Bulls have 'must win' approach
Jacques-Louis Potgieter (Gallo Images)
Pretoria – The Blue Bulls are approaching their remaining Currie Cup league fixtures as quarterfinals and “must-win” games.
That is why there is no chance that the winless Leopards will be underestimated on Saturday, says Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.
“They gave us a good fright in our own back yard when we last played them and were only a few minutes away from beating Griquas in Kimberley this past weekend. We will therefore not be taking any chances,” said Ludeke.
Ludeke was happy with the way in which certain things worked out for the Bulls against the Lions at the weekend, but believes finishing is still their big problem rather than complacency against the wooden spoonists.
“We saw in Nelspruit (against the Pumas) what happens when you are not 100% focused and are wasteful with your chances. We learned a valuable lesson there,” said Ludeke.
“It will rather be about finishing our scoring opportunities. That was a problem against the Lions. Had we done one or two little things better, we could have won by a bigger margin.”
Ludeke is also not worried about the goalkicking form of points machine Jacques-Louis Potgieter. His three misses at posts cost his team a lot of early momentum against the Lions.
“He came back superbly in the second half and I have a lot of confidence in his ability to get back to top form,” said the coach.
The Blue Bulls’ backs and forwards trained separately on Monday and Ludeke will only know on Tuesday whether he will have additional options for the Leopards game.
Deon Stegmann jumped without any discomfort in the lineout session, but appeared to struggle in the running session afterwards.
“We won’t risk him. If he does not feel 100%, we will not pick him,” said Ludeke.
Stegmann is a virtual certainty to tour with the Springboks at the end of the year.
It probably makes sense to get the fetching flank completely fit before unleashing him against Western Province next weekend.
Fudge Mabeta has also recovered from his shoulder injury and may feature among the substitutes, which means that Wilhelm Steenkamp is likely to drop out of the squad.
Gary Botha should be fit after a knock to the head. If not, Bandise Maku will get game time again – probably as Chiliboy Ralepelle’s understudy.
Gurthrö Steenkamp sweated it out with the contracted Boks on one side, but the chances are good that he will be used next week already.
John Mametsa may run out on the wing. Jaco van der Westhuyzen, who stood in there the past few weeks, trained on his own on Monday.
Mametsa and Hayden Groepes took turns running on the wing.
Mametsa has played six games this year and scored four tries, while Groepes was in the starting line-up twice.