Bulls have a sound base

Sat, 16 Feb 2013 14:56
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With their season opener against the Stormers looming on the horizon, the Bulls feel they have laid a solid foundation for a successful season.

With their season opener against the Stormers looming on the horizon, the Bulls feel they have laid a solid foundation for a successful season.

The three-time champions, who start their 2013 campaign with a traditional north-south derby when the Stormers visit Loftus Versfeld on Friday, have moved on from last year's transitional season.

And it showed in the pre-season, as the Bulls comfortably won both their warm-up matches - beating a gutsy Lions team 38-32, before an even more impressive 32-10 demolition of the Cheetahs.

Coach Frans Ludeke, speaking to this website ahead of the encounter with the South African conference champions, the Stormers, said he is happy with where his team is at.

"It's your processes and systems that pull you through," he told this website in an interview from the team's base in Pretoria.

"That is what is great about the pre-season, there are a lot of good that came out of these warm-up games and we'll start with that as our base.

"What you don't have in your camp now, if you did not work hard enough or focussed on the right areas, then it will show in the games."

The Bulls, who lost both their encounters with the Stormers last year (17-20 in Cape Town and 14-19 in Pretoria), are confident that they can turn around there recent run of defeats to their arch rivals if they back their systems.

"Yes, we all want to start [the season] on a great note," Ludeke said, adding: "That is why our pre-season build-up and processes were so important."

Both teams, the Bulls and Stormers, dipped into the Lions' resources after the Johannesburg-based franchise was axed from Super Rugby by the South African Rugby Union.

Hooker Martin Bezuidenhout, Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies and Bok utility back Jaco Taute are all on loan from the Lions - while lock Ruan Botha, Bok prop Patric Cilliers and utility forward Michael Rhodes have made the move to Cape Town permanent.

The Bulls also have a healthy serving of Lions on their roster - Bok utility back Lionel Mapoe and hooker Callie Visagie on loan, with utility forward Grant Hattingh and lock Paul Willemse permanent residents in Pretoria.

While Hattingh signed midway through last year and have already had a few good outings with the men in light blue, the other three only joined them in pre-season and according to Ludeke they all fitted in well.

"Lionel Mapoe, Paul Willemse and Callie Visagie all three settled in seamlessly," the coach said.

"They are at home with the structures and they are making great contributions - we are very happy with them."

The big spin-off for the Bulls is the additional depth.

"It makes a massive difference," Ludeke said, adding: "As we all know, having good depth in your squad is vital in this competition.

"It is an aspect we worked on for this year."

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Blues 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 57 | 14
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10