Blue Bulls aiming to cut Currie Cup penalty count

The first round of Currie Cup matches emphasised that it would be a competition of margins as there is little to pick between the sides in the strength-versus-strength format.

It is with this in mind that Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar expects his side to keep mistakes to a minimum when they take Griquas on at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

“We weren’t happy with the lineouts, especially on the attacking lineout, and the same with the scrums where we conceded two penalties,” Pienaar said about their 24-24 draw with Western Province last weekend.

“We are happy with the scrums but one penalty can cost you the game.”

The youthful Bulls side showed their resolve to force a draw in Cape Town, while the Griquas were equally impressive in their 32-30 away victory over the Sharks in Durban.

The Kimberley side’s victory over the Sharks may have been labelled an upset, but they have always been a force to be reckoned with in the Currie Cup, particularly in the first half of the competition.

Griquas coach Pote Human pointed out this week that his charges have in the past battled in their away games, which was something he was looking to rectify this season.

“We’ve struggled in the past to win our away games, but we have succeeded in beating the Sharks at home,” Human said.

“Now we must beat the Bulls on their own turf if we are to build on that momentum. We play Western Province in two weeks’ time in Kimberley and will need all the momentum we can manage against last year’s Currie Cup champions.”

Last time the two sides met in the Currie Cup, Griquas were in rampant form as they dismantled the Bulls 49-34 in Kimberley.

In their opening match of the 2012 season, the Bulls had the better of the Northern Cape outfit with a 35-20 victory.

Pienaar said he expected a physical battle upfront, and his charges needed to man up against a side that relish these kinds of tussles.

“We are playing Griquas and they had an amazing win over the Sharks away and we know it is going to be a tough one,” Pienaar said.

“The thing about the Griquas under Pote is they have a pack of forwards that puts you under pressure.

“They are a direct team and they will be physical, they drive and scrum well and they put the Sharks under pressure with the pick-and-goes around the rucks.”

Griquas could set themselves up nicely for the rest of the season with their second away victory, while the Bulls know that it is even more important to win their home matches to be among the leading teams ahead of the latter stages of the competition.

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