Western Province will be looking to make the most of home ground advantage when they take on the Lion at Newlands in their Currie Cup encounter. Photo: BackPagePix

It's Currie Cup semi-final time, and after today’s dust-up between the Sharks and the Bulls in Durban (2.30pm) and WP and the Lions in Cape Town (5pm), there will be only two teams standing.

Rugby writers Wynona Louw and Jacques van der Westhuyzen look at four key battles in each of today’s semi-finals.

Dillyn Leyds (WP) vs Andries Coetzee (Lions)

From a trend-setting Super Rugby offload to racking up five Test appearances with the Springboks and everything in between - Dillyn Leyds has created a lot of talk in rugby town this year.

The versatile back has been on fire in Super Rugby and Currie Cup this season with his attacking brilliance that has sliced up opposition defences and punished them for their mistakes in broken play.

So it will be great to see what Leyds can produce with an added bit of (Test match) confidence. Another man who shouldn’t be too low on confidence is Andries Coetzee. 

While on Bok duty, Coetzee continued to show that he’s more than just a ‘reliable’ fullback, and he’s mostly proved that with good running lines and quick offloads that have kept the Springboks’ attack alive.

He can obviously contribute with the boot as well, but I doubt the Lions will rely too much on that today.

Dillyn Leyds will be a key player for Western Province in their Currie Cup semifinal against the Lions at Newlands. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Huw Jones (WP) vs Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Lions)

Although these two aren’t opposites, can a more thrilling centre show be expected this weekend?

And here’s another question - am I the only one who often wonders about the midfield questions Huw Jones could have answered in the Springbok team?

Well, unfortunately that can’t happen, but the Scottish international can spice up Province’s attack today, just like he’s been doing all year (when he wasn’t injured, obviously).

Jones has been devastating in midfield with his exciting displays of skill, support play and pace, and I’m sure knowing that it could be his last game in Cape Town should, surely, have a galvanising effect.

Would it be too much to include Rohan Janse van Rensburg in the ‘Springbok midfield answers’ topic as well?

Perhaps. But it definitely isn’t a discussion that can be had without mentioning the Lions powerhouse. Janse van Rensburg remains a massive force, and with that frame and his hard-running ways, how can he not be?

In a match full of appetising rugby treats, Janse van Rensburg is again one of the most exciting ones.

Rohan Janse van Rensburg of the Lions tackled by Manie Libbok of the Bulls in their Currie Cup match. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Nizaam Carr (WP) vs Kwagga Smith (Lions)

The Western Province No 8 hasn’t quite hit the form that made him a Springbok a few seasons ago and just recently has battled at the back of the scrum.

But South Africa knows all too well he can be a wonderful player - a man who has pace, great off-loading skills and a tireless work ethic.

Opposing him is the much smaller, but tough-as-nails Smith. The Lions loose-forward might not match Carr for size or experience, but he’s got Sevens skills that his opposite number doesn’t possess and he’s got pace, too.

Smith has become one of this country’s best loose-forwards - a man who fights for ball all over the field, tackles hard and runs as well as any wing in the game.

While these two men will only come into contact with each other in general play, their contributions today will go a long way in determining who comes out on top.

Western Province No8 Nizaam Carr will want to continue with his good form and make it count when his team host the Lions in their Currie Cup match. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Bongi Mbonambi (WP) versus Malcolm Marx (Lions)

It’s the big battle of the Bok hooker team-mates. Mbonambi and Marx know each other well and there won’t be much that is secret.

Both come into their respective lineups today to boost the front rows, where their experience and skills will be much valued.

Whereas Mbonambi is the solid operator who gets himself involved in general play as a ball-carrier, Marx has everything and more that sets him apart from all other hookers in the country.

The Lions man is in the form of his life; being the powerful ball-carrier, winner of ball on the ground and the link man between forwards and backs.

But it will be his, and Mbonambi’s, throwing into the lineoust that will be most crucial today. Both have had their issues in the past, so whoever performs best here today is likely to be on the side that comes out on top. A fantastic match-up is in the offing.

Malcolm Marx will look to use his muscle when the Lions take on Western Province at Newlands. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Weekend Argus

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter