cheetahs

2006: Free State Cheetahs 28-28 Blue Bulls

2009: Blue Bulls 36-24 Free State Cheetahs


Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais

Substitutes: Jacques du Toit, Ox Nche, Armandt Koster, Henco Venter, Tian Meyer, Fred Zeilinga, Rayno Benjamin, Conrad van Vuuren

Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Nic de Jager, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Joshua Stander, 23 Bjorn Basson  



Toyota Free State Cheetahs v Vodacom Blue Bulls - Currie Cup Final

Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

Kick-off: 16h00

Referee: Jaco Peyper



Western Province v Golden Lions - SA Rugby U21 Championship

Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

Kick-off: 13h00

Referee: AJ Jacobs



Western Province v Golden Lions - SA Rugby U19 Championship

Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

Kick-off: 11h00

Referee: Vusi Msibi



Show's Stories