Preview Vodacom Blue Bulls v Toyota Free State Cheetahs
The Vodacom Blue Bulls this week repeatedly stated that their first round win (57-19) over the Free State Cheetahs counts for nothing, reports rugby365.co.za in their match preview.
As captain Pieter Labuschagne put it: "This is going to be a different ball-game."
The Blue Bulls caught the Cheetahs by surprise with their expansive game and by now the opposition would have had plenty of time to analyse their game properly.
The return of Springboks Marcel van der Merwe and Jan Serfontein will add plenty of experience and depth to the team's already impressive player resources.
Then there is also the return of Bok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, having missed last week's win over Griquas when he attended his sister's wedding.
Coach Nollis Marais admitted the Bulls caught the Cheetahs "off-guard" in the first-round match.
"They are a much improved side," Marais said of the Cheetahs, adding: "They played well [against Western Province] at Newlands in the rain and could have won that match.
"Last week against WP they killed them off in the first 30 minutes. They are an in-form side."
Marais also spoke of some of the bad habits that has prevented his team from playing to their full potential.
"At times, when something goes wrong, we tend to go into our shells. It is a big focus for us at the moment."
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has not rushed any of his returning Springboks back - with loose forward Teboho Mohoje named on the bench wing Cornal Hendricks not considered this week.
2015: Blue Bulls won 57-19, Bloemfontein
2014: Blue Bulls won 31-22, Bloemfontein
2013: Free State Cheetahs won 22-7, Bloemfontein
2013: Blue Bulls won 26-10, Pretoria
2012: Free State Cheetahs won 32-18, Bloemfontein
2012: Blue Bulls won 34-30, Pretoria
Vodacom Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Roelof Smit, 6 Pieter Labuschagne (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Rudolph Snyman, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Jan Serfontein.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Burrie Uys.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Freddy Ngoza, 21, Ruan van Rensburg, 22 Sias Ebersohn.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Francois Pretorius, Vusi Msibi
TMO: Willie Vos
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 19.10)