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

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 March 2017
Crusaders v Force 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Waratahs 08h45 Melbourne
Glasgow Warriors v Connacht 17h15 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 19h05 Parc y Scarlets
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Ulster 19h35 Rodney Parade
Sat, 25 March 2017
Blues v Bulls 06h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Highlanders 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Stormers 10h55 Singapore
Kings v Lions 13h05 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 14h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Saracens v Bath 15h00 Allianz Park
Leinster v Cardiff Blues 15h00 RDS Arena
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 15h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Sharks 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Jaguares v Reds 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 March 2017
Wasps v Worcester Warriors 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Bristol v Gloucester 15h00 Ashton Gate
Mon, 27 March 2017
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks 14h45 Potchefstroom
Fort Hare v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Davidson Stadium
Wits v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Johannesburg
NMMU-Madibaz v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Bloemfontein
UWC v WSU 16h30 Cape Town
Maties v UJ 17h00 Stellenbosch
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1