JOHANNESBURG - It might not yet be last chance saloon for the Blue Bulls in this year’s Currie Cup but they will head to Kimberley to face Griquas with the understanding that their entire campaign hinges on the result.
After succumbing to two successive defeats against the Sharks in Durban and the Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld last weekend, the Bulls have no choice but to win their three remaining round robin matches against Griquas, the Pumas and Western Province if they are to have any chance of making the play-offs.
If it is victory the Bulls will be eyeing in Kimberley then they will need to drastically fix their defensive lapses that cost them the game against the Lions when they had victory firmly in their grasp.
“I think we have three games left so it is must win situations for us. We are going down there to get the win and bonus points. If we can fix our defensive lapses, we can get the result that we want,” said Blue Bulls captain Hanro Liebenberg.
With three changes made to the Bulls team which sees Springbok wing Jamba Ulengo being rested and Duncan Matthews elevated to the starting line-up along with centre Franco Naude who comes in for the injured Johnny Kotze at number 13 while Nick de Jager will start at flank in place of Jano Venter who drops to the bench.
Liebenberg is confident that the tweaks to the team will enhance their performance given that the likes of Naude and De Jager will be playing for the first time this season while Springbok Sevens star Dylan Sage is set to make his Blue Bulls and Currie Cup debut if called off from the bench.
“I think the changes that have been made are changes for the better. I think it is guys who want to play and prove a point and it is guys who haven’t played in a while. They are hungry, want to prove a point and have a good game this weekend,” said Liebenberg.
Vodacom Blue Bulls Player Profile with Jano Venter— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) September 5, 2018
You could see Jano in action this weekend when the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on the Tafel Lager Griquas in Kimberley!#BullsFamily #GRIvVBB pic.twitter.com/s9cz3Av2Fc
And that good and winning game that Liebenberg will demand from his players will need to be established from kick-off as Griquas are well-known for claiming big scalps in their back yard.
“It is more a mental battle when you go to Kimberley. We know Griquas will come out firing. If we can make an early statement against them because if you let them in it is going to be a long day. So we must make a statement from the first minute,” Liebenberg said.
Blue Bulls: Divan Rossouw, Jade Stighling, Franco Naude, JT Jackson, Duncan Matthews, Manie Libbok, Andre Warner, Hanro Liebenberg (captain), Nick de Jager, Ruan Steenkamp, Eli Snyman, Hendre Stassen, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Matthys Basson. Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Ruan Nortje, Jano Venter, Ivan van Zyl, Tinus de Beer, Dylan Sage.