Currie Cup

Bulls: Trials for No 9 slot

2012-10-17 07:45
Jano Vermaak (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar appears to be in two minds about who his scrumhalf will be in their Currie Cup semi-final against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

The Beeld website reports that Jano Vermaak and Francois Hougaard were continuously swopped during training on Tuesday, with the rest of the starting XV looking settled.

Vermaak started against the Lions in Johannesburg last week and was his impressive self in a 50-29 win. However, Hougaard has that much-needed X-factor so vital for a semi-final, which leaves coach Pienaar with a tough decision.

Should he opt for Hougaard it is likely to be the only change to the starting line-up that did duty at Coca-Cola Park.

Chiliboy Ralepelle isn't believed to be 100%, so Willie Wepener looks likely to remain at hooker.

Pienaar is also considering a change from a 5:2 forward-backs ratio to a 4:3 split, which could leave the door open for backline player Jürgen Visser.

After their impressive show last week, the Bulls have now won three out of their last four games and seem to be peaking at the right time after fighting a relegation threat for most of the season.

In fact, their only loss in the last month was a narrow, 13-12 loss to the Sharks in treacherous conditions in Durban on September 28. And Pienaar believes they can draw a lot from that loss going into Saturday's semi-final at Kings Park.

"The conditions that night were very tough," he said earlier in the week.

"But the tactical plans we made for that game really worked well. If I have my calculations right, we haven't beaten them in a Currie Cup game in Durban since 2006. But after our recent game there, we'll definitely give ourselves a chance."

The clash at Kings Park kicks off at 16:30.

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Golden Lions v Sharks, Johannesburg 17:00
Eastern Province Kings v Pumas, Port Elizabeth 18:00
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Free State Cheetahs v Griquas, Bloemfontein 14:00
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