Bulldogs snarl at Elephants
After being humiliated by Free State, the EP side are determined to redeem themselves
Bulldogs are not usually aggressive but when provoked they will bare their teeth and this is something the EP Elephants will have to be wary of when the sides clash at the Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele on Sunday.
In their previous game, the Border Bulldogs were mauled 52-0 by the Boland Cavaliers and this is certain to make them dangerous in round four of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
EP will begin the game on the back of a 49-12 drubbing at the hands of Free State in Mossel Bay and they will also have something to prove to their loyal home supporters.
Fullback Michael Botha showed how dangerous he can be on attack and EP will be looking for him to step up to the plate again on Sunday.
Botha and Mike Makase were the EP try scorers against Free State during a heavy defeat for the men in red and black hoops.
EP are well aware of the threat that a dangerous Border side will pose and manager Thando Manana says there will be no complacency in the Elephants’ ranks.
“That defeat against Free State was two steps backwards for us.
“But now we are playing at home in Kwazakhele and we expect a big crowd to support us,” Manana said.
“This is a group that has been together for almost four weeks and we have played three Rugby Challenge games and a friendly.
“We have won two and lost two – a 50% win record.”
“The guys are very positive ahead of the Bulldogs clash and they want to move on from Mossel Bay.
“One should remember that the Cheetahs have been together since September in preparation for the Rugby Challenge.
“So once we get everyone on board about how EP must operate things will turn for the better.
“The more time you have as a group the more time you have to work on each individual’s weak and strong points.
“You can then put those strengths into one big basket of wanting to do well as a collective.
Border started their campaign with three home games but now face the prospect of a series of matches on the road.
“It is really difficult with the position we find ourselves in now,” Border coach Tiger Mangweni said. “Four away games is going to be very tough for us, and I just want the guys to play to the best of their ability.
“I cannot say we are going to target wins because first we have Eastern Province away this weekend.
“They have got PRO14 players as well as a few of our former best players playing for them so it is going to be tough.”
The cards have been stacked against Border this season after off-field problems almost resulted in the team not playing in the competition.
The Bulldogs began their campaign with a bonus point win over the Zimbabwe Academy side before losing to Western Province and Boland.
“I think from where we are now we are building for the next competition,” Mangweni said.
“I tell the guys I am not looking at the scoreboard but I am watching the effort they out in.”
The EP squad:
Michael Botha, Athi Mayinje, Ntabeni Dukisa, Meli Rokoua, Riaan Arendse, Oliver Zono, Richmond Gora, Sonwabo Majola, Tristan Fourie, Nkululeko Marwana, Sonwabile Mantyoyi, Tango Balekile, Mihlali Mpafi, Thembekile Boltina, Xandre Vos, Justin Forwood, Dewald Barnard, Johan van Wyk, Lindondokuhle Welemu, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Anele Lungisa, Diego Williams, Zingisa April, Jurie van Vuuren, Rynardt van Wyk, Shaun Basson.