In the Vodacom Bulls will go into their final Carling Currie Cup round-robin game, where they will face an in-form Toyota Cheetahs side, with one goal in mind – to win and place themselves in a good position for a potential home final in the domestic competition.
The side from Tshwane will travel to Bloemfontein this weekend where the two sides will square up on Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash which will see both teams vying for the No1 spot on the log.
Vodacom Bulls hooker, Sidney Tobias, who is eager for the weekend’s challenge in the Free State, expressed the side’s pleasure in seeing their hard work throughout the season come together to place them in a position to be gunning for a top finish before the playoff stages of the competition.
“Coach Gert (Smal) and Coach Jake’s (White) planning has been spot on. We’ve planned all along just to take it game by game and week by week. Luckily, things have worked out that we are still in control of our own destiny,” said Tobias ahead of the weekend’s fixture.
“The end result for us is having a home final which makes this last round robin game a must-win. We have to win it. So, our approach is simple – we are going to Bloem for the win.
With the Vodacom Bulls also having to participate in another important match this week – the semifinal of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship against Leinster in Dublin, Ireland – the side from Tshwane has had to box clever in their preparations with their focus being split between the two premier competitions, and also facing two in-form opponents in both the Carling Currie Cup and the Vodacom URC.
“We are going into this game with the same preparations as every other game this year. We are going there to win. Obviously, we know it’s going to be a massive challenge. The Toyota Cheetahs are always good on their home ground, especially if they get going,” said the 33-year-old front-rower.
“I think we have seen in the last two weeks that they are beatable. Just like we saw with Leinster two weeks ago. So, we are going there to win, I don’t think we will approach this game any other way.”
Tobias further put to bed any suggestions that the Vodacom Bulls will be fielding a weakened side for the Carling Currie Cup clash.
“You’ll be surprised with the team we have preparing for the weekend. There are quite a few experienced players who remained behind to prep for the Toyota Cheetahs game,” he said.
Tobias has made a meaningful contribution to the impressive run of the Vodacom Bulls in this season’s Carling Currie Cup campaign and showed his mettle when he was included as a late starter, after being initially named on the bench, in the side’s most recent fixture.
When Gert Smal’s side took on the Airlink Pumas a fortnight ago, experienced former Springbok, Bismarck du Plessis, was forced to withdraw from the team after a light niggle in the warmup ahead of the start of the match.
Tobias exchanged his No16 jersey for the No2 jumper on the day and went on to prove to be one of the standout performers on the day in the side’s 31-26 victory, adding to previous performances which placed him in contention for a spot in the Carling Currie Cup squad.
“The thing with Coach Jake and Coach Gert is that if you’re good enough – whether you’re an older guy or younger – you will play. There’s no beating about the bush when you work with probably one of the best coaches we’ve ever had in this country,” is the bulky hooker’s response.
Tobias is a fine example of the success of the club rugby system under the Blue Bulls Rugby Union which continues to a thriving feeder to the professional setup.
“I’m blessed beyond measure to have a president (Willem Strauss), a director of rugby (Jake White), coach (Gert Smal) and a CEO (Edgar Rathbone) that support club rugby like this, it’s phenomenal. We are probably the only union in South Africa where the club players are coming through the system. It’s not happening on a once-off basis, it’s on a weekly basis that guys come straight from club rugby into our professional setup,” he said.
“We are extremely blessed that we probably have the best club rugby system in South Africa. We have the best club rugby competition in South Africa. We have clubs in the World Sports Betting Carlton Cup who are completely competitive. We have a president who is an avid supporter of club rugby, to put it in the simplest of terms; and we have Coach Jake who supports the guys.
“It doesn’t matter what club you come from, but as soon as you step onto the field here at Loftus and train in the system, you automatically lift your game.”
Tobias is expected to once again be an integral part of the Vodacom Bulls team when they face the Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday.
The Vodacom Bulls team for the encounter will be named on Friday.
The match will kick-off at 17h45 on Saturday.