PRETORIA - They might have made it into the semi-finals via the back door but the Blue Bulls will fancy their chances of toppling the Sharks in their semi-final clash in Durban on Saturday.
As much as the Bulls will consider themselves fortunate to have even made the play-offs after a mid-season slump, the improvements that they have made in the last month have seen them pull off some big wins including Friday’s 52-32 win over the Pumas that secured their place in the semi-finals.
It is in how they have played, the lethalness on attack coupled with coach John Mitchell’s experience in winning the Currie Cup that could prove handy in the Bulls causing a major upset.
The Bulls have shown significant growth since Mitchell took over the reins seven weeks ago and with the former All Blacks coach being the master of turning ordinary sides into championship stock, it will come as no surprise that the men in blue will confidently tempt fate by seeing themselves as finalists for the second year running.
The Sharks won’t have been helped by their 31-20 loss against Western Province on Saturday which broke their eight match winning streak and the defeat would have also planted a seed of doubt in their ability to stick to the task until the end.
Mitchell strongly believes what transpired during the course of the season will have no consequence in the play-offs and even though the Bulls lost twice to the Sharks, Mitchell is confident enough that his team can beat the Sharks in their own backyard.
“If we do present ourselves with a chance to get a step closer. What happens in the round robin is irrelevant, isn’t it? So we will start again and that is the great thing about finals. I will be using all my experience in that situation to prepare us as well as we can. It is always handy to have that experience as well and when the time comes we will give it a good crack,” said Mitchell.
It is unlikely that Mitchell will make any changes to his team which he has kept intact for the past three games and there is an outside chance that Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard could be the surprise package in the match day team that will chance their hand at pulling off an unlikely but possible victory.