Rainbow Cup

Marcell Coetzee's warning for Bulls on European refs: 'We need to be squeeky clean'

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Marcell Coetzee. (Photo byGordon Arons/Gallo Images)
Marcell Coetzee. (Photo byGordon Arons/Gallo Images)
  • Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee has warned his team-mates to be "squeeky clean" or risk being blown to bits by the referee in Saturday's Rainbow Cup final.
  • Jake White's troops don't have a lot of time to adapt to an expected northern hemisphere appointment, who'll most likely be strict in areas such as the tackle. 
  • But Coetzee also notes that adapting is the difference between a competitor and a champion.

He's definitely not trying to paralyse his team-mates with fear, but Bulls skipper Marcell Coetzee has warned they'll need to be "squeeky clean" in Saturday's Rainbow Cup final against Benetton in Treviso, Italy.

While PRO Rugby hasn't announced the officials for the showpiece match yet, it's widely expected a man from the northern hemisphere will be carrying the whistle.

And that means the Bulls will have adapt to law interpretations that will probably be even stricter than in South Africa.

One area of particular focus will be tackle height, where even South African referees were more firm.

"The thing we've found is that they're far more cautious with hight tackles here up north," Coetzee said from the city on Wednesday.

"Our body position's height is going to be important. We're going to have to be be squeeky clean."

Keeping al 15 men on the field has been a major objective in the build-up to the final, particularly after the Bulls had to play with 13 men at one stage against the Sharks last weekend.

"During my time in Europe, I also saw that if you just tackle a little bit over the top, the whole complexion of a game can change for you," said Coetzee.

"In a final, you really want all your personnel on the field. The breakdown is also going to be important, it's a bit looser and the interpretations are more open, but we have to adapt.

"It's about sticking to our structures and what's worked for us."

That might be easier said than done, however, as the short turnaround time from last week's battle in Durban and the fact that it's the Bulls first taste of European action conspire to make adapting fully close to impossible.

It's little wonder then that Coetzee believes the best way of mitigating that is relying on the players to individually familiarise themselves with some of the finer details.

"Yeah, we only arrived on Tuesday. We really don't have much time to talk about this too much," he said.

"But this is where the difference between a competitor and a champion comes in. We'll have adopt such a mindset. Every guy will need to take ownership of this, do his homework and use other figures to remind him what's a stake."

The Bulls announce their team on Friday and kick-off is scheduled for 18:15.  

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