Bulldogs all pumped up
Skipper says wounded side must rise to the occasion against Boland
Border Bulldogs captain Billy Dutton believes the team can only get better after a dismal performance this past weekend.
Despite a good start to their SuperSport Rugby Challenge campaign, the team took a step back when they were dismantled 52-0 by the Boland Cavaliers.
The Bulldogs started off with a confident 41-16 victory over the Zimbabwe Academy and followed that up with a competitive showing against Western Province despite going down 48-24.
That gave the team a lot of confidence heading into the Cavaliers match but was then comprehensively beaten as they struggled to keep up with the pace of the game.
“We can only get better. It has not been an easy start to the campaign, but in terms of our consistency, we have to be consistent and take accountability for what we do,” said Dutton.
“At the end of the day, it is up to the players to put their best foot forward going into every game and then just build from there.
“This whole SuperSport Challenge came at us at a rapid pace. It was very short notice for us to get ready for it and we just have to keep improving game by game.”
The Bulldogs now shift their focus to the coming weekend’s encounter against the EP Elephants at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, where they will hope to bounce back with a strong performance. They are set to line up against a strong Elephants side.
Players like Mihlali Mpafi, Lindokuhle Welemu, Oliver Zono, Ntabeni Dukisa and Mike Makase are all former Bulldogs regulars, so it will add a bit extra to the match.
“We did have a good run out against Zimbabwe and a good showing against Province. It is just that we have to be consistent in what we are doing, in terms of our game plan and our game management, so this weekend we need return to what we did well and have another good game,” said Dutton.
“We have ironed out what we need to do and are just working on those processes. It is the things we can control that are actually letting us down, so we are just working towards the processes in how we want to execute this weekend’s game.
“Obviously we are playing some Pro 14 rugby players in that team, so we have to be really smart about the way we approach things on Sunday.
“There is a lot of banter going on on social media, so we are really looking forward to coming up against those guys and it is going to be a really good game.”
This weekend’s match is also the start of a tough stint of four away games in a row for the Bulldogs and they will have to be at their very best in all of the matches if they want to stand any chance of getting a win.
“We always knew when the fixtures came, that we would be playing our last four pool games away from home, so we tried to put our best foot forward in our home games,” said Dutton.
“But I feel that going forward it will be a bit better for us playing away because the team comes together nicely when we are on the road, we don't have any of our home distractions.
“We are starting with EP this weekend and then we will just take it from there. We definitely believe we can beat them.
“It is also nice that we have named one of our most experienced teams for this weekend which puts us in really good stead.”
The Elephants and Bulldogs get down to business at 3pm on Sunday...