United Rugby Championship

Bulls' Van Rooyen wary of 'aggressive' Lions

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Jacques van Rooyen. (Gallo Images)
Jacques van Rooyen. (Gallo Images)

The Lions at home are always a difficult prospect and the Bulls are expecting no different when they travel Ellis Park for their United Rugby Championship clash on Saturday. 

This is the first time the two traditional cross-Jukskei rivals will be facing each other in the URC and a win is vital for either side.

The Bulls, however, will be desperate to come out on top following their surprise loss at home to the Stormers last weekend a result that prop Jacques van Rooyen said was disappointing. 

“We were obviously disappointed with the performance from last weekend,” Van Rooyen said.

“The Stormers really played well and started well. We took a good, long, hard look at ourselves and the way we wanted to play. We obviously did not get to do that in that game.

“We just have to try to get back to basics and make sure that everyone is on the same page. We have to make sure that for the upcoming games we are up to standard, that we start well and not make life difficult for ourselves, unnecessarily, by having to find ourselves chasing games.”

Van Rooyen, a former Lions player, will be most familiar with what to expect from the Johannesburg-based side.

“We know that the Lions, for the past few years, have had a good scrummaging pack and they like to attack you on your own ball as well their own feed. We know very well that every single scrum will be a battle,” he said.

When the two sides meet in Johannesburg, the battle is always fierce. Van Rooyen expects the same on Saturday and also remains confident that the work the Bulls have been putting in ahead of the derby will come to fruition on game day.

“Since I have been at the Bulls, we have not had one easy game against them,” the burly prop said.

“[Emirates Airline Park] has been a tough ground for us to go play at. Obviously, their style of play, the tempo they play at, and now the coaches that they have brought in – you can see they are a lot more aggressive on defence. So, we know that is coming – they are very organised on defence.

“We have been working hard on what we want to do better. We want to make sure that we come to the party to ensure that we secure our ball and put them under pressure on their own feeds as well.”

Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, will announce his squad to face the Lions on Friday.

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