Bulls captain Victor Matfield admitted today that his men will have to show a drastic improvement in their performance if they are to return to winning ways against the Lions on Saturday.
“We must do everything 5% to 10% better,” said Matfield, ahead of their last Super Rugby home game before departing for New Zealand.
“Our accuracy isn’t there. We are a team that normally strangles guys in their half and we had five opportunities last Saturday and on all five occasions we lost the ball within two phases. That is not the way we play.”
During the golden era when the Pretoria side built up a reputation of being unbeatable at home, the Springbok lock used to say that they only needed to tweak one or two aspects of their game.
After two consecutive losses at home, Matfield stressed that the time has come for their “top players” to start living up to their reputations.
“It is very important for the top players to deliver the standard of play people have come to expect from them and if that happens, the rest will follow.”
The Bulls made two injury enforced changes to their starting line-up for the Juskei derby.
Upfront, Dean Greyling comes in for Springbok loosehead Gurthro Steenkamp who fractured his forearm, while Jaco van der Westhuyzen will be slotting in at fullback in the place of Zane Kirchner.
Kirchner took a knock to his shoulder, but could still make the team if he passes a final fitness test.
Coach Frans Ludeke conceded that they will miss the presence of Steenkamp, considered to be one of the best defenders in the team, and at the same time, is looking forward to seeing how Greyling performs at this level.
“Greyling knows our systems and played there throughout the Currie Cup last year even if this is his first Super Rugby start,” said Ludeke.
“Gurthro is definitely one of our battle axes and without him there will definitely be a gap we need to fill, but we do back the system.”
Team: Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Gerhard van den Heever, Jaco Pretoruis, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (c), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Gary Botha, Rossouw de Klerk, Flip van der Merwe, Danie Rossouw, Francois Brummer, Francois Hougaard, Derick Kuun.