The Bulls have enjoyed one of the longer occupancies at the top of the local rugby log this season and it has been the sort of success which could lead to complacency. Which is why hooker Johan Grobbelaar said on Wednesday that the narrow loss to the Sharks last weekend has given them the opportunity to look more closely at what they are doing before the knockout rounds begin on January 15.
The Bulls still enjoy a five-point lead at the top of the Currie Cup log, but one more slip-up and the Sharks could catch them, so the Durban defeat has been a timely reminder that nothing is assured yet.
“We’ve had a good run and we are still in a good position. You are always going to make some mistakes in every game, but last weekend has forced us to look at ourselves, it has forced us to look at our game a bit deeper and it will make sure we don’t get too comfortable. There’s never a right time to lose, but rather now than in the knockout rounds,” Grobbelaar said on Wednesday.
“It’s given us a good chance to look at our mistakes, but our preparation this week has been more or less the same as previously.
“It’s important that we don’t try and make massive changes, we need to stick to the things that have worked for us. Like our lineout is still good, we don’t have to be too worried about that and we still want to make it a physical battle against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.”
Playing brilliant, free-flowing attacking rugby is not always that easy in the mid-summer heat and at Tafel Lager Park on Saturday, with the temperature expected to be in the mid-30s even at their 4.30pm kickoff time, there are going to be mistakes made my tired bodies as the game progresses.
“Playing in Kimberley is not that big a problem for me because I come from Paarl where it gets really hot, and we train in a lot of heat in Pretoria,” said the hooker.
“But the high temperature does make a difference, it means there’s extra sweat all over the ball and your jerseys are wet as well. So the ball becomes more slippery and that leads to more knock-ons.
“It means we have to take on more fluids and the game is possibly a bit slower because there are more mistakes. But apart from that, for every away game we try to make things as comfortable as possible.
“Playing Griquas is always tough and you can never underestimate them, they beat us here at Loftus last year and at the beginning of the season they gave us a tough game here as well,” Grobbelaar said.