The Border Bulldogs leave East London Friday full of hope ahead of their Currie Cup first division match against the Griffons in Welkom.
With four matches remaining the Bulldogs, who are fifth on the log and two points below the fourth-placed Pumas, still entertain thoughts of making the semi-final cut.
Unfortunately though the Bulldogs will be without their former captain and playmaker, fullback Russell Jeacocks, who has a hairline fracture of the thumb.
Also missing is hard-running centre Thabo Ratyana who is ill and replaced by Jovan Bowles – no stranger to the centre position.
The good news though is that the tight five remains the same and that captain and flank Solly Tyibilika has recovered from flu.
Other news is that the Bulldogs have secured the services of Stanley Raubenheimer, the Eastern Cape franchise coach, who is now the team’s technical advisor.
In their last match prior to the recent break, the Bulldogs went down 53-23 to log leaders the Leopards but before that earned their second win in beating the Mighty Elephants – the match celebrating prop Black Mtimka’s 100th cap.
The Griffons, who will be playing veteran Kennedy Tsimba at flyhalf, are no push-overs this season and will also be desperate for a win as they too seek a semi-final berth.
If the Bulldogs are to win this one they will have to look after their possession far better than in the past and round off what they start as all too often promising backline moves have broken down.
There will be a delayed screening of the match on Supersport 1 at 4.15pm.
Phiwe Nomlomo, Bongani Matutu, Jeffry Tal jaard, Jovan Bowles, Ziniko Dumaphi, Tembani Mkokeli, Yongama Mkaza, Lyndon Hartnick, Shaun Raubenheimer, Solly Tyibilika (capt), Andries Kruger, Nomani Tonga, Black Mtimka, Greg van Jaarsveld, Patrick Mulumba.
Replacements: Siya Mxunyelwa, Buhle Mxunyelwa, Luke Beling, Dumisani Meslani, Sokhana Mkona, Marvin Pringle, Sam Willard.
Sapa – CurrieCupRugby.com