Blue Bulls captain Hanro Liebenberg believes the team has been upgraded by a few fresh faces coming in and they are ready to end their two-match Currie Cup losing streak when they travel to Kimberley to take on Griquas on Saturday.
Centre Franco Naude, wing Duncan Matthews and flank Nick de Jager have all come into the starting line-up, while prop Dayan van der Westhuizen and utility back Dylan Sage are fresh faces on the bench.
Added to that, Springboks Trevor Nyakane and Ivan van Zyl are both appearing in just their second Currie Cup match of the year.
“The changes are for the better, the guys that have come in haven’t played for a while and they want to prove a point, they are hungry. It’s more of a mental battle in Kimberley, we know Griquas are going to come out firing and we need to make an early statement. There are three games left and they are all must-wins, so we are going to Kimberley to get the win and a bonus point hopefully,” eighthman Liebenberg said.
After a rash of poor passes and dropped balls cost them against the Sharks a fortnight ago, last weekend the Blue Bulls let slip a winning position against the Golden Lions due to little errors in defence and discipline, but Liebenberg said he is confident those mistakes have been rectified for Saturday afternoon’s game.
“We’ve made the adjustments, although we know there are always new challenges to overcome every weekend. But if we can limit our discipline errors and if we fix our defensive lapses, then I believe we will get the result in Kimberley. The situation is simple, we have to play a good game, from the first minute, because if you let Griquas into the game then it’s a long day,” Liebenberg said.
Coach Pote Human said making all their tackles and being more patient with the lineout drive would be key areas if the Blue Bulls are to win and keep their Currie Cup hopes alive.
“Griquas will be waiting for us, they will be targeting this match because it’s their first home game, and it’s going to be tough for us. But we scored five tries against the Lions last week and if we can sort out our one-on-one tackles then we should be fine.
“I want us to keep playing rugby, which is why we prefer to kick penalties to the touchline. I think it was just impatience that we didn’t complete more rolling mauls against the Lions, so we’ve worked on that, the guys must complete the drive. The lineouts actually went very well with Eli Snyman there, that was a pleasant surprise,” Human said.