Crusaders still posing a bigger threat

Wed, 13 Mar 2013 20:13
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They may be winless this season, but Bulls captain Pierre Spies still rates the Crusaders a bigger threat than the Blues.

They may be winless this season, but Bulls captain Pierre Spies still rates the Crusaders a bigger threat than the Blues.

The Auckland-based Blues had a blistering start to the season - scoring 68 points and nine tries, including a 34-15 demolition of the Crusaders.

However, last week the Bulls lowered the Blues' colours with a dominant performance at Eden Park - winning 28-21 and preventing the Blues from getting a four-try bonus point for the first time this season.

In stark contrast the Crusaders have looked a far cry from the team that won seven titles between 1998 and 2008.

Spies believes the Crusaders showed enough in their one-point (28-29) loss to the Hurricanes last week to ensure they remain a major threat.

"They are such a quality team and a franchise with pride," Spies said in a teleconference call from the Bulls' base in Christchurch - where the men from Pretoria will tackle the Crusaders on Saturday.

"This a big game for them," the Bulls skipper said, adding: "They won't be happy with the two defeats, especially the last one which was within their grasp."

Spies said for the Bulls it is all about getting the right "mental preparation" for what they want to achieve on the field and ensure they execute that gameplan on Saturday.

"It is going to be a tough encounter, even tougher than the one at Eden Park [last week]," the burly Bok No.8 said.

Spies said the rich history of the Crusaders in Christchurch make it even more difficult to topple them at home.

In nearly two decades and over 100 Super Rugby matches the Crusaders have lost just 14 times in Christchurch.

The Bulls' predecessors, Northern Transvaal, boast just one win in this historic city - a 34-18 victory back in 1996.

Some of the Bulls' biggest defeats have also been in Christchurch - such as their 27-75 humiliation in 2000.

"The Crusaders is a very successful franchise," Spies said, adding: "There is a lot of rugby culture in the Crusaders set-up and they have a very high success rate when playing at home."

The Bulls skipper did not feel that the Pretoria team's win over the Blues last week will make the Crusaders more fearful of the visitors this week.

"The people may have taken note of our win," he said, adding: "However, this is a new week and a new challenge.

"What happened last week will have to influence on this week.

"The Crusaders are at a stage where they need to bounce back and rectify their poor start [to the season] and we are ready for that challenge.

"The [Bulls'] victory at Eden Park won't means much if we don't follow it up with another successful game this week."

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
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