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Daily Archives: September 23, 2014

“Bulls will be back”

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Former Sharks director of rugby Brendan Venter says injuries and Bok absentees are to blame for the Blue Bulls’ Currie Cup struggles. BRENTON CHELIN reports for www.sarugbymag.co.za

Ross
Ross

The Bulls currently find themselves in sixth place on the Currie Cup log following a tepid display against the Sharks at Loftus this past weekend. They are at risk of failing to make the semi-finals for the second consecutive year, something which hasn’t happened since they flirted with the lower divisions in the early 2000s.

Last year’s failure was chalked up to a mass exodus of players, where they were forced to field an inexperienced team. A year down the line, the Bulls are still suffering teething problems.

While the results are a slight improvement on last year’s showing (the Bulls managed just three wins in 10 outings during the 2013 Currie Cup), they remain some way off a title challenge. Brendan Venter thinks they aren’t as far off as some would have you believe.

‘The Bulls are in the midst of a building cycle,’ Venter told SARugbymag.co.za.

‘Unfortunately their progress has been disrupted by injuries this year. They’ve been without Pierre Spies and Arno Botha the whole season, while Flip van der Merwe was also a big loss.’

‘The Springbok team to face Australia this weekend is likely to have three inside backs from the Bulls, so they’ve got the quality, it’s just not with them at this moment in time. They’ll be a lot better during Super Rugby [in 2015].’

Venter admits that they’ve got little chance of making the Currie Cup semi-finals this year, as they must win their three remaining matches to progress.

One criticism levelled at the Bulls during the Currie Cup campaign has been their lack of innovation on attack. The Bulls unsurprisingly lead the statistics in kicks from hand, while they’ve managed just 14 tries from their seven matches, a league low.

‘People like to criticise Frans [Ludeke]’s style of play, but it’s worked for them in the past and it can work for them again. It’s not like the game has changed.

‘Their game plan is foolproof when executed with intensity and accuracy. They showed that against the Lions a couple of weeks back.’

The Bulls failed to cross the whitewash against the Sharks at the weekend, and didn’t exert any continued pressure on the opposition defence.

One notable aspect of their approach was their willingness to seek out contact, rather than look to draw in opposition defenders before offloading. Only the Pumas have made less offloads than the Bulls in contact this season.

Venter, however, doesn’t believe that these skills can be coached, but are rather a result of a skillful player dominating the contact area, allowing for the offload to be made.

‘Being able to offload in the tackle is a direct consequence of winning the collision. The problem comes in when you don’t win those collisions, which the Bulls aren’t doing at the moment.

‘Some of it has to do with the players that they have out [either through injury or with the Boks], and the rest is just a lack of confidence.’

Stegmann captain Blue Bulls again

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Vodacom Blue Bulls
Vodacom Blue Bulls

Regular captain and flank Deon Stegmann is back in the Vodacom Blue Bulls team to face Toyota Free State Cheetahs in an Absa Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Stegmann missed last weekend’s defeat to the Cell C Sharks due to suspension, but will again wear the number six jersey and captain’s armband in place of Wian Liebenberg and Jono Ross respectively. Liebenberg moves to the bench in one of six changes to the starting team.

At the back, Ulrich Beyers replace Jesse Kriel who moves to the bench, stalwart Akona Ndungane is back at right wing, with Sampie Mastriet moving to left wing in place of Bjorn Basson. In the midfield, JJ Engelbrecht replaces injured William Small-Smith and Piet van Zyl rotate with Rudy Paige, with the latter starting off the bench.

In the other change in the pack, Bongi Mbonambi will start, with Callie Visagie on the bench.

According to Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke this match is the most crucial one of the Absa Currie Cup campaign.

“We cannot afford to lose and even a good win might not be good enough. We managed to get back on track earlier in the season, but again allowed ourselves to be side-tracked. We cannot afford it to happen again,” Ludeke said.

Stegmann concurred. “We owe it to ourselves, the coaches and the supporters out there to deliver a quality performance. We have let ourselves down too many times this season. We must now run our own race and finish strong. We still have something to play for and we must use the opportunity.”

The Vodacom Blue Bulls team 

15 Ulrich Beyers

14 Akona Ndungane

13 JJ Engelbrecht

12 Burger Odendaal

11 Sampie Mastriet

10 Jacques Louis Potgieter

9 Piet van Zyl

8 Jono Ross

7 Jacques du Plessis

6 Deon Stegmann ©

5 Grant Hattingh

4 Paul Willemse

3 Werner Kruger

2 Bongi Mbonambi

1 Dean Greyling

Replacements:

16 Callie Visagie

17 Morné Mellet

18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg

19 Wiaan Liebenberg

20 Rudy Paige

21 Tian Schoeman

22 Jesse Kriel

 

 

WP announce team to play Pumas

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WP Icon

Allister Coetzee, the coach of the table-topping DHL Western Province outfit, has made just one change for his team’s tough assignment against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night (kick-off 19h00).

DHL WP, the 2012 Absa Currie Cup winners and 2013 finalists, will take on the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium with vice-captain Pat Cilliers back at tighthead prop and Brok Harris moving down to the bench.

Scrumhalf Nic Groom and utility back Michael van der Spuy will join Harris on the bench this week, with coach Coetzee once again reverting to a more traditional four/three split (forwards/backs) amongst his replacements.

That means that prop Oli Kebble misses out, after making his Absa Currie Cup debut from the bench against Griquas at DHL Newlands last Saturday, whilst Godlen Masimla also drops out this week now that Groom (SC Joint) is back to full fitness.

“The Pumas are unbeaten at the Mbombela Stadium this season, so it will be a tough challenge for us but one we’re looking forward to,” Coetzee told www.wprugby.com.

“The challenge is to win away from home in the Absa Currie Cup – especially after slipping up in Johannesburg two weeks ago – and we need to show the same kind of intensity and accuracy that we showed in the first half against Griquas, but for 80-plus minutes.”

DHL Western Province currently lie in first position on the 2014 Absa Currie Cup table, with 29 points from seven games (six victories). The Pumas are in fourth position on 19 points (four wins from seven games).

Friday’s match will not be televised live.

The DHL WP team for Friday (v Pumas, away) is as follows:

15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Juan de Jongh (captain)
12. Jaco Taute
11. Justin Geduld
10. Demetri Catrakilis
9. Louis Schreuder
8. Nizaam Carr
7. Michael Rhodes
6. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
5. Ruan Botha
4. Jean Kleyn
3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain)
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Alistair Vermaak

Replacements:
16. Neil Rautenbach
17. Brok Harris
18. Manuel Carizza
19. Rohan Kitshoff
20. Nic Groom
21. Kurt Coleman
22. Michael van der Spuy

 

Lions team to play Griquas

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Zerox Golden Lions

Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man side to take on the GWK Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon. In the forwards, prop Jacques van Rooyen and flank Warwick Tecklenburg will both start the match after moving up from the bench.

Meanwhile, in the backline, Ross Cronje will start at scrumhalf and Howard Mnisi will come in at inside centre. Marnitz Boshoff has recovered from his injury and will look to make an appearance off the wood this weekend.

The match will kick-off at 15h00.

 Lions Team:

15. Andries Coetzee

14. Ruan Combrinck

13. Lionel Mapoe (c)

12. Howard Mnisi

11. Courtnall Skosan

10. Jaco van der Walt

9. Ross Cronje

8. Willie Britz

7. Warwick Tecklenburg

6. Jaco Kriel (vc)

5. Franco Mostert

4. Martin Muller

3. Ruan Dreyer

2. Armand van der Merwe

1. Jacques van Rooyen

 Reserves:

16. Robbie Coetzee

17. Schalk van der Merwe/Julian Redelinghuys

18. Derick Minnie

19. Kwagga Smith

20. Mark Richards

21. Marnitz Boshoff

22. Stokkies Hanekom