Border face stiff WP test
After a big win over Zim, the Bulldogs will look to keep up their momentum
The Border Bulldogs are gearing up to face a stiff test in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge when they take on tournament powerhouse Western Province this coming weekend.
Western Province won the inaugural competition in 2017 and were surprisingly knocked out in the quarterfinals last year.
Another run into the knockouts looks to be on the cards after they hammered Boland 62-7 in their competition opener over the past weekend.
The Bulldogs themselves got off to a dream start with a 41-16 win over the Zimbabwe Academy. However, they are a young side playing in this competition for the first time, so Western Province will be a much better test of where they match up against the top sides in the tournament.
“I think the guys are excited for the challenge. Most of them have played against Western Province, so they know what is coming, and they will be motivated from this past weekend’s win,” said Bulldogs coach Tiger Mangweni.
“We can only build from that. I believe we can pick up a few more wins along the road, but I am not sure when that will be.
“Every game we will go in wanting to win, but we know that with the situation we are in, it will be very difficult. We just have to keep working hard while giving it our all in every game.”
One of the difficulties the Bulldogs have to work through is their training schedule.
None of the players are contracted yet and they have to work around the schedules of students and other players who work, which leaves limited training time.
“Because we have quite a few students in the team from Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu, and a lot of our other players are working, we are only able to train at five in the afternoon on certain days,” said Mangweni.
“It is quite difficult. With contracted players you are able to focus fully on rugby, and we are not able to do that. But that is the situation we are in at the moment and we just have to deal with it.
“We have to put as much as we can into the hour and a half or two hours of training we have in the afternoons, and hopefully that will be enough for now.
“Things we are working on this week are things we struggled with in the first game, like our kick-off receiving, our lineouts, making correct decisions and our man marking, because we can't make mistakes on defence against WP as they will punish us.”
This weekend will also see an exciting change to the Bulldogs’ regular playing schedule as their home games will be linking up with club matches going forward.
They will thus play their match against Western Province at Old Selbornians this weekend at 4pm, with the host club, Old Boys, taking on Police in their Border Super League opener as the curtain-raiser to that match...