Kimberley is not meant for sissies and Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is taking no chances for this weekend’s Absa Currie Cup match against Griquas, naming most of his first-choice line-up, while resting those players with niggles.
Ken Borland writes for SuperRugby that Ludeke has made just three changes to the team that beat the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, with Zane Kirchner returning at fullback and Jacques Burger and Juandre’ Kruger coming into the pack as the coach does not want to risk Deon Stegmann and Danie Rossouw on the hard Kimberley field.
Bulls captain Victor Matfield said the keys were for his team to arrive in Kimberley fully focused on the job in hand and to leave with five points that will keep the pressure on the Sharks at the top of the log.
“Our goal is to make sure that we get the necessary log points. We will focus on our own game and whatever happens in the other matches is out of our control.
“We have a job to do and as a team we would like to improve in all aspects of our game. We are starting to gel as a team and whenever you want to succeed in rugby you need to be a closeknit unit that plays better in every outing,” Matfield said on Tuesday.
Ball-winner Stegmann and his substitute Dewald Potgieter both picked up minor injuries in Bloemfontein, so Namibian star Burger gets a rare chance to start for the Bulls and Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg returns on the bench.
Kruger, the 23-year-old import from Western Province, is elevated to the starting line-up after several weeks on the bench, with Emerging Springbok Wilhelm Steenkamp joining the reserves.
Otherwise Ludeke has gone with his first-choice pack as they try to get the upper hand over the combative Griquas.
The Bulls will be hoping the Gauteng Lions can shock the Sharks in Johannesburg in Saturday’s big fixture to ensure the Natalians’ occupation of top spot on the log is only temporary.
But the 2007 Super 14 champions also need to make sure they beat Griquas to ensure they have a home semi at the end of the round-robin phase. The Pretoria public will certainly be expecting five points from Kimberley.
Team - 15-Zane Kirchner, 14-Akona Ndungane, 13-Marius Delport, 12-Wynand Olivier, 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Morne Steyn, 9-Fourie du Preez, 8-Pierre Spies, 7-Wikus van Heerden, 6-Jacques Burger, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Juandre’ Kruger, 3-Rayno Gerber, 2-Derick Kuün, 1-Jaco Engels.
Reserves: 16-Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17-Werner Kruger, 18-Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19-Pedrie Wannenburg, 20-Heini Adams, 21-Burton Francis, 22-Tiger Mangweni.Tweet