Pine has insider’s eye
17 August 2012 | HEINZ SCHENK
It’s why the Blue Bulls coach believes his charges will need to prime themselves for the unexpected when they travel to the City of Roses for their Currie Cup meeting with the Cheetahs tonight.
“With Naka Drotske and Hawies Fourie at the helm, you can never be too sure what you’re going to get on the day,” he admitted.
“There are some key players who are missing either through injury or departure, but they’re always dangerous. They like to be afforded space in order to apply width to their attack. Crucial to our cause is going to be our ability to handle the pressure associated with the uncertainty of what we face.”
With their mixture of a hearty dose of veterans and exciting upstarts, coupled with a testing but successful start against Griquas last week, the Bulls probably do have the skills to cope with an outfit desperate to overturn a poor start to their campaign.
However, skipper Dewald Potgieter is a pragmatist and is fully aware that his troops are still learning.
“Last week was very good for the guys, they got a taste of the Currie Cup’s tempo,” said the eighthman.
“From personal experience, I feel there’s more pressure on you when you’ve won your first game.
On some fronts it’s less, but for others it’s more acute, like showing the first win wasn’t a fluke. We’ve targeted a good start and that means wins in your first two to three games, not just the first. We want long-term momentum.”
On their day, the Cheetahs truly dazzle to such an extent that they’re unstoppable but overall the four-time champions have become an undisciplined outfit – rich in attacking prowess but startlingly lacking in basics.
Their loss to the Lions was a case in point. They monopolised large swathes of possession yet struggled in the set-pieces, especially scrums, and marked capriciously.
It’s undoubtedly an area where the Bulls’ superior focus can trump their opponents but Potgieter isn’t betting on them not improving.
“We’ve had enough experience in the past of the Cheetahs focusing intently on matching us in the set-pieces. It would seem to me that it’s this area that’s going to become one of our strongest, so they will target it.
“They’re defence will also be aggressive.” Drotske rang the changes with no less than six new faces in the starting line-up.
At halfback, Sarel Pretorius and Sias Ebersohn are reunited in a partnership that worked wonders in last year’s Super Rugby while experienced hard-man Frans Viljoen and the nippy Kabamba Floors give the loose trio a more balanced look.
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