The leadership of Ollie le Roux and Gary Botha will be decisive factors in their teams surge for the Absa Currie Cup title, says CornÃ© Krige.
The former Springbok, Stormers and Vodacom Western Province captain was adamant that Le Roux and Botha’s influence on and off the field would be vital to instilling a sense of self confidence in the respective teams.
Krige was at the helm of the 2000 and 2001 Currie Cup winning Western Province sides and provided insight into the duties of both men.
“In the lead up to this game their duty will be to make sure the team understands the strategy and are able to execute it perfectly,” he explained to Keo.co.za. “They will make sure that everyone is focussed and that there is a collective commitment to winning the trophy, while at the same time keeping the team calm and relaxed.”
Krige also said that on matchday the role of the two captains would differ greatly.
“A lot of the Cheetahs tactics will be relayed controlled from the roof,” he said, referring to Rassie Erasmus’ perched on the roof of Vodacom Park. “Ollie will make general decisions and his job will be to be hard on refereeing errors without being too critical so that he turns against you, but from a tactical point of view his influence will be limited.
“Gary, on the other hand, will make a lot of his own decisions on the field and he’ll have to be sharp in terms of making the right choices at the right time. Because of the conservative nature of most finals I suspect that he will utilise the goalkicking ability of Derick Hougaard whenever they get an opportunity to get three points.”
Both Le Roux and Botha have been in superb form this season and their continued form will have to continue into the showpiece match according to Krige.
“They will have to set the example and lead from the front in terms of their performance. Because both of them are frontrankers they are particularly susceptible to being dominated by their direct opponent, and if that happens it filters through to the rest of the team.
“I’m fascinated to see who wins the loose forward battle,” he said when asked what facet of play he thought would be key. “The Bulls have selected a big, bulky loose trio in what is surely an effort to counter the speedy Cheetahs back row. Whoever dominates the breakdown will win the much.”
He did not hesitate to offer a prediction of a Cheetahs victory, citing home ground advantage and an innovative coach as the factors that would see the trophy remain in Bloemfontein.
“Vodacom Park is an extremely difficult place to go and win at. The crowd really gets behind the Cheetahs and when they get any sort of momentum they are very difficult to stop.
“Rassie is a very, very shrewd coach and if his players can execute the plans he has set in place I can’t see the Bulls having any answer to them.”
By Ryan Vrede