The Blue Bulls rugby team will take an important step closer to a home semifinal in the Currie Cup series if they beat Griquas in Kimberley on Friday afternoon.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that the Bulls with 44 points and the Sharks with 47 ensured their places in the semifinals last weekend, and both will also want to win their last two matches in the league phase, as first is always better than second on the log.
One mistake the Bulls must not make is to speculate on how a possible Lions win over the Sharks in Johannesburg on Saturday may strengthen the Bulls’ chances of finishing first.
Even if the Sharks were to lose, the Bulls will first have to beat Griquas before they can gain anything from any favours the Lions may do them.
And that is where the Bulls’ greatest danger lurks, because at this stage of the season there are no free lunches.
The fact that the Bulls are already in the semifinals places all the more pressure on Victor Matfield and his team to use their last two league matches as valuable practice runs.
The Bulls must use the matches against Griquas, and also against the Falcons next Friday evening, to do all their fine-tuning so that there will be no hitches in the semifinals. Because then the Bulls have to perform to their full potential.
There is little doubt that on their home turf the Griquas, despite their sixth position on the log, are just that much more formidable as opponents, competitive in almost all the facets, and also have the knack of being able to put their best foot forward against just when they are playing the Bulls.
Even with all this in mind, however, there will be no excuse if the Bulls lost. Favourites don’t always win, but the Bulls simply look just too well equipped in virtually every position.
Moreover, the Bulls know so much more about how to win, and their win over the Cheetahs last Saturday did a lot for their self-confidence and momentum in this respect.
The teams are:
Griquas: Conrad Barnard; Bjorn Basson, Riaan Viljoen, Herkie Kruger, MJ Mentz; Naas Olivier, Sarel Pretorius; Gareth Krause (c), Frans Viljoen, Rohan Kitshoff, Brendon Snyman, Wayne van Heerden, Ruaan du Preez, Hans van Dyk, Bees Roux.
REPLACEMENTS: Dean Hopp, Stef Roberts, Jacques Lombaard, Stefan Gerb er, Dougie Helmuth, Alwyn Hollenbach, Gavin Passens.
Blue Bulls: Zane Kirchner; Akona Ndungane, Marius Delport, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Wikus van Heerden, Jacques Burger, Victor Matfield (c), Juandré Kruger, Rayno Gerber, Derick Kuün, Jaco Engels.
REPLACEMENTS: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Werner Kruger, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Pedrie Wannenburg, Heini Adams, Burton Francis, Tiger Mangweni.
Referee: Deon van Blommenstein (WP). Kick-off: 15:30.Tweet