Bulls forwards set to fire

Sport24 columnist Chiliboy Ralepelle (File)
Sport24 columnist Chiliboy Ralepelle (File)
It’s great to be back in the mix. The knee is feeling good now. I’m continuing my rehab and getting stronger by the day.

I really don’t know how much game time I will get this Saturday: That’s up to the coach and how the game goes. Myself and the other reserves on the bench will come on when called upon and try to make a difference in the game. I feel privileged to be part of the match 22.

Whether on the bench or in the starting line-up, for me nothing changes as far as my game goes. It’s more about building confidence within myself, getting stronger physically and making a difference to the cause. Mentally I have to be prepared whether I am called upon early on or late in the game.

To be fair, no one gave us a chance this season and yet here we are in the Currie Cup semi-finals against the Sharks. However, I’m not saying that now that we are in the playoffs we should sit back and be complacent.

We know that we can continue to improve our standards, and be even more clinical in implementing our game plan. There is no question the return of the Springboks to Currie Cup duty adds a massive amount of experience and energy.

Last weekend, the Lions certainly didn’t give us an easy game, but the win gave us confidence. However, that game is already in the past and we are now fully focused on our objectives for Saturday in the Shark Tank.

We realise that the Sharks aren’t going to throw the ball around as much as the Lions did. They thrive on physical dominance. I feel it’s going to be a massive clash upfront. If nothing else, this weekend’s clash will be a battle of the tight fives. If we can secure our setpieces and earn quality ball, then I think we will put the Sharks under real pressure.

For us in Bulls’ camp, it’s key that we focus on ourselves. We might not have the majority of the crowd cheering us on this Saturday, but what we do have is 22 players pulling in the same direction, supporting one another. In big matches, it’s about living it out on the field and playing for each other.

On Saturday, we are just going to play the situation as we see fit. Despite it being a knock-out  game, we are not restricting ourselves in approach. That said, when it comes to a playoff game, it’s all about execution and being precise in everything that you do.

The flyhalf battle should be interesting. Both Morne Steyn and Pat Lambie are great players and have their different styles of play. It will be great to see Morne out there again at his best.

Turning to the second semi-final, to be honest I don’t really know what’s going to happen when the Lions host Western Province.

Whatever happens in that game, happens. My focus is solely on my team and my performance this Saturday, while our collective focus is on getting to the top.

Chiliboy Ralepelle, educated at Pretoria Boys High, has played 21 Tests for the Springboks. He remains the national side’s youngest-ever captain, having led against the World XV in 2006.

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