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Bulls coach Mitchell says Currie Cup will go to ‘most extraordinary team’

17 October 2017 - 13:54 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Pine Pienaar and John Mitchel of the Blue Bulls during the Currie Cup match between Vodacom Blue Bulls and Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld on August 18, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Pine Pienaar and John Mitchel of the Blue Bulls during the Currie Cup match between Vodacom Blue Bulls and Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld on August 18, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images

Blue Bulls head coach John Mitchell has said all his team need to do in Saturday’s Currie Cup semifinal against the Sharks at King’s Park is to focus on their own strengths.

Whatever strengths those could be‚ something is clearly functioning well in Pretoria as the Bulls squeezed into the semifinals on the back of two big wins against the Free State Cheetahs and the Pumas.

They were on the receiving end of some harsh rugby lessons against the Sharks in both their round-robin matches but they showed some fight in their 18-5 and 28-20 defeats.

“At the end of the day‚ it’s going to be a race to see who initiates their strengths the better and I guess that’s what the contest will be all about‚” Mitchell said.

“We are two different teams but we know the Currie Cup is not our destination as we will continue to build for the future.

"If we choose to go further as a result of a good performance‚ that’s great but we’re building for the future.

“The Currie Cup would be a by-product of getting our things right but I won’t be drawn into the outcome as much as that’s enjoyable because it can also go the other way.

“We need to continue getting better‚ keep understanding as to why we are getting better and knowing what can make us better.

“At the end of the day‚ the tournament is going to go the most extraordinary team.”

The Sharks have been extraordinary for the better part of this season.

After their first game loss to the now-eliminated Free State Cheetahs‚ they embarked on a 10-match winning streak that was snapped by a desperate Western Province side who were chasing a home semi.

Momentum can be overrated but there is a distinct possibility the Sharks were due a bad game and now that they’ve dispensed with that‚ they could pose a fresh and highly rejuvenated threat with everything to prove after their disastrous second half against Province.

In the process of surrendering a 10-point half-time lead‚ they allowed John Dobson’s side to barrel in 28 points in 16 inexplicable minutes to snatch a rare 31-20 win at King’s Park.

Mitchell is aware the Sharks may be hurt and could want to make an example out of them.

“We’re another step closer now but we’ve drawn the best team in the competition.

"They’ve got the home semifinal for a reason but we need to stick to the processes that we’ve stuck to since Nelspruit‚” Mitchell said.

“The Sharks have probably been in finals mode for the past couple of weeks as a result of knowing where they stand. They’ve got experience and stuff and the Currie Cup is very important to them.

“We’ve worked hard to earn this opportunity the hard way and nothing is going to be different for us.”


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