Stampeding Bulls sitting pretty
The Bulls boosted their chances of securing a home semifinal after their convincing win over the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Bulls boosted their chances of securing a Super Rugby home semifinal following their convincing win over the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening.
The Pretoria-based side climbed the standings to third overall, while they are also the leading team in the South African Conference.
Next week they will enjoy another bye, buoyed by the knowledge that the four extra points could see them move into second place.
"If you look at the log, it is a byproduct of what we do and it is satisfying when you look at your position but it is really not the focus," Bulls captain Pierre Spies said about their favourable position in the competition.
"We are going to get the four points from the bye then we move up and we might lie second but there are still plenty of games to play.
"We know it is going to be very marginal in the end and that is why you have to be focused for every game."
The Bulls showed great resolve as they seemed to fire on all cylinders, dominating the set-pieces.
The forward pack played a leading role in the match, setting the foundation for their six tries.
Spies heaped praise on the tight five for dishing up a dominant performance on the night to ensure they go into their free weekend with five bonus points in the bag.
"You've got to give credit to all of them - Dean Greyling, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Flip van der Merwe and Juandre Kruger," Spies said.
"From the first scrum of the game, you could see the intent and they've worked really hard on the scrums, which was rewarding tonight."
While the scoreline suggested the Bulls had the Hurricanes' number in all facets of play, Spies said the tourists were still a tough nut to crack.
"We can take this week off and enjoy it while we watch everyone else fight it out. For us it is really rewarding when you do your preparations for the week and it comes off over the weekend.
"We played against a really good Hurricanes team and we scored some good tries.
"They are a really good team and played some good rugby this year and if you don't pitch on the day they can really hurt you."
The Bulls skipper said had they not scored two intercept tries, the match could have been an uphill battle.
Coach Frans Ludeke said he was impressed by his charges' discipline which ultimately made the difference for them.
"When they [the Hurricanes] got the ball it was backfoot football with no momentum which made it easy in defence as well," Ludeke said.
"It is still early days and we have a bye then it is the Highlanders again at home and then we have a few away games again and we want to build on this win from tonight."