No A-game equals defeat – Pienaar

2013-04-17 17:08

At the start of the Super Rugby season, no South African team would have taken the Southern Kings seriously.

But with their spellbinding overseas run, the Kings have every right to be given full attention.

The Bulls, who will be making the trip to Port Elizabeth on Saturday, will be fielding an unchanged team.

With a capacity crowd expected at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, allied with a fiercely passionate Kings team, Bulls defence coach Pine Pienaar said he understood how the fluctuating nature of the tournament has had the ability of catching teams off-guard.

“If you are not spot-on with what you want to do in every game. If you don’t bring your A-game, any team on any day will beat you,” said Pienaar.

“Before the game, there is no way you would have said that the Force would have beaten the Crusaders, and I do not think that the Crusaders played their game correctly. They went away from what worked from them and we need to stick to what has worked for us.”

The Bulls have seldom failed in a rarefied atmosphere, but Port Elizabeth will prove to be a new experience for them. Captain Pierre Spies, one of the few Bulls players who has played there, said they will be ready for the occasion.

“The greater the challenge, the greater the reward,” Spies said.

“It is a game that we have been looking forward to but we’ll take it like any other game, because it is a long competition. The atmosphere and whatever Saturday may bring will be great for us. It will be about embracing it and having a great game.”

While both team’s defences have, so far, refused to crack against South African and Australian attacks, it was against the enterprising New Zealand sides in which their flaws were exposed.

Defending was one thing the Bulls did very well against the Cheetahs, South Africa’s most entertaining team.

It came at the cost of a rather sterile attack as they could only translate 80% territorial dominance into points.

Defence coach Pine Pienaar said they have gone a long way in eradicating the source of their inaccuracy on attack.

“The Cheetahs defence had to be complemented as they have made a huge step up this year, but our attack was a matter of concern for us,” Pienaar said.

“We had one too many turnovers in their 22 in the first half, and in the second half we hung on to the ball much better and longer.”

The teams

» Kings:

15 George Whitehead, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira

Substitutes: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 Rynier Barnardo, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Marcello Sampson, 22 Siviwe Soyizwapi

» Bulls:

15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morne Mellett

Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Bjorn Basson

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