Potgieter vs Cronjé

Saturday's battle in Pretoria will be decided by one of the two flyhalves, writes BRENTON CHELIN.

Jacques-Louis Potgieter's return to the No 10 jersey has coincided with the Blue Bulls' improving form. His influence on their performances is often understated, but he remains a key figure as we head toward the play-offs. The Bulls' low-risk, territorial approach is a perfect fit for the well-travelled Potgieter.

Lionel Cronjé was solid, if not spectacular, against the Free State Cheetahs. He provided his talented outside backs with plenty of ball and didn't do much wrong, his two missed penalty attempts aside. His performance on Saturday will depend on those inside of him, and whether the Sharks forwards can provide him with a platform to work from. Failure to do so will severely dent the Sharks' chances.

The Sharks will need to ensure they win the territorial battle and remain disciplined on defence. They can't afford to give away penalties within Potgieter's kicking range. At 25 years of age, Lionel Cronjé needs to start showing that he can live up to the potential he showed as a youngster. Loftus Versfeld will be a severe test of his mettle. Potgieter has the experience and home-ground advantage on his side which, if used correctly, should set his side on the path to victory.

Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images/Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix