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Bulls may be weakened for Currie Cup top-of-the-table duel

Bulls players celebrate a try by James Verity-Amm during the Carling Currie Cup match against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld on May 27.
Bulls players celebrate a try by James Verity-Amm during the Carling Currie Cup match against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld on May 27.
Image: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

Bulls Currie Cup coach Gert Smal says his side could be understrength for the top-of-the-table bout with the Cheetahs next month.

The fixture that’s scheduled for June 11 in Bloemfontein is likely to decide which side is going to finish the round-robin stage at the top of the Currie Cup log table.

But the match clashes with the United Rugby Championship (URC) semifinals which will take place the same weekend.

The Bulls, who have been using a one-squad system in both competitions, are playing the Sharks in the URC quarterfinal on Saturday, June 4.

If they beat the Sharks, they are likely to travel to Europe for the semifinals which will leave Smal with a selection crisis.

“The URC will take the 28 players and whoever is left has to compete against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein,” Smal said.

“It’s going to be a massive task and we have to prepare as best as we can with what we’ve got.

“But again, it’s an opportunity for the players to test themselves against a good side like that, if they haven’t played in the Currie Cup or URC before.”

The Bulls and Cheetahs have been the strongest teams in the Currie Cup, with the latter yet to lose a match this season.

Smal’s men extended their lead at the top when they fought back to beat the Pumas 31-26, after being down 26-12 at half time.

“I’m happy with how our team performed, the Pumas are a team that’s well drilled with big set pieces, and I think their all-round game is good,” Smal said.

“You have to close them down in all phases. It was difficult in the beginning. I think we made it too easy for them and we weren’t accurate enough, especially in the first half, to really put them under pressure.”

The Bulls are six points clear of the Cheetahs, but the latter have two games in hand.

The Cheetahs are away to the Griquas on Saturday in a match that will kickoff at 2.30pm.


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