Border in dress-rehearsal for the real battles ahead

The Border Bulldogs will be in action this afternoon as they play their final warmup match ahead of the Currie Cup First Division competition, which kicks off across the country next weekend.

TENSION: Border Bulldogs players in action against the EP Kings earlier this season. The Bulldogs will be playing the Kings U21 team in a warmup game this afternoon

The Bulldogs will be taking on the Eastern Province Kings U21 team and they will be looking to give as many of their players a runout as possible.

“I just want to see our systems at work. The guys just need to execute the game plan and play as a unit and as a team,” explained Bulldogs coach David Dobela.

“It is a warmup match, so we don’t need to go all out.

“I will be playing a full squad of 26 players throughout the day, giving each player a runout and some time on the pitch to get accustomed to our strategies.

“I just want everyone to express themselves to the system that we have put out.”

The Bulldogs have been hard at work since they were ejected from the SuperSport Rugby Challenge competition in the group stages, and the team is looking forward to getting back into competitive rugby.

“The pre-season has been going very well. Preparations have been going to plan and I am hoping the extra time we have had with the players will work in our favour,” said Dobela.

“We had a runout against the Free State Cheetahs last week and beat them 34-14. It was a good game and the guys were looking sharp and hungry, which was good to see.”

The team will, however, have to do without a couple of senior players again, including influential flyhalf Oliver Zono, who has been called up to the EP Kings Pro14 team.

“We have lost a number of players, with a couple going to the Kings, so that was a blow, but I am happy with the players that we have and feel that they can step up and fill those spots, while we will also be looking at adding one or two squad members to the extended squad,” said Dobela.

Following today’s match the Bulldogs will then have a week of training left before they open their First Division campaign with a home match against the Valke.

The team will be working hard on a couple of things to make sure that they are fine-tuned and fully ready for their assault on this year’s First Division.

“We will be working very hard on the mental side of the game over the next week.

“The guys need to make sure their mental toughness is at peak and that their heads are in the right place before the start of the competition,” said Dobela.

“We have also worked very hard on our conditioning and the guys have come to the party, which is great to see, and there are just one or two more things we need to tweak before the first game.”

The match between the Bulldogs and Kings U21 team kicks off at the BCM Stadium at 2pm today.

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