Bulldogs up against it

Team needs to fire up drastically if they hope to beat the Sharks away

A fired-up Border Bulldogs team are aiming to produce a drastically improved performance when they take on the Sharks in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge match at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs head into the match off two huge defeats — 52-0 against the Boland Cavaliers and 52-3 against the Eastern Province Elephants — and coach Tiger Mangweni claims his charges are ready to turn the corner after those poor showings.
“We worked really hard on the mistakes we made over the past few weekends and the guys are looking good and strong so we are hopeful that they can put in a good performance,” said Mangweni.
“But the only thing I am looking at now is that the team gets better in each and every game, starting with the Sharks.
“This is a good team [Bulldogs] and they are not as bad as their last two games indicate and I want them to now show that over the next few games in the competition.”
Only three changes have been made to the Bulldogs starting line-up, all in the backline, with scrumhalf Bangihlombe Kobese and flyhalf Lwando Mapuko slotting into the half back positions and Sonwabiso Mqalo returning to fullback.
“I feel like we just needed to control the game more, so we are trying a different combination,” explained Mangweni.
“With Bangi we bring in a player who has a lot of experience and a strong kicking game and with Mapuko we are giving him a chance to show what he can do as a starter. I am hoping that they can help us control the pace of the game.
“Then at fullback we have brought back Mqalo to the team. He was meant to start last weekend but pulled out with an illness, and he takes Siphesihle Zono's place who picked up a foot injury against EP.” The Sharks will be a tough team to crack with them in the running for the knockouts and they will be eager to follow up their impressive win over the previously unbeaten Cavaliers last time out, with another strong performance against the Bulldogs.
“The Sharks are a professional team with players who have played Super Rugby or are pushing for places in the Super Rugby set-up. They have some exciting young talent, so we are up against a strong side,” admitted Mangweni.
“I want us to control the game, especially through our half back pairing and then try to keep hold of the ball for long periods and then use our possession to give them a few problems.”
The match kicks off at 2.30pm.
Bulldogs Team (1-15): Blake Kyd, Vuyisani Mavuso, Thabo Ntunja, Athenkosi Khetani, Ayabonga Nomboyo, Onke Dubase, Billy Dutton (c), Athenkosi Manentsa, Bangihlombe Kobese, Lwando Mapuko, Lelethu Gcillitshana, Sethu Tom, Lonwabo Ntleki, Siphosenkosi Nofemele, Sonwabiso Mqalo. Subs (16-22): Lubabalo Lento, Yanga Xakalashe, Mihlali Mosi, Sokuphumla Xakalashe, Yongama Mkaza, Aphiwe Stemele, Litha Nkula...

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