The Stormers will face off against the Bulls in the quarterfinals of the United Rugby Championship in two weeks. In the interim, Western Province is up against the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup this coming Saturday.
The famous North/South showdown in South African rugby will be expanded to a saga over two weeks and only serves to up the intensity between the two sides.
The matches in the coming two weeks pitting Cape Town against Pretoria in both the Currie Cup and the United Rugby Championship will be pivotal in determining the fortunes of the respective sides.
The Stormers, the defending URC champions, will host the Bulls in a knockout match, which stops the losing side dead in their tracks, while in the Currie Cup, both Western Province and the Blue Bulls need a win to get their seasons back on track.
“Any north south derby is a quite a emotional affair everyone wants to prove a point so for us it is nice to play back-to-back games, but we are purely focused on this coming Saturday’s game for the Currie cup we had a good session today and we are just building to Saturday,” Norman Laker, Western Province defence coach.
Both the Stormers and the Bulls have the same coaching set-up, by and large, for both competitions, Saturday’s Currie Cup match is certainly a precursor to the URC quarter-final in two weeks’ time.
“The Bulls I think they are quite aligned when it comes to Currie cup and URC team and both the teams are being coached by Jake so they are a well-coached team and they do have a lot of similarities in the way they play but I do think it will be a nice and tough game,” Laker explains.
In terms of squads, the Stormers have a few injury concerns, and that could present an opportunity for a player from the Currie Cup side to step up if needed.
“Anyone can be called upon to perform in whatever jersey whether it be for the Stormers or Western province so if I find myself in a playoff game, I firmly believe I will be up to the job and I will do it well,” says Cornel Smit, Western Province center.
The Bulls will be playing in Cape Town both weekends, that’s a huge boost for the Cape side, and they aim to use that home-ground advantage for all it’s worth.
“Love playing at DHL stadium one of my favourite stadiums in the world and you know it is in front of the fans in front of the faithful, your friends and family. So, it is always lovely to play at home,” Smit elaborates.
And so begins two weeks of intensity for the old foes in the North/South rivalry, for supporters, that’s a fortnight of high-quality rugby to look forward to.
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com