Johannesburg – Following a dismal start with two devastating defeats the Blue Bulls will be desperate to salvage their Currie Cup campaign with a home victory over the Eastern Province Kings in Pretoria on Saturday.
The hosts are experiencing a serious dry period in the Currie Cup competition having gone title-less for four years.
Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made some bold selections with almost a completely new backline taking on the Kings.
“We didn't expect to get these results in the first two weeks, but we take it and felt that we deserved it because we weren't good enough,” Ludeke said.
“We want to change it this weekend by playing well... we can talk a lot but we know we need to deliver this weekend,” Ludeke said.
Ludeke rang the changes following their 41-17 defeat to Western Province last weekend in Cape Town.
The most significant changes were made to the backline where the Young Turks were selected ahead of some of the more seasoned campaigners.
Centre William Small-Smith will form an exciting midfield combination with Burger Odendaal, who made his Currie Cup debut only a fortnight ago.
The much-talked-about Jesse Kriel will be keen to make an impression at fullback while flyhalf Tony Jantjies will combine with scrumhalf Rudy Paige.
Ludeke believed these players had the potential to resuscitate his side's wobbly campaign.
“We've got quality in the side, good players, so there are no excuses,” he said.
“We are not happy with the first two results, it was not up to our standards and we disappointed a lot of people and ourselves.
“The only way to sort it out is to go out, play well, get the result and be accurate.”
The Kings were in a similar position to the Bulls making an equally bad start to their re-entry to Currie Cup.
A first-round defeat to Western Province was followed by a demolishing 60-19 defeat to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.
Kings coach Carlos Spencer also made sweeping changes to his team with four among the forwards pack.
The coastal side will welcome back inspirational captain Luke Watson after missing last weekend's clash against the Lions with a bout of flu.
Spencer said his team needed to increase their intensity against a wounded Bulls outfit if they wanted to avoid another hiding.
“We have spoken all week about the need for urgency and commitment, which is something we lacked in abundance against the Lions,” Spencer said.
“We know the Bulls have their backs to the wall and will come out firing, and if we don't match that aggression, we will come second.”
Both teams were languishing at the bottom of the log with neither having earned a point since the start of the competition.
The Bulls were ahead of the Eastern Province side on the log due to a “better” points difference of -52 compared to the Kings's -60. – Sapa