CAPE TOWN – If you’re under the illusion that it’s going to be an easy game, you’re making a mistake.
Those are the words of Western Province centre Ruhan Nel, who says they will be approaching their Currie Cup opener against the Blue Bulls - and every other game thereafter - as a final.
Province, who enjoyed domestic glory in 2017, winning both the inaugural SuperSport Challenge and Currie Cup competitions, also produced an unbeaten run to the final last year, before losing to the Sharks in the Currie Cup final.
Nel, who made his Super Rugby debut this year, used their last two Currie Cup games against the Bulls in 2018 as an example of why they can’t take this game lightly.
Last year, John Dobson’s unbeaten outfit went to Loftus Versfeld for their last regular-season game of the competition and scored four easy tries in the first half before the match was abandoned. But in the semi-final a week later, they had to fight off a determined Bulls side in extra time to book a home final against the Sharks.
“I think the last two seasons I played here with Province went really well. Obviously we lost in the final, but it’s a young team and there’s a lot of talent coming through. There’s good energy in the group and we’re just looking forward to getting onto the field,” the former Blitzbok star said.
“It’s never easy playing against the Bulls, they’re a proud union and I’m sure they’ve also got a lot of guys coming through who are hungry for game time who maybe missed out on a couple of Super Rugby opportunities. But our boys are ready.
“This game against the Bulls is a big one... we all know what happened in that Currie Cup semi-final last year.
“We’re approaching each game as a final.”
On his debut Super Rugby season, Nel said: “I have to be honest with myself, it was a completely different ball game to Currie Cup. There are so many quality players you play against and it took me a couple of games just to get used to the intensity.
“It was a very enjoyable experience but also a great learning curve.”@WynonaLouw