Bulls go into 'knock-out' mode

Wed, 02 Oct 2013 13:11
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The Blue Bulls are treating their remaining league fixtures as 'knock-out' games in a desperate bid to reach the Currie Cup play-offs.

The Blue Bulls are treating their remaining league fixtures as 'knock-out' games in a desperate bid to reach the Currie Cup play-offs.

The Bulls are fifth on the standings with 16 points - a single point separating them from the Free State Cheetahs in fourth place, the final play-off spot.
 
The team's destiny was out of their hands as the results in other matches during this week's Round Nine fixtures could still determine whether they qualified for the play-offs.
 
However, they have to keep on winning to stay in the race, starting when the Sharks arrive at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Coach Pine Pienaar said they will treat Friday's match as a 'final'.

"Our biggest focus is on this weekend," Pienaar told a media scrum in Pretoria.

"There are so many variables that could happen.

"This is a final at Loftus. It is a do-or-die situation for us and we have to ensure we are good enough to possibly stay in the competition."
 
Despite a topsy-turvy season, the Bulls kept their semifinal chances alive when they beat Griquas 52-10 in Kimberley last weekend.
 
"We know we have to go out and put up a massive performance against the log-leaders," Pienaar said of Friday's encounter with the Sharks.

"We have to make sure we chase the big moments where we put the Sharks under pressure and try and look after the ball better and make the right decisions."
 
Pienaar stayed with continuity in his team selection, making only three changes to the stating XV for Friday's Loftus clash.
 
The Bulls were buoyed by the return of Springbok wing Bjorn Basson, who replaced Sampie Mastriet, while Clayton Blommetjies missed out on selection.
 
The Bulls coach made two changes to his front row giving Bongi Mbonambi a starting berth at the expense of Bandise Maku, who moves to the bench.
 
Prop Frik Kirsten was declared fit following a knee injury and replaced Werner Kruger at tighthead.
 
He said the team took some confidence from their match against Griquas, particularly in the second half but, he warned, the Sharks would pose a different challenge from the Peacock Blues.
 
"To stay in the running, we've got to go out against the Sharks and win.

"If the bonus point opportunity presents itself, hopefully we can take that."

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Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
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