Currie Cup / 26 July 2019, 5:00pm / Ockert de Villiers
Blue Bulls coach Pote Human hopes for a positive response from his charges after he read them the riot act following their 43-27 defeat to the Cheetahs at Loftus last weekend.
The Pretoria side is languishing in the last place on the Currie Cup log, and they hope to turn their campaign around with a win over the Pumas in Nelspruit tonight.
Human was annoyed by his players’ perceived lack of commitment against Free State but believed they would be firing on all cylinders in their crucial clash in the Mpumalanga Lowveld.
“We had two great sessions, we had hard words where we were honest with each other, and we know we were poor on Friday against the Cheetahs, and we need to rectify it,” Human said.
“The job has to be done on the field, and talking is over, so we need to go out and produce.”
Human has promoted former Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff into the starting XV to provide some much-needed experience and leadership following the injury to captain Burger Odendaal.
The pivot will start for the first time in the competition with Manie Libbok shifting to the bench.
“For this week with Burger still out we need his experience and his organisation, it is good to have him in, and he is hungry to play and show what he can do,” Human said.
“He is a Springbok player that can control the game, and he is very important to us this week, especially with all the pressure on us to win this one in Nelspruit.”
Springbok flanker Marco van Staden will be packing down in the side of the scrum in place of Roelof Smit in the only other change to the starting XV.
Human admitted his team was in a desperate position to fight their way from the bottom of the Currie Cup log and into contention.
“I feel it is do or die, if we don’t win this one it is going to be difficult to make the play-offs, the Blue Bulls not reaching the play-offs is not acceptable,” Human said.
“I know it is very early in the competition, but the reality is that another defeat could be a killer-blow for our chances to win the Currie Cup. We need to play with the urgency brought about by that reality and make sure we get our campaign back on track.”
Blue Bulls team
STARTING XV: Divan Rossouw, Cornal Hendricks, Johnny Kotze, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Marnitz Boshoff, Embrose Papier, Tim Agaba, Marco van Staden, Ruan Steenkamp (captain), Ruan Nortje, Andries Ferreira, Wiehahn Herbst, Jaco Visagie, Simphiwe Matanzima; Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Conraad van Vuuren, Adri Smit, Wihan Vosloo, Andre Warner, Manie Libbok, Jade Stighling