This will mark the third time the teams meet in the final. Interestingly, both previous finals between these sides were in Bloemfontein, in 1994 and 2007.

With both sides finishing the pool stages of the Currie Cup Premier Division – sponsored by DirectAxis Financial Services – with 22 log points after winning four of their six pool games, and only two points separating the teams on the scoreboard in their pool match in Bloemfontein earlier in the season (the Xerox Golden Lions won 24-22), the final is expected to be epic.

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs will be hunting for their first title since 2016 – which they won at home by defeating the Vodacom Blue Bulls 36-16 – while the Xerox Golden Lions last lifted the trophy in 2015 after beating DHL Western Province 32-24 in Johannesburg.

The Free Staters have won three and lost two of their last five matches against Xerox Golden Lions in Bloemfontein, which will give the visitors confidence going into the clash.

But the hosts will take comfort in the fact that their attack has been better this season with 256 points and 37 tries scored to the visitors’ 197 points and 27 tries. However, on defence both teams have been closely matched, with the Xerox Golden Lions conceding only 10 points more.

The match will have extra significance for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, who will be determined to bid a memorable farewell to their head coach, Franco Smith, who will lead the Italian national team after the Rugby World Cup.

Smith made two changes to his match-day squad, with Gerhard Olivier (flanker) being promoted from the bench to the starting lineup, which sees Abongile Nonkontwana start among the replacements. Joining Nonkontwana on the bench is the experienced loosehead prop Charles Marais, who is back from injury.

Xerox Golden Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen made only one change to his starting team with Dylan Smith (prop) replacing Sti Sithole, who has been ruled out due to a torn calf muscle, which means former Junior Springbok Nathan McBeth has been drafted in among the replacements.

The Currie Cup final will kick off at 17h00, and will be preceded by the SA Rugby U21 Championship final between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and DHL Western Province, which kicks off at 13h45.

In the event of a draw at the conclusion of the regular 80 minutes in the Currie Cup Final and SA Rugby U21 Championship, the team that scores the most points within 20 minutes of extra time (two halves of 10 minutes each) will be crowned the champions. And if the scores are still level after 100 minutes, the team with the highest log position at the conclusion of the pool matches shall be the winner.

Final fixtures – Saturday 7 September:

Currie Cup final: Toyota Free State v Xerox Golden Lions

Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

Kick-off: 17h00

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs and Egon Seconds

TMO: Shaun Veldsman


Toyota Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Tian Meyer (capt), 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Reinach Venter, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Abongile Nonkontwana, 22 Louis Fouche, 22 Darren Adonis.

Xerox Golden Lions – 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Duncan Matthews, 11 Stean Pienaar, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (capt), 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jan-Louis la Grange, 23 Jamba Ulengo.

SA Rugby U21 final: Vodacom Blue Bulls v DHL Western Province

Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

Kick-off: 13h45

Referee: Paul Mente

Assistant referees:  Ben Crouse and Griffin Colby

TMO: Shaun Veldsman


Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 – 15 Richard Kriel, 14 Gershwin Mouton, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Wian van Niekerk, 11 Sebastiaan Jobb, 10 Theo Boshoff, 9 Keagan Johannes, 8 Muller Uys (capt), 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Stephan Smit, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Ryno Pieterse, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Werner Fourie, 1 Kudzwai Dube. Replacements: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Etienne Janeke, 18 Carl Els, 19 Ewart Potgieter, 20 Johan Mulder, 21 Vaughen Isaacs, 22 Sango Xamlashe, 23 Cabous Eloff.

DHL Western Province U21 – 15 David Kriel, 14 Sihle Njezula, 13 Lyle Hendricks, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 David Coetzer, 9 Vusile Dlepu, 8 Adrian Paarwater, 7 Shaine Orderson, 6 Gift Dlamini, 5 Ben-Jason Dixon (capt), 4 Marcel Theunissen, 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Dian Bleuler. Replacements: 16 Daniel Jooste, 17 Hugo Pienaar, 18 Dandre Degenaar, 19 Ian Kitwanga, 20 Jesse Johnson, 21 Gerardo Jaars, 22 Abner van Reenen, 23 Sako Makata.