Johannesburg - Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar has sent out a warning to the Sharks ahead of this weekend’s Absa Currie Cup semifinal that this Bulls side is not satisfied by just making the playoffs of the competition.
According to supersport.com website, Pienaar has undergone a harrowing season as he lost several Springboks and at least half of the coaching team he had last year, but has fought back with the help of the players to turn what seemed like a dismal season a few weeks ago into a relative success. But while most of the Loftus faithful would be relieved the team dodged the promotion/relegation bullet, Pienaar has set the team’s sights on the final.
There is no doubt this Bulls side have been buoyed by the return of the Springboks and have a new found confidence in them. Three wins in their last four games – the fourth being a one-point loss to the Sharks in Durban – has given them both momentum and confidence, and it is something Pienaar is set on harnessing this weekend when they face the Sharks as underdogs.
Pienaar knows it will take something special to win in Durban – the Sharks haven’t lost a Currie Cup game in more than a season and have only lost once on the field all year. Add to that a strange fact that the Blue Bulls last won in Currie Cup action in Durban in 2006 and the task seems tough indeed.
But he also knows that when his side –with their Boks back – click, they can also be an unstoppable force, and he is hoping that this will be the case this weekend and that his team rises to the occasion. However, there definitely needs to be some tweaks to the gameplan, and the Bulls have admitted they need to work on several aspects of their play if they are to be competitive in Durban. They are also very wary of the hiding they took in Super Rugby, when the Sharks beat them 32-10 with a full-strength team.
“We will have to take those decisions this week,” Pienaar said, adding that the Bulls were hungry now that they’ve been given a sniff at a possible final.
“The biggest thing I’m happy about is that in the last three four weeks with Dewald at the helm, we have fought ourselves out of the hole. We’re not going to be content just with a semifinal, we had a dream before the start of the season and we want to achieve it.
“We know it will be difficult but we will be hard at work again this week to get closer to the standard we will need to be for that game.”
Pienaar said although there were sleepless nights this year, he was overjoyed his side gave themselves an opportunity to challenge for the title.
“ It is an amazing competition, from an opportunity to get into the semis in the last game. We played very well in the last three games, despite our loss to the Sharks, we played some good rugby there as well. I’m just happy that we can give ourselves an opportunity to get into the final.
“It’s back to the drawing board this week. We have things to work on – our kickoffs weren’t good and in the first half we weren’t accurate with our kicking game. Against the Sharks side you have to be spot on, it is something we will definitely look at this week.”
Either way the Bulls will be up for their game against the Sharks, and with the home side likely to bring all their Boks back, they will need to be.