The Border Bulldogs will be hunting for a good win to kick off their 2017 Currie Cup First Division campaign when they take on the Valke at the Buffalo City Stadium this afternoon.
With a home match first up the Bulldogs will be eager to deliver an exciting performance in front of their fans and get a win.
“We really want to start the tournament with a good result,” said Bulldogs coach David Dobela.
“It is very important to get a win to pick up some momentum going into the rest of the tournament.
“We have worked very hard to prepare for the Currie Cup and the guys are looking forward to getting back onto the field.”
With the team having lost six regulars over the year, with them brought into the Southern Kings squad for the Pro14, it will make it tricky for the team to match their performance last year where they made it to the semifinals of the competition.
“I think we don’t really have a target at the moment, with the key players that have left us.
“We have some new players in the mix and we need to take it one game at a time and see how we do over the first few weeks before we set ourselves a target,” explained Dobela.
A number of the current players have thus been in the expanded squad and on the fringes and they will now have an opportunity to stake their case for a permanent place in the set-up.
“The guys who have been on the fringe in the last year now have a great chance to impress and I have told them if they don’t take their chance we may look to others in the group, so they will need to perform well,” said Dobela.
Last season the Bulldogs were in terrific form and scored a massive 54-29 win over the Valke away from home.
This year however should be a closer encounter and the Bulldogs will need to play to their strengths if they want to come out on top.
“I think they will come with a strong forward game upfront and look to give their backs front foot ball to attack off,” claimed Dobela.
“So I think we will look to throw the ball around, we have a really good attack and it is the Border rugby style to run the ball and we hope to entertain.
“But we will need our forward pack to front up and lay a solid platform for our backs, while our defence has to be on song.”
The Bulldogs will be led into battle today by their dependable captain Blake Kyd, who returns to the captaincy after Siya Mdaka moved to the Kings and he will be supported by inside centre Lunga Dumezweni as his vice.
Other Bulldogs players who should play an important role in the match include tireless lock Johannes Janse van Rensburg, powerful eighthman Sokuphumla Xakalashe, livewire scrumhalf Bangihlombe Kobese and experienced fullback Sonwabiso Mqalo.
The Bulldogs versus Valke match will kick-off at 3pm this afternoon.
The Border Bulldogs team is: Blake Kyd; Mihlali Mpafi, Lwando Mabenge, Hendri Storm, Johannes Janse van Rensburg; Lukhanyo Nomzanga, Billy Dutton; Sokuphumla Xakalashe, Bangihlombe Kobese, Saneliso Ngoma, Lelethu Gcilitshane, Lunga Dumezweni, Siphosethu Tom, Siyasanga Ncanywa, Sonwabiso Mqalo.
Reserves: Ludwe Booi, Yanga Xakalashe, Athenkosi Kethani, Onke Dubase, Sinovuyo Nyoka, Lundi Ralarala, Xolela Xolela.