Bulls look to Currie Cup for inspiration

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 07:20

REACTION: The Bulls recorded their worst-ever Super Rugby campaign since finishing rock bottom of the Super 12 table in 2002, after losing their eleventh game of the season 33-41 to the Stormers at Loftus in Pretoria on Saturday.

The result meant that the three-time Super Rugby champions finished their 2017 Super Rugby campaign in fourteenth place on the combined table, with 20 points from 15 matches played, which includes four wins and 11 defeats.

The Bulls do not have much time to analyse their 2017 Super Rugby campaign as they head straight into South Africa’s premier domestic and oldest rugby tournament- the Currie Cup, opening their campaign with a clash against the Griquas in Kimberley on Friday.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the Bulls' first game of the 2017 Currie Cup, Bulls coach Nollis Marais drew positives from the depth, which his team managed to build throughout their Super Rugby campaign and he commented that players such as wing Duncan Matthews will be of massive importance to the Bulls Currie Cup hopes.

"I think a guy like Duncan Matthews, he's going to be a factor for us in the Currie Cup. He's been playing well...and he likes doing things, but he is a coachable guy. He is still young and he is a good rugby player," Marais said.

Nollis Marais Bulls media 2017 800

Marais further explained that he will give new talent and younger players such as scrumhalves Ivan van Zyl and André Warner an opportunity to show what they are capable of in the famous blue jersey. 

"I think André Warner and Ivan van Zyl will most probably play a lot of rugby during the Currie Cup. I am going to give the youngsters a chance during the Currie Cup.

"I think they [scrumhalves] are also playing well," commented Marais.

Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss will not play for the Bulls during the 2017 Currie Cup. However, he will be returning to Loftus to play Super Rugby in 2018.

Strauss insisted that the Bulls will be looking to bounce back from their dismal Super Rugby campaign with much-improved performances in the upcoming Currie Cup.

"I think this Currie Cup will be a very important Currie Cup for us to get confidence up again, to settle in as a team and the way we want to play. I'm still very positive. 

"There's a lot of talent in the union and it's how we going to fight back now," commented Strauss. 

The Bulls made it all the way to the 2016 Currie Cup Final where they were outscored by two tries to one, en route to a 16-36 defeat against the Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

The last time the Bulls and the Griquas played each other was during the 2016 Currie Cup round robin stage and on that occasion, the Bulls outscored the Griquas by eight tries to two, en route to a 57-20 victory in Pretoria.

By Josh Isaacson

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Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26