Bulls face fierce battle at NewlandsComment on this story
Pretoria - The victory against the Sharks is done and dusted and stored in the memory bank for the Blue Bulls. Now an even tougher battle awaits the men from Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
A wounded Western Province side, who have not had the best start to the new Currie Cup season, will welcome the Blue Bulls, who are in fourth spot on the log, to the cauldron that is Newlands.
The Bulls, of course, will not be expecting a pleasant welcome from a Province side that have found wins hard to come by, having lost to the Lions in last Saturday and also lost to the Sharks at home in the opening round of the competition.
Going into the fourth round of matches Bulls coach Pine Pienaar will be making sure he crosses his Ts and dots his Is when he prepares his team for a Province backlash this Saturday. While he was happy that his team had got the much needed victory over the Sharks this past at the weekend, Pienaar will be making sure this week that his Blue Bulls team also stay grounded in the build-up towards the north-south derby.
“Obviously I am happy with the win (against the Sharks), but we know it’s going to be a tough one against Province. I think what’s important this week is that we know it’s going to be a tough battle and that they (Province) are coming from a loss (against the Lions).
“The last home game they played they lost against the Sharks they also lost there (Newlands). So they (Province) will definitely be up for a win,” said the Bulls coach yesterday at the team’s practice at the Loftus B-field.
“It’s important that we have a good week of training and that we are effective with what we want to do. Otherwise they will definitely punish us on the day.
“With the competition format that we have, if you lose one game you are in big trouble. If you lose twice in a row, it gets even tougher, so we know that Province will be coming out firing at all cylinders.”
While the Bulls will have drawn some confidence from the win against the Sharks, after enduring tough week leading up to that game, Pienaar believes there is still more work to be done if they are to get the better of the Capetonians at Newlands. While they got the desired good start against the Sharks to eventually win the game, it was not all plain sailing as they let four tries which gifted the team from Durban a bonus point in the dying seconds of the game. Something that didn’t impress Pienaar at all.
“We were a bit under pressure at the wide rucks, where we got turned over three times and we conceded four tries. I am definitely not happy with the defence,” said Pienaar.
In team news Arno Botha aggravated his hamstring again and he will miss the game against Province, while team captain Dewald Potgieter and winger Akona Ndungane did not train on Monday due to stiffness in their legs.