Preview: WP v Blue Bulls

Date published: October 17 2014

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There will be plenty of pressure when Western Province host the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands on Saturday.

There will be plenty of pressure when Western Province host the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands on Saturday.

The home side head into this clash as overwhelming favourites after another stellar campaign during the league phase of the competition.

The men from the Cape finished at the top of the standings with 39 points from 10 matches while the Bulls trailed them by 11 points.

WP also won both league fixtures – 23-18 in Pretoria and 41-17 in Cape Town – between these teams but their coach Allister Coetzee is not underestimating his opponents.

“Forget any previous results or encounters,” he said.

“Play-offs are a different beast altogether and we won’t be looking back, but rather looking ahead and focusing on our own processes and implementation thereof.”

Despite a poor start to the season, the Bulls have hit their straps at the right time and are currently on a three-match winning streak after victories over Griquas, the Pumas and the Free State Cheetahs.

Their forwards were dominant in all three those matches which has resulted in WP bolstering their pack for this clash by naming Rynhardt Elstadt in the back row.

“When deciding on Rynhardt we knew a game against the Bulls will be a physical battle and then we also looked at the way we want to play,” Coetzee said.

“This is the best possible team that we can field in terms of what is coming our way on Saturday.”

Coetzee said the Bulls traded heavily on driving mauls and Elstadt would be instrumental in countering the threat.

“We have to respect what opposition teams bring to the party and the Bulls have over the years pride themselves on mauls,” he added.

“Our work will be cut out to stop driving mauls and Rynhardt knows what it is to play like a number four lock.

“He plays towards the ball, and his job is also help secure quicker ball.”

Elstadt forms a potent back row with Michael Rhodes and Nizaam Carr who have both been in superb form this season but it is in the backs where WP’s strengths are.

After fielding an experimental side against the Sharks last weekend Coetzee has brought back most of his first-choice players with captain and centre Juan de Jongh leading excting attacking options like Cheslin Kolbe, Seabelo Senatla and Kobus van Wyk.

The Bulls have included Springbok fly-half Handr

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