PRETORIA – The Blue Bulls know full well that their first victory of the Currie Cup season will count for nothing if they stumble against Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Pretoria side breathed some life into a faltering campaign thanks to an away victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit last Friday night.
But with three matches left in the regular season, the Bulls can kiss their hopes of a Currie Cup title goodbye if they lose another home game.
Bulls captain Ruan Steenkamp said that while the goal was to reclaim the title for the first time in a decade, there was no sense of desperation.
“We want to get out of this drought, you want to restore honour and pride to Loftus Versfeld, but our focus remains on the process,” Steenkamp said. “We have slipped up and we know why, and now we just need to make sure we know how to tackle the next few games and ensure we pitch up.”
The Pretoria side have a tough assignment against Griquas at Loftus on Saturday (5.15pm kick-off), which will once again be a sink-or-swim affair.
Bulls coach Pote Human said that while their victory over the Pumas had buoyed them, they will have to be ready for a wounded Griquas following their 68-14 defeat to the Free State Cheetahs.
“The confidence is back, we’ve got a good side, but it is going to be difficult against Griquas, who had two great games at the beginning,” Human said.
“They had an off week last week but they will bounce back, I know the guys there, and it will be a great game for both of us. It is a final for both teams and we can’t afford to lose any more games, especially at Loftus.”
The coach said he expected a battle of attrition up front and urged his pack to put in another strong performance.
“Griquas have a big pack; they dominated the Sharks and the Pumas there, so that it will be a physical game,” Human said.
“We didn’t do well in the first two games but I thought we did well against the Pumas, who also have a physical pack.
“Hopefully, we can build on that momentum from last Friday.”
Blue Bulls team
STARTING XV: Divan Rossouw, Cornal Hendricks, Dylan Sage, Johnny Kotze, Rosko Specman, Manie Libbok, Embrose Papier, Tim Agaba, Marco van Staden, Ruan Steenkamp (capt), Ruan Nortje, Andries Ferreira, Wiehahn Herbst, Jaco Visagie, Simphiwe Matanzima
Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Conraad van Vuuren, Adre Smith, Wian Vosloo, Andre Warner, Marnitz Boshoff, Stedman Gans@ockertde