Province under pressure

The Lions and Border Bulldogs get their first taste of Vodacom Cup action this weekend, with the Lions facing a tough opening match against Western Province at Newlands on Saturday. Michael Vlismas reports.

Province will be looking to make amends following their shock 26-17 defeat to the Mighty Elephants last week, while the Lions will want to get their 2006 campaign off to a winning start.

According to Province coach Stanley Raubenheimer, his side never underestimated the Elephants last Saturday in Port Elizabeth. “It was just a matter of game time together that counted against us,” he said.

Raubenheimer expects a big onslaught from the Lions in their first match.

“This week we want to atone for the defeat to the Elephants. We want to correct the mistakes,â€? said the coach.

The Bulldogs play their first match of the competition against the Griffons, coming off a narrow 22-28 defeat at the hands of the Falcons last weekend, at the North West Stadium.

In the weekend’s other matches, the Boland Cavaliers will look to continue their fine form against the Pumas on Friday following their crushing 40-19 win over defending champions the Wildeklawer Griquas last weekend.

The Pumas are also full of confidence seeing off a tough Leopards side 44-25 last weekend – thanks largely to a brilliant display of place kicking from flyhalf Casper Steyn.

The weekend’s other big match sees the Blue Bulls take on a fired up Wildebeest side at the Absa Stadium on Saturday.

The Wildebeest hardly broke a sweat in their 51-9 demolition of the Eagles last weekend, while the Bulls put in an impressive performance in Bloemfontein overcoming a tough Vodacom Cheetahs side 36-8.

Griquas travel to Port Elizabeth where they play the Mighty Elephants at the EPRFU Stadium on Friday, and the defending champions will look to get their campaign back on track with a win.

Saturday’s remaining match sees the SWD Eagles play the Falcons at Outeniqua Park. The Eagles will need to put in a much-improved performance if they have any hope of reaching the knock-out stages of the competition.