Despite a narrow loss against the Leopards in their Currie Cup First Division clash over the past weekend, the Border Bulldogs have made a dramatic turnaround in form over the last two weeks.
Three losses in a row, two coming at home including a 40-3 humbling at the hands of the Boland Kavaliers, saw the Bulldogs in danger of propping up the table.
However, a solid 40-24 win over the Eastern Province Kings and then a great effort against the Leopards, who comfortably beat the Kavaliers themselves, saw the Bulldogs just edged out by four points.
With qualification for the semifinals still a mathematical possibility, but highly unlikely, the Bulldogs will be playing mainly for pride over their final two matches of the season.
“I think that the EP match was a turning point for us. I think the guys took pleasure from that game and it is a pity that we couldn’t go on and beat the Leopards, but I am sure that the guys are all committed to the cause now,” Bulldogs coach David Dobela said.
“We had really struggled with the loss of our key players before the Currie Cup started – the first few matches were tough and the Boland game was a low point, but now we are on the right track.
“The guys are starting to show up now – they know the guys who we have lost to won’t be coming back and they are starting to take ownership of their positions now.”
The Bulldogs will be gearing up this week to take on the Windhoek Draft Welwitschias at the BCM Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Welwitschias are just two points ahead of the Bulldogs, third from bottom of the log, and they will be eager to keep themselves ahead.
However, with home-ground advantage and a seemingly improved team culture, the Bulldogs will be backing themselves to pick up their second win of the competition.
They will, however, need to keep doing the basics right as they have in the last two games and keep up the intensity on both attack and defence.
“It is going to be a good game, the boys played very well against the Leopards, so I believe we will be ready for the Welwitschias,” said Dobela.
“I think over this week we just need to work on our patience and organisation of our structure and also re-emphasise our set-piece work because if we can dominate the set-pieces we can win.”
Following the Welwitschias game, the Bulldogs will take on the defending champions and in-form Down Touch Griffons team.
The Griffons currently top the First Division log and are in a good position to defend their title. However, they take on second-on-the-log Leopards on Friday afternoon and their log places could be changed after that match.
Despite that result, the Bulldogs should get a good indication of how far they have come when they take on the Griffons in Welkom in what will most likely be their final match of the season and they will be looking to finish off with a bang.