Currie Cup

Province looking to run Bulls ragged

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In recent years the Blue Bulls have been far and away the most successful Currie Cup team but that will count for nothing when they come up against the in-form Western Province side in a second-round Currie Cup clash at Newlands on Saturday.

The record shows that in the last seven seasons the Bulls have lifted the trophy three times (2002-2004) and have also been runners-up three times (2005, 2006 and 2008), and in the past four seasons Province have won only twice in seven outings in North-South Currie Cup derbies.

And, of course, the Bulls’ Super 14 outfit have secured the Southern Hemisphere title twice in the past three seasons.

Province coach Allister Coetzee will not mention to his side their poor recent record against the Bulls as he insists that history will not play a part in Saturday’s clash.

“We are living in the now and have to focus on what we as a side need to do at this stage of the competition,’ said Coetzee.

“We know what’s coming our way and we have to be up with our ‘A’ game.

“It’s not (about) what they are bringing, it’s (about) what we want to do. “We are playing at Newlands and we are leading the log, so it’s massively important for us to maintain and build on a great victory (against the Sharks).

“We’ve prepared really well and there’s lot of confidence in the team.”
 
Province deviated somewhat from their usual stereotyped kicking game against the Sharks last week and more of the same can be expected against the Bulls this week, even though conditions may be wet.

“Don’t be surprised if we do have a go and stretch the ball across the field on Saturday,” said Coetzee.

“We’ve been trying to have that approach.” Coetzee will look for his charges to build on their performance against the Sharks.

“We’ve also displayed a lot more patience with ball in hand,” he said.

“It’s a great sign of progress, and the development in our decision-making has been good to see.

“That’s what I mean when I talk about patience. Sometimes you need to take the ball through one more phase before you throw it wide.

“If you look at the teams we beat this year you’ll find that we kicked more against them, and the teams we lost against, we kicked less.

“When the kicking game doesn’t work, it’s got nothing to do with the system, it’s got to do with the execution of the kick.

“Once you put the guy under pressure with the kick, you’ve got a 50% chance of isolating and turning the ball over, and then you score.

“If you look at the Boks, do you say they have a bad kicking game? No, they have a great kicking game. You look a good attacking side once you put pressure on the kick-receivers.

“The balance between kicking and running is about making better decisions.
 
“As we know, and you can ask the All Blacks , if you want to run from everywhere on the field, you’ll come short.”

The Bulls will arrive in the Mother City determined to regroup after their mauling at the hands of the Lions last week.

They’ll be up against a side that will be keen to run them ragged whenever the opportunity presents itself as Province will be fired-up by their new-found belief.

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