Salmaan Moerat says Western Province are looking forward to setting the record straight against the Vodacom Bulls after the team’s heavy defeat in Pretoria. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Bulls handed the Stormers a 39-6 thrashing in the fourth round of Super Rugby Unlocked. The game was affected by lightning, with players removed from the field after 63 minutes.
It has been just over three weeks since then and the Stormers finished their Super Rugby campaign on a high with wins over Griquas and the Cheetahs, putting them in second place going into the Currie Cup.
Now playing as Western Province, the team will host the Bulls in what could be the final North-South derby at Newlands, but the match will also offer the home side an opportunity to strike back against their opponents.
‘Obviously, it is really tough accepting a loss like that,’ Moerat told the media on Tuesday. ‘But I remember clearly after the game, one of the things we mentioned was just how excited we are to be getting them within four weeks of that game and here we are this weekend.
‘So, it’s an exciting prospect and it’s something that we are looking forward to. You don’t always get this kind of an opportunity.’
Somewhat ironically, the game could turn out to be a reverse of what happened in the 2018 Currie Cup. Back then, Province travelled to Loftus Versfeld and handed the Bulls a 34-7 defeat in a game that was also abandoned due to wet-weather conditions. However, a week later the Bulls put in a much-improved performance in the semi-final at Newlands, as Province needed a 94th-minute penalty to claim a 35-32 win.
‘If I am not mistaken, we went into extra time,’ Moerat said. ‘It just shows that one week you can dominate and the other, you can be dominated. With saying that, we are excited for this weekend. We have prepared really well. It is always a massive game against the Bulls.’
The North-South derby is usually the highlight of the domestic calendar. However, with Covid-19 restrictions still preventing fans from attending, both teams have had to find an alternative method to fire themselves up from within.
‘It’s a lot different,’ Moerat explained. ‘We’ve quickly realised that we won’t be getting our energy from the faithful. So we realised that needs to come from within our team. That’s where the bench comes in – they have made a massive difference over the past two weeks. Just the way they motivate the guys on the side of the field, it does go a long way.’