Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
3 minute read
17 Jun 2022
11:01 am

Bulls all beefed up for Currie Cup semifinal against Griquas

Ken Borland

For the semi-final, inspirational captain Lizo Gqoboka is back and he will join a powerful front row alongside Jan-Hendrik Wessels and Jacques van Rooyen.

Jan-Hendrik Wessels is back in the Bulls Currie Cup team to take on Griquas in their semifinal. Picture: Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images

Having come a cropper last weekend in Bloemfontein, Bulls Currie Cup coach Gert Smal is hoping for a more cohesive, disciplined display as a side boasting some additional players with URC experience was named for their semifinal against Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

The Bulls went to Bloemfontein last weekend to try and finish top of the log, but they were heavily beaten. Needing just two bonus points to clinch No 1 spot, they were demolished 35-5.

Read more: Cheetahs see off Bulls to seal top spot on log

But for the semi-final, inspirational captain Lizo Gqoboka is back after his father’s sad passing and funeral, and he will join a powerful front row alongside the exciting Jan-Hendrik Wessels and the seasoned Jacques van Rooyen.

There is some real quality in the backline as well, with Springbok Lionel Mapoe now joined by Marco Jansen van Vuren in midfield and the elusive Stedman Gans on the wing.

“It’s very important to have that extra experience in the playoffs and we expect them to bring their best in the heat of the battle,” Smal said on Thursday.

“A game like the one in Bloem shows you a lot. But it was that team’s first time playing together and there were a lot of youngsters. We have put that match behind us, and the second time they play together will hopefully be much better.

“No matter how young you are, these are the type of matches you work so hard for, and the players are very hungry, both the youngsters and the seniors.

“We obviously missed Lizo, he was at his Dad’s funeral and we commiserate with him. But he has had a good week now, he’s very inspirational and it’s nice to have him back,” Smal said.

Uncanny ability to shock

Griquas have had an uncanny ability this season to shock teams by coming back from large deficits, and Smal knows the Bulls have an 80-minute tussle on their hands.

Read more: Griquas pull off the great Currie Cup escape once again

“Griquas are well-coached and they will throw their maul at us, it is something we have worked hard on because we were not good there last weekend,” Smal said.

“Once they set the lineout, they either maul or the ball comes out from their hooker or No.6 to the scrumhalf and they play from there. We have a really good idea of how they play.

“But they also play for the full 80 minutes, so we have to really play for the full duration of the match. Good defence wins you trophies, so we have to get that right.

“Griquas can also pick up the tempo, especially in the last part of the game, so that’s another challenge. We will have to be accurate in everything we do,” Smal said.

Bulls team: Richard Kriel, Tharquinn Manuel, Lionel Mapoe, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Stedman Gans, Juan Mostert, Keagan Johannes, Muller Uys, Ruan Delport, Jaco Labuschagne, Reinhardt Ludwig, Raynard Roets, Jacques van Rooyen, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Lizo Gqoboka. Impact -Sidney Tobias, Dylan Smith, Francois Klopper, Willie Potgieter, Stephan Smit, Bernard van der Linde, Niel Beukes, Quewin Nortje.

Kick-off: 7pm.