The Blue Bulls will be out to begin their Currie Cup campaign where they finished their Super 14 season when they play the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that the Bulls took some time to get into gear in the Super 14 competition but signed off in style, playing brilliantly again the Cheetahs in their final match.
Frans Ludeke, in his first season as Currie Cup coach of the team, would like them to play the same brand of rugby at Ellis Park.
The Blue Bulls will be without a number of their best players at the start of the Currie Cup race. The Sharks, Western Province and the Cheetahs are in a similar situation.
However, the Springboks will return to Currie Cup rugby after the Tri-Nations series, unlike last year, when they had the World Cup to prepare for. This could even our matters later in the season.
The Bulls have fewer key players on national duty than they had last season, and their juniors have also shown, by winning the Vodacom Cup, that they are ready to back up the seniors.
In Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, Wikus van Heerden and Derick Kuün the Pretoria squad also have extremely talented leaders.
Matfield will take the reigns only after the Tri-Nations season and Du Preez will be out of action for at least another two weeks after undergoing surgery on his injured hand.
Du Preez may also be called up for the Springbok squad as soon as he is fit, leaving the very capable Van Heerden as the likely Currie Cup captain.
Hennie Brandt reports from Johannesburg that the Lions have set their sights on the Currie Cup but they won’t be counting their chickens prematurely.
The 2007 finalists (they lost 20-18 to the Cheetahs) start this season’s challenge when they play the Blue Bulls in a match that will be televised live on M-Net and SuperSport 1 on DStv from 17:10 on Saturday.
Coach Eugene Eloff and his squad are excited about the new campaign. “We have the core of the Super 14 squad, Eloff said on Thursday. “These players passed a stiff character test in the Super 14.
“We would like to reach the final again and to ensure it will be played at Ellis Park. But we’re not going to aim too far ahead. We’ll play every match on merit.
“To do well, we have to play well for 80 minutes of every match,” Eloff said, adding that the Lions would like to spend more time on the attack than on defence.
Unlike the Blue Bulls, the Sharks, Western Province and the Cheetahs, the Lions don’t have many of their top players in the Springbok squad.
This could be to their advantage, even though they will miss Jaque Fourie, André Pretorius and their captain, Ernst Joubert.Tweet