“The Vodacom Blue Bulls can still win the Absa Currie Cup in 2012.”
This statement from coach Pine Pienaar ahead of the team’s crucial encounter against the DHL Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Friday is a clear indication of the intent the home side will show in their last home fixture of the year.
“We might be at the bottom of the log with only two rounds left, but if we win both our matches and some other results go the way we hope, we will be in the play-offs. And if we are in it, we can win it,” Pienaar said.
For that to happen though, the Blue Bulls will have to show more accuracy, urgency and better defence than so far this season.
The coach again lamented the soft moments during the season and the ease with which the opposition was then allowed to score tries.
“We have to get rid of those soft moments. We have no option. If not, we will face the real possibility of promotion/relegation and that is the last thing we want out of our season and the hard work we have put in,” the coach said.
The Blue Bulls have been bolstered by the availability of free scoring winger Bjorn Basson, as well as a fit-again Chiliboy Ralepelle, who will play off the bench.
Dean Greyling has also been included on the bench.
“It certainly is good to know Bjorn is fit and ready to go. He is a world class player and we will try to get the ball in his hands,” Pienaar said.
DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made just one change to his starting XV for this clash. Nic Groom and Louis Schreuder rotates at scrumhalf.
Coetzee opted for a five-two forwards split on the bench, with American Eagles loose forward JJ Gagiano replacing centre Berton Klaasen in the matchday 22.
The teams are:
Vodacom Blue Bulls: Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Francois Venter, Bjorn Basson, Louis Fouchè, Jano Vermaak, CJ Stander, Jean Cook, Dewald Potgieter ©, Franco Mostert, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Werner Kruger, Willie Wepener, Mornè Mellet. Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Frik Kirsten, Dean Greyling, Grant Hattingh, Warwick Tecklenburg, Ruan Snyman, Lionel Cronjè.
Western Province: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 JJ Gagiano, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Pat Howard.
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistants: Tiaan Jonker, Pieter de Villiers
Television Match Official: JC Fortuin
Last meeting: 1 September in Cape Town (First round): WP won 42-6