Bulls need 'solid set-piece base'

Thu, 05 Jul 2012 21:00
Large flip van der merwe bulls2 6 Large chiliboy ralepelle bulls 63

The Bulls may be second on the try-scorers' list, but they will go back to basics for their Super Rugby derby with the Sharks.

The Bulls may be second on this season's try-scorers' list, but they will go back to basics for their crucial Super Rugby derby with the Sharks on Friday.

Despite having a very decent track record in Durban - the venue of Friday's showdown - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is taking nothing for granted.

The Bulls have won five of their eight visits to Durban in the last decade and have won four of their last five encounters with the Sharks. The last time the Sharks beat the Bulls in a Super Rugby match in Durban was back in 2007.

However, having named an unchanged team - with continuity a key factor - Ludeke has put set pieces high on his team's priority list as they strive to secure a top-six finish two weeks out from the play-offs.

Despite the short turnaround, with a Friday game cutting their preparation time short, Ludeke felt the Sharks will again bring the best out of his players.

"It will be a very bruising encounter," he told this website during the build-up to Friday's crunch encounter, adding: "We will have to be at our best."

The Sharks, a team that is always physical and play very direct, will ask some serious questions of the visitors.

"The battle in the set pieces and on the advantage line will be brutal," Ludeke said, adding: "That is where games against them [the Sharks] are often won and lost.

"They are a team that works hard at getting quality possession on the front foot ... to ensure they get good momentum and get their strengths [strong runners] into the game."

The Bulls mentor admitted that playing in Durban, away from the rarified Highveld air, requires some adjustments.

"It is different when you play at the coast, but there won't be major changes in the way we play.

"In the territorial battle we will need to make a few minor tweaks, but overall it won't change much.

"Our set pieces will need to be sound to ensure we have a base to attack from or to get out of our own territory ... those are the key aspects.

"The breakdown is also a key area against the Sharks."

The Sharks, in eighth place on the global standings and in a 'must win' scenario if they hope to keep their play-off hops alive, will not lack motivation.

However, Ludeke said his players will be just as "charges up" on Friday.

"Everybody is in the same situation - no team that is still in the running can afford to lose.

"There is just as much at stake for us.

"That is why we will have to be very accurate - we need to ensure we create opportunities and finish those off."

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 22 October 2016
New Zealand v Australia 06h35 Auckland
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 12h00 Thomond Park
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 14h00 Bloemfontein
Clermont Auvergne v Bordeaux 14h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Castres v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Pierre Antoine
Saracens v Scarlets 16h30 Allianz Park
Ulster v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 23 October 2016
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Zebre v Connacht 15h15 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Toulouse v Wasps 15h15 Le Mans
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16h30 Welford Road
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9