The Blue Bulls are enduring their worst Currie Cup campaign in recent history and while they did well to record a bonus point victory over the EP Kings last week the end result was only a 5 point difference to a team with much less star quality than they have.
Frans Ludeke seems to be in a bit of a rut at the moment, he is trying to use the Bulls tried and tested system with personnel that don’t fit. What he will hope for this weekend is for some sort of emotional response from his players, to ignite something bordering on hatred to the blue and white hoops of the visitors.
He has gone for the experienced pack of forwards to win the physical battle but has somehow opted to select Callie Visagie over the vastly superior Bongani Mbonambi, a move that many view as borderline insanity. Jesse Kriel starts at 15 for the Bulls and with news that Jurgen Visser is out for the season will feel more confident in expressing himself should he get the chance.
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made only one change to his starting line up and that is Jaco Taute coming into the midfield for the injured Michael van der Spuy. Province will be out to collect the prized “ double” over their traditional rivals but Coetzee was quick to downplay any premature talk of victory let alone bonus points stating that “it doesn’t get bigger than playing the Bulls at Loftus”.
Western Province have a fairly young pack but they are brimming with confidence after laying the platform for their teams unbeaten run so far, they also have a well balanced bench that provides the ability to both shut out a game as well as change tack should the need arise.
Should the visitors gain the upper hand expect exciting number 8 Nizaam Carr to make an early exit, Coetzee was at pains to point out that “Nemo needs a break” , Siya Kolisi in some fine form himself will most likely take over that role.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Joshua Stander, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus van Wyk, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Ryan Nell.
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Pat Howard.