Bulls have the tough task of stop­ping Gri­qua jug­ger­naught

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - VATA NGOBENI

AT THE beginning of the sea­son it was the five big unions, namely the Blue Bulls, Sharks, Free State Chee­tahs, Lions and West­ern Prov­ince, who were be­ing coun­tered as the hot favourites to com­pete for top hon­ours in this year’s Cur­rie Cup.

Two weeks ago In Kim­ber­ley a few of the Gri­quas play­ers must have looked at their up­com­ing fix­tures against the Lions and the Bulls, re­spec­tively, as a weeks where most of them would cite flu as the rea­son for not play­ing.

Gri­quas pitched up in Jo­han­nes­burg two weeks ago fight­ing fit and against all the odds left with a full bag of points.

This week eleven of their play­ers went down with the flu but most, if not all, will take the field this af­ter­noon in a clash against a Bulls team who seem to be backpedalling when not play­ing at home.

In­stead of ly­ing low and suc­cumb- ing to the flu it seems like noth­ing is go­ing to keep Dawie Theron’s men away from the rugby field, a place where they have proven to be the kings of do­mes­tic rugby.

Five matches un­beaten is no easy feat in the Cur­rie Cup and while the lowly Boland and Leop­ards count amongst those scalps, the fact that Gri­quas are more than merely pre­tenders to the throne is given credit by their vic­to­ries over the Chee­tahs, Lions and West­ern Prov­ince.

There can be no doubt that Gri­quas have found a new lease on life with Theron at the helm but the signs were there for all to see when they up­staged the Blue Bulls and won the Vo­da­com Cup.

To­day they will want to go out in front of their home crowd and prove, again, to the rest of the coun­try that they can no longer be taken lightly and their one point win over West­ern Prov­ince last week would have been the per­fect cat­a­lyst to add an­other big one to their al­ready im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of scalps.

The Bulls will run onto the field al­most like lambs to the slaugh­ter as they strug­gle to shake off their woe­ful away record and try­ing to lift them­selves off the bot­tom half of the Cur­rie Cup log.

Af­ter their first loss to the Sharks, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke cited that it as still early in the com­pe­ti­tion to worry, how­ever af­ter last week’s dis­mal show­ing against the Chee­tahs in Bloem­fontein the Bulls will need to stay abreast.

A loss for the Bulls this af­ter­noon could spell dis­as­ter for Ludeke and his young charges as the Cur­rie Cup has proven cruel to late bloomers.

Much went wrong against the Chee­tahs from their lack of qual­ity pos­ses­sion in the scrums to their in­abil­ity to han­dle pres­sure.

De­wald Pot­gi­eter, Zane Kirch­ner and Chili­boy Rale­pelle’s in­clu­sion in the Bulls team is un­doubt­edly a boost, but crit­i­cal ques­tions will be asked by the high fly­ing Gri­quas.

But more than any­thing it will be the Bulls that will have to do all the hard graft as it is al­most a fore­gone con­clu­sion this year that every­time Gri­quas run onto a rugby field they are guar­an­teed of victory.

It is al­most un­think­able to say it, but the Bulls should con­sider them­selves very for­tu­nate if they are able to bring the Gri­quas jug­ger­naut to a halt.

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