Bulls look for momentum

2012-04-20 11:24

Coach Frans Ludeke says the Bulls expect a stiff challenge from Jake White’s Brumbies this weekend as the tourists go in search of their first win at Loftus Versfeld since 2006.

The Bulls square up against the Australian conference leaders in their Super Rugby clash in Pretoria tomorrow.

“Brumbies sides like to play phase-play in the vacuum, a retention kind of game and they do it well, so we have really taken notice of that,” Ludeke said.

“They are playing fantastically at the moment and they are definitely a threat. They have made a huge improvement on their previous performances. When we prepared for them we saw that they were capable of scoring some great tries and can put you under pressure.”

A victory will hold the Bulls in good stead ahead of their tour of Australasia in a fortnight’s time. A loss for the visitors, meanwhile, could further expose the warped conference system as the Brumbies should in reality be in sixth position on the overall log.

The Canberra-based team, on 24 points, are third overall, by virtue of leading their conference, while the Bulls, on 29 points, are in fourth place. The Brumbies, however, should not be discounted as they have won four of their seven matches this season.

Jake White, the former Springbok coach, has done wonders with the youthful side who could prove to be a stumbling block for the Pretoria giants.

The Bulls are fresh off a strong showing in their 32-18 victory over the Lions last week, recording their fifth win from seven matches. Ludeke nonetheless felt his troops were far from the complete package and were looking for improvements on Saturday.

“We want to improve every week and we are definitely not satisfied with where we are as a team,” he said.
“There are many areas that we want to improve in.”

Bulls skipper Pierre Spies said it was crucial for his side to take the spoils this weekend before they embarked on their tour of Australasia.

“It is very important to get that momentum before going on tour,” Spies said. “We have a bye next week, so we have time to regroup. It is another vital game and we would like to end this phase on a high.”

The Sharks, meanwhile, are back at home after a month-long tour of Australia and New Zealand, and skipper Keegan Daniel believed their defence would be tested by a strong Chiefs backline that included centre Sonny Bill Williams.

Unbeaten in Durban this season, the Sharks will look for a morale-boosting victory over the table-topping Chiefs who have lost only once in this campaign. “That whole backline is filled with X-factor players, not only Sonny Bill, but we’ve all seen what he’s capable of with former team the Crusaders and when he’s played for the All Blacks,” Daniel said.

“He has an unbelievably good offload game which makes him exceptionally dangerous. He’s a big guy who carries a lot of ball, so we will have to pay lot of attention to him.

But in saying that, they have some unbelievable backs as well. Overall, it’s going to have to be one of the biggest defensive efforts from us as a team.”

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