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
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
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