Bulls ready for Blues bash

Pretoria - The dangerous Blues arrive at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon looking for their second successive Super Rugby victory in Pretoria – something not a lot of overseas teams can boast.

On their last visit, Gareth Anscombe scored all of the Blues’ points as they shocked the Bulls by 29-23.

But last year, the Pretorians won in Auckland.

Anscombe is no longer with the Blues, but they still have one of the most dangerous backlines around – which is underlined by the fact that, of all the teams to play more than one fixture this season, the Blues have averaged more defenders beaten (22.5) than any other side.

However, if the Bulls can keep up their strong performances in the scrums and line-outs, they should put the visitors on the backfoot, negating their dangerous attackers.

The Bulls have a 92% success rate at scrum time and 90% in the line-outs, which puts them in the upper echelons when it comes to these set pieces. And the Blues have not started the season well in these aspects of the game – 57% in the scrums and 78% in lineouts.

But the men from Pretoria have scored only two tries in three matches and the Blues seven in two.

This is the big difference between the two teams.

“We know what the Blues will bring this weekend,” said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.

“They are a quality side and as we saw in the first two games, they can move the ball around, the players are good in the offload and they have good skills in contact situations.

"They keep the ball alive very well.

“We would like to improve on last week’s performance.

"The focus is again on the way we controlled the game and converted opportunities into points.”

Teams:

Bulls
15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett , 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers

Blues
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Brendon O'Connor, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Chris Noakes, 23 Pita Ahki


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