The dance of the desperates

Wed, 19 Sep 2012 21:11
Large sael pretorius cheetahs cha Large hawies fourie presser 630 Large cheetahs mascot with currie

The equation is simple: win or forget about featuring in the Currie Cup play-offs.

The equation is simple: win or forget about featuring in the Currie Cup play-offs.

This is the desperate scenario facing the Free State Cheetahs and Blue Bulls, the two most successful teams on the domestic scene in the 21st century.

Between them they have won seven Currie Cup titles in the last decade, but when they go  head-to-head in Pretoria on Saturday the loser may well end up playing in a promotion-relegation match next match.

Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie said that while the pressure is on "all the teams", it is certainly more so for the Bulls and Free State - as there remain just four weeks of league action and very little room for error.

"The pressure in this game will be enormous, as the team who lose this one will most probably fail to make the play-offs," Fourie told this website, adding: "There is obviously plenty at stake this coming weekend."

There is also the looming promotion-relegation game, probably against the new Super Rugby franchise the Kings, at the end of the season.

"[Yes,] that is an issue, but at this stage that is not our focus," Fourie said.

"We know that through hard work we can still reach the play-offs.

"Our focus for now is to [win enough games to] reach the semifinals and not worry about trying to avoid a promotion-relegation game.

"We know exactly what we must do to get into the play-offs and we are working on achieving those goals ... at least that is still in our own hands."

The Bulls, who like the Cheetahs, have lost their last three matches will have exactly the same emotive reasons to strive for an important win.

However, they have one advantage over the rivals - the game is being played at the iconic Loftus Versfeld.

"Every team are 15 to 20 percent better on their home ground ... that certainly is a factor," Fourie told this website.

"While they [the Bulls] are not having a good run, we are not doing much better.

"We certainly won't be able to take anything for granted, we'll have to be at our absolute best to get that much-need win in Pretoria."

By Jan de Koning

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Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Jaguares v Blues 22h00 Buenos Aires
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
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Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
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CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Griquas 11 9 0 2 46
Western Province 10 9 0 1 42
Pumas 11 8 0 3 41
Boland 10 8 0 2 40
Golden Lions 10 5 1 4 31
Griffons 10 6 0 4 30
Free State Cheetahs 10 5 0 5 30
Blue Bulls 11 5 0 6 27
Eagles 10 5 0 5 26
Leopards 10 4 0 6 24
Border 10 4 0 6 20
Falcons 10 3 0 9 19
Sharks 10 3 0 7 18
EP Kings 10 2 1 7 12
Namibia 10 0 0 10 1