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No more 'soft moments' for Bulls

Wed, 03 Jul 2013 20:23
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We don't look at it like that
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The Bulls will need to be switched on for the full 80 minutes if they hope to add another W to their three-month unbeaten run.

With a much-improved Sharks team arriving at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, the Bulls will not be able to get away with any 'soft' moments.

Their last loss was a 20-23 defeat to the Brumbies in Canberra on March 30 - a result pundits on both sides of the Indian Ocean agreed was daylight robbery.

Since that unfortunate Saturday, the Bulls have won eight games on the trot - with two byes and the June break thrown in for good measure.

If they win at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday and the Crusaders upstage the table-topping Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday, the Bulls will claim prime position in the standings.

However, they are focussed on the Sharks and not the table.

"We don't look at it like that," Bulls coach Frans Ludeke told this website, adding: "We are facing a good team that has been a huge challenge for us in the last few years.

"We will have to be on top of our game and very accurate on Saturday."

The Bulls mentor said that despite a good result, a six-try (48-18) demolition of the Southern Kings last week, there were still a number of areas of their game that were not spot on.

"Against the Sharks you need good set pieces, a good base from which you can get out of your area and launch attacks - that [setting a good platform] will be vital on Saturday," Ludeke said.

He felt that this is one of those games that bring out the best in the players from both side.

While the Bulls have been good this year at avoiding lapses in concentration, Saturday an 80-minute effort will be even more crucial - as the Sharks are past masters in exploiting lapses.

"I feel that most of the games we were competitive for the full 80 minutes and there were no real soft moments," Ludeke told this website.

"Last week we made a couple of errors and the Kings never stopped playing. There was a period just before the break - when they scored a good try - and they asked some tough questions of us.

"That is something we welcome as a team, because we know it will take an 80-minute effort [against the Sharks] on Saturday.

"In our last encounter against them in Durban [an 18-16 win for the Bulls in atrocious conditions] the guys were switched on for 80 minutes and it will need to be the same this Saturday."

Despite the big win the Bulls feel their finishing let them down in the second half.

"It was a reasonably disciplined performance [just nine penalties], but the scrum was an issue again," the coach said.

"We made that a focus this week.

"It is all about the quality of the possession we make available [to the backs]. It is vital to deliver quality possession [to the backs].

"Then, on defence we would like to be a more accurate [with only a 76 percent success rate in the tackle execution last week]. On the advantage line we will have to work very hard for 80 minutes - we have to stop their momentum."

By Jan de Koning

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