Preview: Blue Bulls v EP Kings

Date published: August 18 2016

The Bulls will need to produced a vastly improved performance when they take on the Kings in Pretoria on Friday. 

The Kings and the Bulls have both had poor starts to their Currie Cup campaigns. The Kings were greeted with a 28-10 drubbing in Port Elizabeth which sees the Kings go into round three of the Currie Cup with zero points on the overall table. 

The Bulls won their first game of the season when they thumped Western Province 45-26 at Loftus but couldn't keep the momentum going when they travelled to Bloemfontein as the Cheetahs ran the Pretoria men ragged to the tune of 43-20.

The Bulls will be still be considered one of the favourites to win the competition as they lost very few players to the Springbok camp but will need a serious change of tempo from last weekend. 

Bulls coach Nollis Marais believes that their loss against the Cheetahs came from too many mistakes at vital in points of the game. 

"We certainly had a dip in standards last week," he said.

"We are playing at home again and that brings an edge to any Blue Bulls player, but we also have to be more consistent than last week. Soft moments certainly cost us in Bloemfontein. It went well in training, so we are keen to get back on the winning horse again." 

Despite the Kings most recent drubbing Marais in not underestimating the Port Elizabeth outfit. 

"We have a certain way we want to play against the EP Kings and named a team accordingly," he added.

"They are unpredictable as a team, so we will have to be sharp and focussed. And expect the unexpected. We will, however, make sure we play the way we want to play and execute well, rather than dwell too much on how the opposition will play." 

The last time these teams met: The EP Kings claimed a 19-14  win over the Bulls at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with Garrick Mattheus's boot being the saviour for his side after kicking over four penalties. The Kings scored first when Mattheus nabbed his sides' first penalty. The Bulls were the first to score a five-pointer when flyhalf Joshua Stander broke the Kings line and dived under the posts. The Kings gained the lead back when loose-head prop Liam Hendricks scored the Kings first try. Dean Greyling then was able to bust through a strong Kings defence to close the deficit but not enough to pip the home side.

Team news: RG Snyman comes back into the side after being and replaces the recently crocked Jason Jenkins after the young second-row injured his knee last weekend. Star loose-head prop Lizo Gqoboka starts in the one jersey ahead of Pierre Schoeman, who drops to the bench. There is only one change in the back line with Duncan Matthews starting at full-back in place of Ulrich Beyers. On the bench, Jacobie Adriaanse could get his debut for the Blue Bulls, whilst Irne Herbst will provide cover for second-row from the bench.

More to follow…

Prediction: The Bulls should put away the Kings quite easily on Friday. Bulls by 20. 

The Teams: Blue Bulls: 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Burger Odendaal, 12 an Kriel, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Edgar Maruthlulle, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Irne Herbst, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Joshua Stander

Kings: 15 Johan Tromp, 14 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 13 Burton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Ricky Schroeder (c), 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Sebastian Ferreira, 6 Vince Jobo, 5 David Antonites, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Vukile Sofisa, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Justin Forwood 
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Barend Potgieter, 18 Ettienne Oosthuizen, 19 Luke van der Smit, 20 Jacques Fick, 21 Minenhle Mthethwa, 22 Lungelo Goza

Date: Friday, August 19
Venue: Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19:20 local (17:20 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Ruhan Meiring
TMO: Johan Greeff