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Cape Town – Western Province and the Blue Bulls may have had contrasting fortunes in their most recent outings but both will be driven by traditional fierce rivalry in their second-round Currie Cup clash at Newlands on Saturday.
Western Province ran in a bonus-point win over the EP Kings last week while the Bulls were thrashed by neighbours Golden Lions.
Province coach Allister Coetzee believed the Bulls would not be deterred by last week's defeat and their desire to win would make them “dangerous” opponents on Saturday.
“It will be a dangerous Bulls side that will be coming to Cape Town,” he said.
“They took a bit of a hammering last week but they have shown confidence in their team and have named virtually the same side for Newlands.
“It is a North-South derby and they'll play with lots of pride. What happened last week counts for nothing, both for us and the Bulls.”
Coetzee said his side had heeded the lessons of recent encounters against the Bulls.
“Our biggest mistakes have been weak set-piece performances and poor exiting from our half.
“Those are the two areas we need to master so that we don't allow the Bulls into the game, especially if we make a good start.
“We know from experience that once you have the Bulls on the ropes you have to cash in. You do that by putting in an 80-minute performance and stringing two halves together.”
Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke believed his players would draw inspiration from a virtually unchanged team this week.
“We will definitely be stronger when we play against Province,” said Ludeke. “It was a great test (against EP) and we came second but we took a lot from it.
“By keeping changes to a minimum, it shows just how much you believe in the system, each other and yourself and your ability.”
He felt his team's poor scrum performance was the biggest factor in last week's dismal showing.
“We had a look at it and that is where we let ourselves down. We looked like an average scrum,” said Ludeke.
“We worked on a few things again. We looked at where we can get those small yards this weekend. We have a good plan, and we've had good preparation.”
One area of the game in which the Bulls held the upper hand was in the kicking department. Jurgen Visser, at fullback, and Jacques-Louis Potgieter, the flyhalf, were capable of landing prodigious touch finders.
They were excellent tactical kickers and, in recent years, their talents were groomed by kicking coach Vlokkie Cilliers who had since joined Western Province just over a month ago.
Cilliers' input would be valuable for planning a strategy to counter the Bulls' tactical kicking onslaught, given the lack of height in the Province back three.
On the back of last week's performances, Province could enjoy the edge at set-piece time and that suggests that they would look to underscore their attacking intentions from first-phase possession. – Sapa