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'Desperate' Bulls to step up

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:49
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I needed those six months
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Bulls coach Frans Ludeke dismissed the notion that his team could be outperformed by a "more desperate" team for a second week.

Speaking ahead of the Bulls' Super Rugby Round Six showdown with the Reds, in Brisbane on Saturday, Ludeke said his team lost because they were "off their game" against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

"We are also desperate," Ludeke said, when asked about a Reds team that will be hell-bent on bouncing back after a loss last week.

"We lost against the Crusaders and we didn't have a good game," the Bulls mentor said, adding: "So we would also like to step up this weekend."

"It is a very competitive competition and you need to be at your best every week.

"It [Super Rugby] will test you mentally, physically and also your strategy. You need to make small adjustments every week execution is also vital, you need to be accurate."

He said it is important for his side to only focus on our own game and should not worry about the opposition.

""We know what they [the Reds] will bring," he said, adding that it is all about decision-making on the field.

"We also have some key areas that we want to ensure we get quality possession from, so that we have opportunities to string some phases together and score some tries.

"[Will] Genia is back and along with [Quade] Cooper they are two key players for the Reds.

"We will have to be accurate on defence as well - we must make sure we shut them down."

Bulls captain Pierre Spies, who ascribed his improved form this year to the six-month injury-enforced lay-off in 2012, admitted his team will be up against it in Brisbane - where they have managed just one win in eight starts, 23-17 in 2004.

"The fact that I got a break give me an opportunity to get some perspective on the game, understand what my priorities in the game is and priorities in life," Spies said.

"I needed those six months. When I was injured, helped me to get motivated again and I now enjoy my rugby again.

"Hopefully I can keep this up and play some good rugby."

He said they are keen to change their poor track record in Brisbane.

"It is another tough environment to play in and the Reds is a quality team - they have been doing well the last few years," Spies said.

"It doesn't make it easier to win here [in Brisbane]," he said, adding: "They did lose [to the Western Force] last week, so they will certainly look to bounce back.

"Hopefully we can look to get our game together and get the victory this weekend."

The Bulls captain feels they have the same qualities of the opposition and know where they are heading.

"We have looked at the mistakes and weaknesses we had [last] weekend.

"We will look to rectify that this weekend," he said, adding that it will require another huge defensive effort this weekend.

"However, the fact of matter is you have to play rugby in the right areas.

"We have to make sure we keep the Reds out of those attacking opportunities and we get the opportunities in the right areas so we can keep the scoreboard ticking over."

By Jan de Koning

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