Preview: Bulls vs WP
- 13 Sep 2013
Western Province will face a resurgent Blue Bulls side at Loftus on Saturday.
Province head into this match brimming with confidence as the only unbeaten side in the competition. The champions will have to be at their best, however, as the Bulls lifted themselves off the bottom of the log with a 26-10 win against the Free State Cheetahs at Loftus last week.
WP are preparing for a physical onslaught and have added considerable bulk to their pack, in the shape of 1.97m and 116kg lock Taz Fuzani, who will make his Currie Cup debut.
'With the Bulls match coming up, it was a good time to look at him, especially because he brings a lot of physicality to the team,' said coach Allister Coetzee. 'He is a good rugby player and he's been working hard in the squad. It will be a big challenge for him and he knows what role he has to play.'
However, WP's trump card is their backline, and if their forwards can provide quality ball to the likes of Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh and new sensation Cheslin Kolbe, then the Bulls can forget about handing them their first defeat of the season.
Bulls coach Pine Pienaar knows his side faces a daunting task.
'We have to be at our very best to stand a chance of beating Western Province,' he said. 'There were certain areas of our game that we weren't happy with against Free State, so hopefully we can put up a better performance.
'They are the in-form team at the moment, they are unbeaten, and so it will be a massive challenge to win.'
Blue Bulls – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Akona Ndungane, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (c), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Dean Greyling, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Clayton Blommetjies.
Western Province – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 De Kock Steenkamp (c), 4 Taz Fuzani, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Michael van der Spuy.
Photo: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images
No quick fix for SA rugby’s slide
South African rugby is at its lowest point in the professional era, writes MARK KEOHANE in Business Day.
Combrinck’s flying high
Ruan Combrinck forced his way into the Springbok starting XV with a game-changing cameo at Ellis Park, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Mediocre Boks fail to inspire
The Springboks are rich in enthusiasm but poor in form, writes MARK KEOHANE in Business Day.