The fine line between fear and fun

Fri, 20 Sep 2013 07:07
Large paul willemse   jono ross Large blue bulls maul Large pine pienaar media Large handr  pollard blue bulls Large ruan steenkamp bulls Large pine pienaar presser

Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar is treading a fine line as he looks to bring his team back from the brink of disaster.

Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar is treading a fine line as he looks to bring his team back from the brink of disaster.

With a very young team, of which almost half still qualify to play in the junior ranks, the Bulls are at risk of being forced into a season-ending promotion-relegation series - currently sitting just one point ahead of the last-placed Griquas.

However, their saving grace could be a South African Rugby Union proposal that the Currie Cup competition be expanded to eight teams next year.

A meeting in Johannesburg on Thursday failed to reach an agreement on the subject, mainly because a number of unions refused to agree to a proposal that would guarantee the EP Kings Premier Division status till 2016.

A new meeting, to continue the debate and find a possible resolution, has been set for September 30.

In the meantime the Bulls have to continue as if there will be promotion-relegation games at the end of the season and hope to avoid finishing last.

"We are in a difficult position," Pienaar told this website in an interview ahead of his team's must-win encounter with the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

"We always knew it was going to be a tough season, but we realise we are now beginning to run out of time to make the play-offs," Pienaar said.

Pienaar declined to use the youthful nature of his team as an excuse for a season that has seen them record just two wins and a draw.

"In all our games we did well up to a stage and then just one or two decisions or errors of judgment cost us," the Bulls mentor said.

In a competition as demanding as the Currie Cup most teams will make you pay for errors and it is a harsh lesson for the young Bulls players, who have to start stepping up to the plate.

Another frustration for the coaching staff is the inability of the team to turn opportunities into points.

"We got that aspect right in the second half against the Free State [Cheetahs - a 26-10 win earlier this month], but in the other games there are those moments when we put pressure on the opposition, then we make a mistake that releases the valve.

"This weekend, if we can produce an 80-minute game of the highest quality, cut the errors and keep up the pressure it is possible to get that vital win."

However, the desperate situation his team finds itself in means there will be even more pressure on the youngsters at Ellis Park.

"That is a fine line," Pienaar told this website, adding: "You don't want to overwhelm the players with pressure of 'you must win'.

"Of course we all dream of winning the Currie Cup [competition], but you also don't want players to be too scared to play or too scared to attempt plays.

"For us it is about a certain structure and a process that we want to stay true to. When we have stuck to that [the game plan] the team looked dangerous.

"We will have to get our energy from the process and the structure, rather than put pressure on individuals.

"Everybody know what their roles are.

"The younger players have come through the structures, in our junior teams, so everybody knows what to do to get results.

"It is simply a matter of cutting out the errors with which we put ourselves under pressure."

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 June 2016
Samoa v Tonga 02h00 Apia
United States v Russia 02h00 Sacramento
New Zealand v Wales 07h35 Dunedin
Australia v England 10h00 Sydney
Japan v Scotland 10h30 Nagoya
Italy U20 v Japan U20 11h00 Manchester
Griffons v Free State Cheetahs 12h10 Welkom
Griquas v Sharks 13h00 Kimberley
Georgia U20 v France U20 13h15 Manchester
Argentina U20 v South Africa U20 13h30 Salford
Boland v Namibia 14h00 Wellington
South Africa v Ireland 15h00 Port Elizabeth
Scotland U20 v Wales U20 15h30 Manchester
Australia U20 v New Zealand U20 15h45 Salford
Ireland U20 v England U20 18h00 Salford
Argentina v France 18h10 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 June 2016
Canada v Italy 16h00 Toronto
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Western Province 10 9 0 1 42
Pumas 11 8 0 3 41
Griquas 10 8 0 2 41
Boland 9 7 0 2 35
Golden Lions 10 5 1 4 31
Free State Cheetahs 9 5 0 4 29
Blue Bulls 11 5 0 6 27
Eagles 10 5 0 5 26
Griffons 9 5 0 4 25
Leopards 10 4 0 6 24
Border 10 4 0 6 20
Falcons 10 3 0 9 19
Sharks 9 3 0 6 18
EP Kings 10 2 1 7 12
Namibia 10 0 0 10 1