Marais wants no reason to be furious again when Bulls meet improved WP in semis

14 October 2016 - 15:44 By Chumani Bambani

The last time the Blue Bulls and Western Province met in a Currie Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld‚ despite the home side claiming victory by 19 points‚ hard-to-please coach Nollis Marais was left unimpressed. In that opening-round match of the North versus South derby‚ the Bulls had dominated the match for the most part of the game until a lapse saw their Cape rivals fighting back to score three tries in the last 15 minutes. But the Pretoria side had done enough to ensure that they ran away with a 45-26 victory.It is the relaxing of their guard in the latter stages of that game in August that worries the Bulls coach as his side gear up to face Province in the semifinal of the Currie Cup in Pretoria on Saturday (6pm kickoff).“After our last match here against Western Province I was quite furious. People asked me that they can’t understand how we can score 45 points and still be mad. I wasn’t happy with that game‚” Marais pointed out.“From the 67th minute they scored three tries. That was not acceptable to me. I showed them the whole week what happens when you do that. I showed them clips from last year what happens when you underestimate [your opponents].”WP did not have a good start to the season‚ which saw them only claim a place in the top four positions on the log in the last round-robin matches of the competition to earn a playoff berth.While the Bulls have grown from the side who were beaten 18-23 in last year’s semi by the Cape side‚ Province has also made some strides since the beating they received at Loftus two months ago.WP coach John Dobson will be happy to have influential centre Juan de Jongh and hooker Bongi Mbonambi back in his side from national duty to boost his side in the crucial encounter.“They are a good side. Juan de Jongh and everybody is back. It is not the same side that we played in the first round‚” Marais stressed about his opponents.“They are a side that has been under pressure all season‚ so they will be a dangerous side. If we give them set pieces to work from‚ they will be very dangerous.“Our side is motivated. I wasn’t happy after that first game against Province. I knew there would be problems coming our side. The Cheetahs exploited those the following week‚ and the Kings almost exploited us. We were in disbelief at how good we thought we were after beating them (EP) with 45 points.“Since then we have grown and become better. When we played the Lions you could see that there was a difference from our previous games.”While pundits may tip the Bulls‚ based on form this season‚ to barge into the final‚ history will favour the WP side who are aiming to feature in their fifth consecutive Currie Cup final.The Bulls‚ on the other hand‚ have had a seven-year trophy drought on the domestic scene and have their sights firmly on their first finals berth and trophy since their 2009 Currie Cup success.The teams are:Bulls: Ulrich Beyers‚ Travis Ismaiel‚ Dries Swanepoel‚ Burger Odendaal‚ Jamba Ulengo‚ Tian Schoeman‚ Rudy Paige‚ Arno Botha‚ Jannes Kirsten‚ Roelof Smit‚ Marvin Orie‚ RG Snyman‚ Jacobie Adriaanse‚ Jaco Visagie‚ Lizo Gqoboka.Replacements: Bandise Maku‚ Martin Dreyer‚ Jason Jenkins‚ Hanro Liebenberg‚ Ivan van Zyl‚ Josh Stander‚ Bjorn Basson/Nic de Jager‚ Pierre Schoeman.WP: Cheslin Kolbe‚ Werner Kok‚ Juan de Jongh‚ Huw Jones‚ Leolin Zas‚ Robert du Preez‚ Dewaldt Duvenage‚ Nizaam Carr‚ Kobus van Dyk‚ Rynhardt Elstadt‚ Chris van Zyl‚ Jan de Klerk‚ Wilco Louw‚ Bongi Mbonambi‚ JC Janse van Rensburg.Replacements: Mike Willemse‚ Alistair Vermaak‚ JP Smith‚ JD Schickerling‚ Stefan Willemse‚ Jano Vermaak‚ Johnny Kotze‚ Scott van Breda. - TMG Sport

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