We can be better - Pine
Johannesburg - The battle for Currie Cup semi-final berths kicks off in earnest this weekend with the start of the second round of the competition and the Blue Bulls will be aiming for more consistent showings, starting with the Sharks, after their uncharacteristic slow start to their Currie Cup campaign.
The Bulls, a lowly sixth in the table, face a bruised Sharks side, who slipped to third place after their defeat to the Lions last weekend, in Pretoria on Saturday.
While the Bulls beat a spirited Leopards 28-20 in Rustenburg last Friday, however, their performance was far from impressive.
"We can be better," said Bulls coach Pine Pienaar.
"We didn't hang on to the ball and conceded a few penalties.
"We made too many mistakes last week and this week we focussed on correcting them, and we think it will be different on Saturday."
The Bulls have made three changes to their starting XV, with Dewald Potgieter, Bjorn Basson and Juandre Kruger returning from injury.
After getting the better of the Bulls in the first round in Durban, Sharks coach John Plumtree said this week his charges would be up to the challenge again on highveld territory.
With Ryan Kankowski injured, Jean Deysel steps up from the bench to fill the eighthman position.
Two other changes were made at lock and prop with Jandre Marais and Eugene van Staden starting ahead of Anton Bresler and Wienhann Herbst.
"They (the Bulls) are another good side, and there isn't too much between all the top sides in the competition, I believe," Plumtree said.
"We know what a massive challenge it is at Loftus, but it is achievable for us if we play good rugby."
In Kimberley, Griquas will host Western Province who moved up to second after last week's win over the Pumas.
Griquas have lost only one of four home games this season, going down to log leaders the Lions at GWK Park, a venue that is traditionally a struggle for visiting teams.
Meanwhile, the bottom-placed Leopards host the Free State Cheetahs in Potchefstroom.
The Cheetahs are coming off a narrow 23-20 loss to Griquas.
While the plucky home side are expected to provide a challenge for Naka Drotske's charges, the Cheetahs will go in search of a win and a bonus point that could see the visitors move into the top four in the standings.