PRETORIA – There will be no neighbourly love lost when the Blue Bulls host the Golden Lions even if it is in a low key Currie Cup derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
As much as there has been little to almost no fanfare around this almighty derby, the pressure to win and do so convincingly will be weighing heavily on both teams.
It is the Blue Bulls though that will be seeking some redemption for what transpired last weekend in Durban against the Sharks where they were beaten and missed out on an opportunity to set the pace in the competition.
As simple as it may be identifying the handling errors that cost the Bulls dearly last weekend, it will also be vital that the hosts are able to get that winning feeling back in the side which saw them trample the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in their first outing of the season.
With the emphasis being on winning especially at home, Bulls coach Pote Human openly admitted that the pressure was already mounting considering that this year’s competition is a single round and teams can’t afford to slip up.
“Especially at home, it (pressure) is big. I mean we didn’t pick up a point last week but this is a home game and we have to win this one,” Human said.
And the Bulls will go into this fixture knowing very well that they have no room left for losses and will be pleased to have bolstered their team with Springboks in prop Trevor Nyakane and scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl.
Nyakane will be critical in helping guide and anchor a slightly experienced but still young Bulls pack at least get parity if not dominance on an equally robust but mobile Lions pack.
In as much as the Lions dominance is generated from their pack, the Bulls are also wary of the threats that will come from their running game which will inevitably be sparked by the three Springboks in fullback Andries Coetzee, Lionel Mapoe and Courtnall Skosan in their backs.
With the Lions also signalling their intent of going all the way with their 62-41 win over Griquas last weekend, Human knows that his men will have to be ready for anything but most importantly for their biggest battle of the season so far.
“I think they will throw the ball around. If that doesn’t work then they will go back what they do well which is the maul, scrum and pick and go near the try-line. We will have to be ready for that,” said Human.
The Blue Bulls team is:
Divan Rossouw, Jade Stighling, Johnny Kotze, JT Jackson, Jamba Ulengo, Manie Libbok, Andre Warner, Hanro Liebenberg (captain), Jano Venter, Ruan Steenkamp, Eli Snyman, Hendre Stassen, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Matthys Basson.
Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Conrad van Vuuren, Ruan Nortje, Thembelani Bholi, Ivan van Zyl, Tinus de Beer, Duncan Matthews.
The Lions team is:
Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosan, Shaun Reynolds, Dillon Smit, Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn, James Venter, Marvin Orie (capt), Rhyno Herbst, Johannes Jonker, Corne Fourie, Sti Sithole.
Replacements: Pieter Jansen, Danie Mienie, Jacobie Adriaanse, Reinhard Nothnagel, Vincent Tshituka, Madosh Tambwe, Wandisile Simelane
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Ricus van der Hoven
Television match official: Willie Vos
Venue: Loftus Versfeld