Blue Bulls expecting expansive Cheetahs game

Blue Bulls rugby coach Pine Pienaar believes the Free State Cheetahs will not deviate from their expansive style of rugby when the two sides meet in their Currie Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Cheetahs have not lost a game to the Bulls since the Currie Cup final of 2009 when the team from Pretoria won 36-24.

“They are a team who believes that they should give the ball more air and counter attack from the back, and I believe they would stick to that, ” Pienaar said.

“They have done really well during the Super Rugby season and their attacking patterns have improved as they progressed in the competition. ” The Bulls suffered a heavy 35-16 defeat to the Sharks last week and Pienaar said they were determined to turn the tables in their first home match.

“We did not have a good start against the Sharks and no matter who we encounter next, it is important that we focus on what we need to improve on and what we want to implement in the match, ” said Pienaar.

Despite their 40-12 win over the Leopards on Saturday, Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie, felt his team did not play well enough.

“We played at a slow tempo and did not capitalise on our chances well enough, ” said Fourie.

Fourie said their forwards were still young and inexperienced and more responsibility to gain go-forward ball will — in the absence of Coenie Oosthuizen, Ashley Johnson and Adriaan Strauss who are touring with the Springboks — fall on prop WP Nel and lock Francois Uys.

Fourie said the Bulls were in a similar position with the loss of Danie Rossouw and prop Dean Greyling to the Springboks which he felt was one of the main reasons they had struggled against the Sharks.

He, however, believed the Bulls would be an improved side when the two teams meet.

Meanwhile, the Golden Lions will travel to Kimberley where they will take on Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.

The Peacock Blues would have taken some confidence from their draw with Western Province last weekend.

Their opponents on the other hand narrowly beat the Pumas 31-27 in their season opener in Johannesburg and will have to up their game against a quality Griquas side.

Lions skipper Doppies la Grange said they were under no illusions that playing Griquas in their own backyard would be an uphill battle.

“Griquas take pride in their home games and they shocked a few big teams last year, ” said La Grange.

“I don’t know if there are any small teams in the Currie Cup anymore, we’re definitely not going to approach them any differently than we did for the Pumas game. “

The last time the two teams met in the Currie Cup the Lions won 40-29 in Johannesburg.

Griquas, however, won last year’s first round match 26-20 when they hosted the Lions in Kimberley.

Lions coach John Mitchell said his team needed to be accurate in their execution if they were to beat Griquas.

“Last week we made it hard for ourselves, because we didn’t look after the ball and keep it for long enough, ” said Mitchell.

“We put ourselves under pressure in that area and when we did hold onto the ball and fulfilled our roles defensively we were good. “

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