Bulls plan to avoid breakdown Blues

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 16:19
Large jano vermaak bulls v force Large frans ludeke   pierre 2 Large bulls charge Large pierre spies bulls looks Large bulls training Large frans ludeke   pierre spie2

Deon Stegmann, one of the few openside specialists in South Africa, will be crucial to the Bulls' cause in Auckland on Sunday.

Deon Stegmann, one of the few openside specialists in South Africa, will be crucial to the Bulls' cause in Auckland on Sunday.

Bulls captain Pierre Spies felt the return of Stegmann from a hamstring injury, will be a major fillip for the South African tourists when they tackle the Blues at Eden Park on Sunday.

The Bulls failed to convince, despite scoring a bonus-point (36-26) win over the Western Force - with an alarming 17 turnovers conceded at Loftus Versfeld last week.

Against a quality side like the Blues, one of the form teams in the competition, the men from Pretoria can't afford another day of breakdown blues.

"I think there will be a difference, with a specialist openside [flank] like Deon Stegmann," Spies said in a teleconference call from the team's base in Auckland.

The Bulls' starting team for Sunday's Round Four encounter shows numerous changes - at wing, centre, scrumhalf, loose forward, prop and hooker.

However, it is the return of Stegmann that is likely to have the biggest impact.

"We had a very disrupted back row against the Western Force," Spies explained, adding: "This week it will be different and we addressed that [the breakdown] in our preparation.

"A guy like Deon [Stegmann] will make a big difference, but as a team we will also need to adapt.

"We will have to be more focussed and clinical when it comes to the breakdown. We need to be more aware and our reaction speed needs to be better at the breakdown - we need to ensure the ball comes out quicker."

Spies said it is not a case of loading the breakdown with numbers, but rather a need to pay more attention.

The Blues, who have won both their matches this season by comfortable margins (34-20 against the Hurricanes and 34-15 against the Crusaders), have scored nine tries in two magical displays of expansive rugby.

Yet, the Bulls feel they can still stamp their authority on the game.

"Yes, they had a great performance against the Crusaders [scoring five tries to nil]," Spies said from Auckland.

"We know they are a quality team and they have had two good wins already this season.

"However, we are going in there with our own plan.

"We have to be aware of what we want to do. Hopefully on Sunday we can implement our best game with a clinical performance."

Asked about their poor track record in Auckland, where the Bulls have lost on all their visits, with a 21-23 loss in 2008 the closest they came to victory, Spies remained upbeat.

"Coming here is never easy," the Bulls captain said, adding: "We have played some good games here, but we haven't won.

So we will have to produced a full 80-minute performance of quality rugby against a Blues team that has been outstanding in their first two matches.

"We know we have a huge job on hand, but hopefully we can pull it off on Sunday."

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14