Big challenge for Bulls' Boks

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 07:47
Large jj engelbrecht bulls traini Large jan serfontein bulls traini Large handre pollard bulls traini Large jjengelbrechtboktraining Large jan serfontein interviewed Large handre pollard bulls kicks

The Blue Bulls' highly rated all-Springbok midfield combination will have to deal with the added weight of expectation this week.

The Blue Bulls' highly rated all-Springbok midfield combination will have to deal with the added weight of expectation this week.

JJ Engelbrecht and Jan Serfontein may come with big reputations, but that will mean nothing when the Bulls go up against the Free State Cheetahs in a decisive Currie Cup Round 10 encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The Bulls must win, collect a four-try bonus point and deny the Cheetahs a bonus point of any sorts if they are to sneak past the Free Staters into the play-offs.

And the inclusion of the Bok duo, Engelbrecht and Serfontein, ahead of the settled combination of Francois Venter and William Small-Smith in midfield means the spotlight will be on the international players.

Bulls coach Pine Pienaar admitted that while the return of their Boks is a point of debate for any team, the precarious position his team find themselves in adds extra pressure on the Pretoria outfit's returning Boks.

"In our situation we are unfortunate with [Bok lock] Flip [van der Merwe] being ruled out [with a knee injury]," Pienaar told this website.

"JJ [Engelbrecht] and Jan [Serfontein] come into the team in midfield," he said, adding: "I feel sorry for players like Francois Venter and William Small-Smith, as they have started to combine well.

"JJ and Jan return from Bok duty and this weekend they have to go show why they are Springboks.

"I am very glad to have them back, but all the Boks have a big responsibility for the success of their respective teams."

The additional challenge is that the Bulls have had very little time to reintegrate their two international stars.

"It is a tough position we are in, so from the get go we have to find our rhythm and that is our big challenge," Pienaar told this website.

"Apart from the result [a win] we need to get, the tries [at least four] we have to score and the points difference [beat the Cheetahs by at least 12] that we must get, the biggest challenge will be to find our rhythm as a team as quickly as possible.

"Jan [Serfontein] will play alongside [flyhalf Handré] Pollard, and they had a few games together for South African Under-20 last year.

"We also made a few changes to the loose forwards [Jacques Engelbrecht at No.8 and Jono Ross moved to flank], so it is vital that they gel together as soon as possible and ensure we get off to a good start."

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
Lions v Bulls 51 | 14
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 18 | 16
Sunwolves v Sharks 17 | 38
Force v Highlanders 6 | 55
Hurricanes v Cheetahs 61 | 7
Fri, 19 May 2017
Leinster v Scarlets 15 | 27
Stormers v Blues 30 | 22
Chiefs v Crusaders 24 | 31
Sat, 13 May 2017
Jaguares v Force 6 | 16
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