Currie Cup

Leopards start Currie Cup season without Mathee

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The Leopards will kick off their Currie Cup campaign in Wellington on Friday without their star lock Rudi Mathee, who has been ruled out with a hand injury but ace-goal-kicker and flyhalf Clayton Durand is fully fit and back in the fold.

Durand had the highest goal-kicking success rate in the country last season and is vital to his team’s challenge in the premier division.

He missed most of the Vodacom Cup but made a brisk comeback appearance against the Pumas and is ready to regain his goal-kicking responsibility.

Mathee’s place in the side goes to the two-metre tall Anthonie Gronum while Ligtoring Landman has been selected ahead of the regular Draad Linde, who will have to vacate his number five jersey.

Hooker Gavin Williamson, who was forced to play most of the Vodacom Cup from the bench, has regained his place and will pack down between Nardus Lombard and Os van der Walt.

There are a number of surprise selections, including that of Van der Walt ahead of Philip Lemmer and number eight Christo van Niekerk.

The selection of inside centre Japie Nel will again raise eyebrows while Riaan Smit could count himself unlucky not to be included in the match 22.

Wilhelm Koch will lead the Leopards against the Boland where the Koch’s were a house-hold name in the fifties and sixties.

Leopards:

Russell Jeacocks; Colin Lloyd, Deon van Rensburg, Japie Nel, Bom Samaai; Clayton Durand, Michael Bondesio; Christo van Niekerk, RW Kember, Wilhelm Koch ©, Ligtoring Landman, Anthonie Gronum, Os van der Walt, Gavin Williamson, Nardus Lombard.

Reserves: Pellow van der Westhuizen, Philip Lemmer, Draad Linde, Bennie Adams, Theo van Wyk, Jovan Bowles, Jan van Zyl.

Sapa

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