Breakdown battle beckons

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pote Human identifies the opposition’s back row as the greatest threat in Saturday’s game in Pretoria.

The new coach said on Wednesday that his team would be ready for the likes of Luke Watson, Justin Melck and Schalk Brits at the breakdown, and will be looking to cut down on the turnovers.

“We know guys such as Luke and Schalk are dangerous on the ground, but I believe we are well prepared,” Human said.

The style between the two teams differ greatly, especially in the back row. The Bulls don’t play a specialised fetcher, but Tim Dlulane does add some extra intensity to the pack.

“Tim will want to play his natural game without getting involved in a war of words about who the best fetcher is,” said Human. “He is, in any case, a different kind of player and won’t want to compete with Luke.”

In the past few encounters, the Bulls have demolished the Vodacom Western Province pack. But Human is aware of how well the tight five of the Cape side has been playing lately.

“Province will produce a big onslaught. We know that. They have skilful fetchers, their tight five are much better now and Robbie Diack, Francois van der Merwe and Gerrie Britz are all good ball carriers.”

Human has also instigated a change on the wing by bringing in John Mametsa to cancel out the pace that Province possess out wide. “They try to play the old WP-type running rugby. We will have to watch players such as Gio Aplon and Joe Pietersen.”

Mametsa replaces Trompie Nontshinga and Hottie Louw, Hilton Lobberts and Riaan van der Bergh find themselves in the home team’s squad of 22 for the first time this season.

Blue Bulls: 15- Stefan Basson, 14- John Mametsa, 13- JP Nel, 12- Frikkie Welsh (c), 11- Marius Delport, 10- Morné Steyn, 9- Heini Adams, 8- Pedrie Wannenburg, 7- Tim Dlulane, 6- Johan Wasserman, 5- Francois van Schouwenburg, 4- Adriaan Fondse, 3- Rayno Gerber, 2- Gary Botha, 1-Wessel Roux.Substitutes: 16- Kobus van der Walt, 17- Jaco Engels, 18- Hottie Louw, 19- Hilton Lobberts, 20- Neil Powell, 21- Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22- Riaan van der Bergh.