The wait is almost over for what is expected to be an intense Carling Currie Cup battle between the Vodacom Bulls and Airlink Pumas at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
The match will be a crucial one for the Vodacom Bulls who will want to preserve a spot at the top of the log going into the crucial round robin finale against the in-form and unbeaten Toyota Cheetahs in a fortnight. The Airlink Pumas, on the other hand, will want to safeguard their reputation as giant-killers in the domestic competition.
The Vodacom Bulls will be hoping to expand on their performance from their previous Carling Currie Cup fixture where they managed to secure an impressive win over the Sigma Lions at Fortress Loftus.
“We will carry a bit of confidence into this game. The Sigma Lions brought a quality side and we manned up against them, and it really went well,” said Vodacom Bulls loose-forward, Muller Uys, ahead of the game.
“So, with that said, I think we have a lot of responsibility in terms of backing that performance up against the Pumas this week.”
Uys, who will earn a starting berth at No8, indicated that they expect a huge battle upfront with the Airlink Pumas almost certain to target dominance in the set pieces.
“The Airlink Pumas are always a difficult one. They bring a massive set piece battle, and we will need to front up to that. They are always up for this game, it’s always a big one,” said the burly No8.
“At this stage there is no easy game. The Pumas are quality side and whatever they bring, we will have to counter.
“They will bring everything they have, but also, we are going to throw everything because we are also desperate for the win. This is an almost must-win game for us to put us in a good position to get a home final and being on top of the log.
“They are going to bring everything; we will also bring it all. At the end of the day, it will be about who wants it the most. So, it’s going to be a nice battle.”
The match kicks off at 19h00 and it will be televised on SuperSport.
The Vodacom Bulls team is:
STARTERS (15-1): James Verity-Amm (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), David Kriel (Tuine), Stedman Gans (Northam Rhinos), Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria), Richard Kriel (Tuine), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Embrose Papier (UP Tuks); Muller Uys (UP Tuks), Reinhardt Ludwig (UP Tuks), WJ Steenkamp (Tuine), Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), Ruan Vermaak (Harlequin), Robert Hunt (Harlequin), Bismarck du Plessis (Betway Centurion), Lizo Gqoboka (ABE Midas Naka Bulle, CAPT).
IMPACT (16-23): Sidney Tobias (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Francois Kloppers (UP Tuks), Raynard Roets (UP Tuks), Stephan Smit (UP Tuks), Keagan Johannes (UP Tuks), Juan Mostert (Harlequin), Tharquinn Manuel (UP Tuks).