Blue Bulls aim for Puma pain
Blue Bulls loose forward Jano Venter is under no illusions as to the threat the Pumas pose in the Currie Cup.
The sides meet on Friday at Loftus Versfeld on the back of contrasting results.
The Pumas were thrashed by Western Province in their last match two weeks ago while the Blue Bulls found a way to get past the Griquas in Kimberley after nearly contriving to lose a match that looked won.
Venter‚ who played his junior rugby for the Golden Lions before moving up the N1 to Tshwane‚ said teams such as the Griquas and the Pumas cannot be underestimated.
With Friday’s game being the Bulls’ second home fixture in the truncated Currie Cup‚ Venter said they have a duty to bring a smile to the faces of their fans after losing their other home game to the Lions. "Everyone says the Griquas and the Pumas are small unions, but that’s not the case anymore‚" Venter said.
"If you take the average age of those unions‚ they are a lot older than us. It’s very tough to beat the Griquas in an away game and the Pumas are a very tough side. I’ve played against them from Under-19 level and they’re always a tough game. We owe our fans and we owe ourselves a home win.
"We’ve trained so hard‚ which I think is the sad part after the loss against the Lions. Everyone in the team is training hard and I don’t think people see that, and that’s the sad part when we lose."
The Pumas may be hurting but they still remain a dangerous and physical side who have the capacity to surprise when their stars are aligned.
Venter said the Pumas’ physicality did not come as a surprise but the Bulls would need to improve hugely on defence to ensure their good attacking work did not go unrewarded.
While the Blue Bulls have been shipping tries‚ they have been scoring a few of their own.
"We know the Pumas are going to get stuck in upfront and we know as a pack‚ that’s where the battle is going to begin.
"They have some big guys, so we’re going to have to man up and beat them physically‚" Venter said. "With ball in hand we’re very good and our structure with ball in hand is also good. I think we need to sharpen up when we transition from attack to defence‚ but we also need to sharpen up our defence and sort out our tackling."