The Blue Bulls do not fear Newlands or Western Province.
JJ Harmse – Sport24
In fact, it is the Currie Cup semifinal they were secretly hoping for because their previous visit to the stadium left a sour taste in their mouths.
A pushover try and a few swear words hurt the Bulls that day. And they will want to put that right on Saturday,l no doubt using their frustration and pent-up rage from the previous visit in their preparation before heading to Cape Town.
All Bulls coach Frans Ludeke’s leading players, including loose forward Pierre Spies and wing Bryan Habana, are fit and ready, and the team had a very strong second half against the Leopards.
“We are preparing for a tough week with the knowledge that we had a terrific second half in our last game. There are no injuries and we can pick the strongest side,” said Ludeke.
He was grateful for all the attacking opportunities in Rustenburg on Friday night as he believes WP’s defence is rock-solid.
“WP’s defence was the best of all the teams this year. They also play a good tactical game,” said Ludeke.
“That is why it will be very important to lay the platform up front. You have to be able to get out of your territory when you are under pressure.”
The Bulls are also happy that WP loosehead prop Wicus Blaauw’s illegal scrumming was penalised by referee Marius Jonker against the Lions.
In their previous game, Blaauw placed his hand on the ground in 9 successive scrums before he could get underneath Bulls tighthead Werner Kruger, but was not penalised once by referee Pro Legoete.
When Blaauw tried the same trick at Coca-Cola Park, he was penalised by Jonker and suddenly the WP scrum was not so dominant.
The Bulls’ scrum has improved a lot since then, but the return of Gurthrö Steenkamp, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw and Pierre Spies had a lot to do with that.
Ludeke is particularly pleased by the experience in his team’s ranks.
“Semifinals are always tough encounters with close scorelines,” said the coach.
“It’s a good feeling knowing the players at your disposal are willing and able.”
Ludeke should know on Monday whether Chiliboy Ralepelle (toe) and Francois Brummer (groin) will be available for the substitutes bench, or whether he will need to utilise Bandise Maku and Burton Francis again.