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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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26