PRETORIA – Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka is confident that his team will bounce back from their two match losing streak and put up a worthy performance against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Gqoboka didn’t mince his words when confronting the issue of the Bulls' defeat to the Stormers last Saturday in Cape Town, saying their performance lacked attitude and attention to detail.
However, the Eastern Cape-born Gqoboka promised that his teammates will come back stronger this weekend against a Sharks team that showed how dangerous they can be with a convincing win against the Highlanders in Durban over the weekend.
“It is unacceptable," said Gqoboka. "You are going to lose some games and it is better if the attitude is there and you play your heart out.”
"I just feel that we didn’t do that last weekend and credit to the Stormers, they brought it and you could see the way they started, they were physical and wanted to dominate every area of the game. But we are going to be up this week, we know what is at stake and we are playing at home.”
"The Sharks are doing well and we saw what they did last week and we are aware of that. We are going to work harder this week, put attention to detail and come out firing on Saturday.”
Having done a post mortem on what went wrong at Newlands, including a bad start in the scrums, Gqoboka believes they have done enough work this week to be able to rectify the ills.
“We are playing at home and that should boost our confidence and hunger to win and I think that will work to our advantage.
"We feel there was a lack of attitude over the past weekend and a lack of attention to detail. We’ve had video analysis and we have worked on it already and we think that we will come right this weekend,” Gqoboka said.
While the Bulls scrum took a hammering from the Stormers' Springbok props, Steven Kitshoff and Wilco Louw, Gqoboka is licking his lips at the prospect of proving they are still a quality scrummaging side when he squares up against Thomas du Toit and his idol Tendai Mtawarira.
Gqoboka delivered a stellar Man of the Match performance against the Highlanders two weeks ago and left Newlands with his credibility still intact in a scrum that was initially shunted backwards and he has promised to build on his performance against the Sharks.
“He (Du Toit) is on form and playing good rugby and Beast came back and is now dominating the scrums,” Gqoboka said.
“I’m happy but I have to improve every week and I cannot rely on the past week’s performance. It is a big challenge for me but I am working very hard on improving.”
“It is my primary job. It doesn’t help carrying 10 balls and then getting scrummed. That is my focus and I need to win that battle.
"It is a huge part of the game and last week we had a very bad start and that gave them confidence in all the areas of the game. It is something that we are really working hard on as a pack.”
Even though Gqoboka has only started in two games this year, having to warm the bench for an in-form Pierre Schoeman, who is currently serving a six week suspension, the former Southern Kings prop still aspires to become a Springbok come June.
Gqoboka has been part of the Springbok squad since last year under former Bok coach Allister Coetzee but never got an opportunity to play and even with a growing number of props vying for places in the national team, he believes that his dues will come as long as he does well for the Bulls.
Said Gqoboka: “There is always going to be competition there and everybody wants it.
So, I have to give it my best in my team, focus here and if they call you up there then it is great. It is obviously everyone’s goal to get there, it’s my goal to get there as well. But what I can control is what I do here at the Bulls.
"All the props have been on form, it’s good for the coaches at the Boks and great for the country,” concluded Gqoboka.