Bulls aim for home semi-final

Nollis Marais (Gallo Images)
Nollis Marais (Gallo Images)

Pretoria – With only two matches left in the regular Currie Cup competition one would forgive the Blue Bulls for getting excited about the prospect of a home semi-final.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais was entertaining the idea of claiming the full five points from their match against the EP Kings in Pretoria on Friday.

“The expectation is there to get a home semi-final, luckily we are in control of our own destiny at the moment, we just need to make sure we get five points over the weekend,” Marais said in Pretoria on Wednesday.

“It will be tough ask, if we stick to what we are good at and the way we want to play the rest will come.”

The Bulls returned to winning ways beating the Sharks 17-13 in Durban over the weekend to keep their hold on second place on the log.

Sharing the same amount of league points with Western Province but with a better point’s difference, the Bulls have slightly easier encounters ahead of them with the Kings and Pumas lying in wait.

Province will be travelling to Johannesburg where they will take on the undefeated Golden Lions at Ellis Park before hosting the Kings in Cape Town.

Before Marais’ imagination could run away with him, Bulls captain Lappies Labuschagne said the team first needed to win their remaining matches.

“I know the coach said five points but we would like to win the game first, we will do exactly what we’ve done every weekend,” Labuschagne said.

“If it is possible, five points would be great but we will be very happy about a win.”

Meanwhile, Marais made two changes to the run-on side with Dries Swanepoel moving back into the starting XV to replace Jan Serfontein, who received a World Cup call-up for the Springboks.

His place on the bench will be filled by William Small-Smith, while lock RG Snyman will earn his start of the season with Marvin Orie shifting to the bench.

Teams:

Blue Bulls:

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (captain), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marvin Orie, 19 Ruan Steenkamp, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 William Small-Smith

Eastern Province Kings:

15 Scott van Breda, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Tim Whitehead (captain), 11 Luther Obi, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Paul Schoeman, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Karlo Aspeling

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