PRETORIA - The Blue Bulls will need nothing short of a miracle to dig themselves out of the deep and dark hole they are in after four consecutive defeats ahead of their encounter against Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
And that miracle could come in the form of the many changes that have been made by John Mitchell this week as he looks to rejuvenate an ailing beast.
But it was Mitchell, who this week, emphasised that he is no “miracle worker” but expects his team to play to a particular standard of rugby and be accountable for their actions.
The Bulls will now have to lift themselves from the diabolical performances that have seen them sink to second from the bottom of the log and replicate the same attacking performance with a much stronger defence that saw them beat Griquas in Kimberley at the beginning of the season.
As brilliant on attack as the Bulls have been in the games where they have stood toe-to-toe with the opposition, it is their heartless and brittle defence that has contributed to their rapid slide in recent weeks.
It will be that defence that Mitchell will have an eye on and hope that they can produce a miracle performance against a Griquas team that have been fearless in taking on the bigger unions in the competition having already claimed the prized scalps of Western Province and the Free State Cheetahs.
“We are in transition and one can’t be a miracle worker in terms of changing bad habits within seven days but certainly over a period of time we will get there,” said Mitchell.
There is a glimmer of hope at Loftus that the change Mitchell is working on will come as soon at Friday night and with a string of exciting players like Edgar Marutlulle, Marnitz Boshoff, Duncan Matthews, Sibahle Manxwane and Warrick Gelant at their disposal, victory against Griquas will not only see a turnaround in their campaign but it will catapult them back into the top four spots on the log.
“They are confident and they have got better. We’ve gone down a little bit. And like any other team we look at them on an individual case and they present us opportunities just like we present them opportunities. I guess it’s about who gets in first, who remains solid and works the hardest for each other.”
Blue Bulls team: Warrick Gelant, Duncan Matthews, Johnny Kotze, JT Jackson, Rabs Maxwane, Marnitz Boshoff, Ivan van Zyl, Nic de Jager (captain), Jannes Kirsten, Shaun Adendorff, Ruben van Heerden, Aston Fortuin, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Edgar Marutlulle, Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Matthys Basson, Jano Venter, Tim Agaba, Andre Warner, Tony Jantjies, Stedman Gans.
Griquas team: AJ Coertzen (captain), Ederies Arendse, Tertius Kruger, Johnathan Francke, Koch Marx, Andre Swarts, Christiaan Meyer, Jonathan JV Rensburg, Sias Koen, Wendal Wehr, Pieter Janse van Vuren, FP Pelser, Stephan Kotze, Wilmar Arnoldi, Liam Hendricks. Replacements: AJ Le Roux, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Jonathan Adendorf, De Wet Kruger, Renier Botha, George Whitehead, Eric Zana.