Long-standing friendships will be put aside for 80 minutes when the Vodacom Bulls take on DHL Western Province in the Carling Currie Cup semi-final on Friday.
The Tshwane-based side will be hosting their Cape counterparts at Loftus Versfeld where they will be keen to reach a consecutive final berth in the domestic championship.
Experienced Vodacom Bulls back, Cornal Hendricks, is expected to be one of the key figures whom director of rugby, Jake White, will be pinning his hopes of leading the pack from the front in the North versus South derby.
The Wellington-born Hendricks, who has a few friends and “homeboys” in the opposition team, is keen to rekindle the rivalry during the 80 minutes of play before rejuvenating friendships after.
“Juan de Jongh and Godlen Masimla [of DHL Western Province] both come from Wellington as well, but they need to know that there is only one King of Wellington – it’s me,” Hendricks joked in some pre-match banter.
The 33-year-old Springbok back was an instrumental figure in the Vodacom Bulls’ success last season, and he will be one of the players who will know exactly what to expect in the playoff stages of the competition.
“DHL Western Province have a good and exciting backline, and we will need to give them credit for their performance last week (a 35-24 win against the Cell C Sharks),” said Hendricks.
“A guy like Juan is back to add some experience to an exciting group of players. So, we have been preparing for a great competitive game from them this weekend.”
Hendricks added that the team is excited for the challenge that lies ahead, and they have been adequately preparing for the important clash on all fronts. He further expressed the honour of having an opportunity to play the knockout game at home, Loftus Verfeld.
“Home is home,” he said.
“We will be playing at Loftus, so come rain or sunshine, it does not matter. We, as a team, will need to adapt to whatever comes our way, and we will take it as it is.
“We are well-prepared and really looking forward to the weekend.”
The match will kick-off at 19h00 on Friday, and it will be televised on SuperSport.