Bulls poised for tough Griquas challenge

2012-08-08 15:42

The Currie Cup kicks off on Friday when the Blue Bulls take on the Griquas at Loftus Versfeld.

By their lofty standards, the Blue Bulls had a disappointing Currie Cup last year. Having shed many senior and experienced players – like Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw and Fourie du Preez – they outdid themselves as they made it to the Super Rugby playoffs.

New captain Dewald Potgieter has now put the Super Rugby tournament behind him, but he did not hide behind the current team’s inexperience, saying that a group of winners can be moulded from the group.

“When we got together at the start of the season, everybody said that it was not a rebuilding phase,” he said.

“We did not want to look at the season like that. We wanted to win trophies ... Most of the guys wanted to prove that we are a competitive side, especially with the people we have lost.”

The Griquas are renowned Currie Cup giant killers and the Blue Bulls have fallen victim to them in the past.

Last season, the Griquas pipped the Bulls 48-44, a result that went a long way in denying the Bulls a playoff spot.

Potgieter is well aware of the threat posed by the Kimberley men and knows that defeat cannot be avenged due to the one-round nature of the tournament.

“They are a side that spends a lot of time together and that gives them a lot of confidence and we are missing a lot of players but they are not going to underestimate us as they have a point to prove as much as we do as the playing field is always level,” said Potgieter.

Griquas coach Pine Pienaar’s side includes Cornell Hess, Ulrich Beyers, Frans Venter, Ruan Snyman who graduate from the junior Bulls side while experience is provided by the likes of Willie Wepener, Wilhelm Steenkamp and Deon Stegmann. Lionel Cronje makes a welcome return to the bench after missing most of the season with a knee injury.

“Everyone is a leader in this side. You have got to take responsibility and there are no excuses. We are blessed with a bunch of senior guys that have won trophies and we need to feed off that experience and watch them lead the way,” Pienaar said.

Kick-off is at 7.05pm.

» Teams

Blue Bulls:
15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Clayton Blommetjies, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn

Substitutes:
16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Jan Serfontein


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