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

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 24 September 2017
London Irish v Northampton Saints 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 14h00 Sandy Park
Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 30 September 2017
Griquas v Free State Cheetahs 12h00 Kimberley
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Welford Road
Munster v Cardiff Blues 13h30 Thomond Park
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Cheetahs v Ospreys 14h00 Bloemfontein
Wasps v Bath 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 14h35 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Bloemfontein
Dragons v Kings 18h35 Rodney Parade
Sun, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand 22h30 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Blue Bulls v Western Province 12h30 Loftus Versfeld
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28