JOHANNESBURG - The Blue Bulls will throw everything at the Pumas in a bid to secure a Currie Cup semi-final berth in their encounter at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow night. The men in blue just need a win to guarantee themselves a spot in the play-offs with one more match remaining against Western Province in the round robin stage.
On the other hand, the Pumas are also in desperate need of victory to maintain their slim chances of making the play-offs. And it is for that reason that coach Pote Human has rallied his troops to treat tomorrow’s game against the Pumas as a final and go for broke in the same manner they arrested a two-match losing run when they beat Griquas in Kimberley.
“For us we treat this as a final because if we can beat them we are in the semis. But if they beat us we are going to struggle to make the play-offs. It’s a do-or-die for both teams,” said Human at yesterday’s team announcement press conference.
Human has wasted no time in bulking his team, with Springbok scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl being handed his first starting berth of the competition while captain Hanro Liebenberg returns to action after missing last weekend’s win against Griquas due to illness.
Liebenberg’s return sees a reshuffle of the loose trio with Nic de Jager moving to blindside flank in place of the evergreen Jano Venter who drops to the bench. Prop Dayan van der Westhuizen also makes his first start of the competition at tighthead in place of the injured Trevor Nyakane who suffered a concussion while Johnny Kotze also returns from injury.
“Andre (Warner) has played two games since Ivan came back from the Boks and we weren’t sure how long he was going to be with us. Now we think he will be with us until the end of the Currie Cup so that’s why we are starting with him,” said Human. “Hanro is back and Jano Venter played very well in the last two matches but I think for this specific game Nic is the right guy to start with and we can just rotate them.”
Vodacom Blue Bulls Player Profile with Ruan Steenkamp
We caught up with Ruan in a quick gym and fitness session at Loftus Versfeld to ask him a few questions.
It's great to see Ruan back on the field and playing some of the best rugby of his career so far!#BullsFamily pic.twitter.com/ofpsJvZ0s5
Blue Bulls team: Divan Rossouw, Jade Stighling, Johnny Kotze, Franco Naude, Duncan Matthews, Manie Libbok, Ivan van Zyl, Hanro Liebenberg (captain), Nic de Jager, Ruan Steenkamp, Eli Snyman, Hendre Stassen, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Jaco Visagie, Matthys Basson. Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Conrad van Vuuuren, Ruan Nortje, Jano Venter, Andre Warner, Tinus de Beer, Dylan Sage.