Matfield likely to lead Bulls’ attack

2014-02-26 00:00

PRETORIA — The Lions can brace themselves for a relentless Bulls attack, with Victor Matfield likely leading the charge.

The expectation is that Matfield will be in the starting pack, which will be announced at Loftus Versfeld today.

With Pierre Spies out of action for six months due to a bicep injury, it makes sense to select the experienced Springbok lock for the match against the Lions.

In last Friday night match Matfield made a clear difference in the lineouts against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein when he came on as a replacement.

The Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said his team realises there will not be room for a poor performance again against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

“We take the criticism. There are no excuses,” he said.

But Ludeke is definitely not lying awake at night about his team’s prospects in the Super Rugby season.

Against the Sharks and the Cheetahs, the Bulls were but a shadow of the team that played in the 2013 semi-finals and have won the Super Rugby title three times.

Ludeke said apart from the fact that both matches were very tough away games, they were played in difficult weather conditions.

“That said, we must adapt better to the conditions. We carried the ball more in both matches than our opponents. The team that played the least rugby, won.

“Our game in the set-pieces and our defence are encouraging,” he said, adding the focus this week was on fixing these processes, which he said will bring results.

Ludeke admitted that the criticism about the Bulls’ weak attack had merit.

This while the Bulls have the most dangerous centres in the Bok pair JJ Engelbrecht and Jan Serfontein, while the left wing Bjorn Basson knows the path to the try line well.

The controlling body Sanzar’s statistics show Bulls have only won 564 metres on the attack in their first two games.

By comparison, the Sharks have gained 930 metres, the Lions 814 metres and the Cheetahs 716 metres.

And while the Sharks made 15 clean breaks, the Bulls could only manage two.

“We want to play positively and be dangerous on the attack. That is the aim and we are working hard on it. We have the players who can do this for us,” Ludeke said.

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