The experience in the Blue Bulls midfield and lack thereof among the Western Province centres is set to be a decisive factor in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final between the teams at Newlands.
JJ Harmse – Sport24
The Bulls’ centre pairing of Wynand Olivier and Jaco Pretorius have both played in the region of 150 first class games in their careers.
On the other side, Juan de Jongh is playing his first senior season and Paul Bosch has been unexpectedly picked after only a handful of games for WP.
Olivier played his 50th game for the Bulls in this year’s Super14 and already passed that milestone in last year’s Currie Cup, while Pretorius played in his first semifinal back in 2002.
Even so, Olivier does not believe that such experience counts for a lot in semi-finals.
“These games are a different animal because there is so much more pressure and things happen so quickly,” he said.
“It’s good to know you have been in these situations before, but we’ll have to pitch mentally and execute our task.”
Olivier, 26, is full of confidence about the Bulls’ chances.
“With all due respect to WP, we can only lose to ourselves. They would not have been in the top four had they not enjoyed a good season, but we will achieve success if we do things right,” he said.
“We just should not go and beat ourselves. But the manner in which we have prepared this week, makes me a calm person.”
Olivier conceded he had expected to see Frikkie Welsh in midfield.
“We’ll see what their midfield looks like when they run on the field. I expected Frikkie would play centre,” he said.