The Blue Bulls won’t repeat the mistake of underestimating the Cheetahs when they meet the champions in a Currie Cup semi-final at Loftus Versfeld here on Saturday.
Morris Gilbert reports in Beeld that three years ago, the Bulls were favoured to retain the Currie Cup, but they lost the final when the bounce of the ball enabled substitute Meyer Bosman to score a dramatic match-winning try for the Cheetahs.
‘Equal chance of winning’
The great rivals have not met in a Currie Cup play-off at Loftus since then, but they clashed in a semi-final in Bloemfontein last year, when the Cheetahs eliminated the Pretoria side.
Earlier this season, the Bulls beat the Cheetahs in the Vodacom Cup final at Loftus, but coach Franse Ludeke says that result and the two victories in the league-phase Currie Cup matches mean “absolutely nothing”.
“It’s silly to talk about favourites in play-off matches,” Ludeke said on Sunday.
“If you’re good enough to reach a semi-final you have at least an equal chance of winning.
“Therefore, there is no way that we’ll underestimate the Cheetahs. Only our best will ensure us of a place in the final.
“The Cheetahs are the defending champions and they know how to handle the magnitude of the moment.”
Ludeke expects all the players in his squad, with one exception, to be available for selection. Wing Akona Ndungane has a groin injury and he won’t be able to play. However, John Mamatsa is a worthy substitute.
Ludeke can select a team full of stars but it will mean nothing unless every player performs to the best of his ability.
The toughest decision will be to choose between Zane Kirchner and Tiger Mangweni at fullback. Kirchner is the speedier player of the two and more adventurous, but Mangweni’s consistency is a valuable asset.
“We won’t do anything to disrupt the players,” Ludeke said.
“We may make a minor adjustment here and there as we usually do, but we won’t make any major changes to our game plan.”Tweet