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Smith: Bulls no longer boring

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 11:58
Wayne-smith-chiefs
We're up against the best line-out
Quote-end

Not only must the Chiefs deal with the Bulls' fearsome physicality, but also with their ever-improving expansive game.

The Chiefs, struggling to come to terms with their uncharacteristically flat performance against the Western Force in Perth last week, travel to Pretoria where they will take on a Bulls team that dismantled the table-topping Sharks.

Chiefs assistant coach Wayne Smith, who said they had been brutal in their assessment of the poor performance that led to their Super Rugby upset loss to the Force, warned about assumptions that the Bulls were just a forward-oriented team.

"They've actually moved the ball quite a bit and have got quite a potent backline," Smith told the New Zealand media in the build-up to their Loftus Versfeld outing on Saturday.

"They're quite a multi-faceted team."

One positive to come from the Force game was the lack of further injuries to a squad badly hit in both pre-season and early season, with all players on tour this week available for selection, despite a hamstring strain keeping Tim Nanai-Williams out of training.

He felt that if the Chiefs go into the match against the Bulls as they did against the Force they would be a "no show".

"We've been pretty brutal about that with the team, so we've just got to prove we can get back to the levels that make us proud and go from there."

The Chiefs' set-piece play, in particularly the line-out, has been an ongoing area of concern this season and the Force exploited that with their driving play from that platform, also an area of strength for the Bulls.

"We're going to be up against the best line-out in the competition and with probably the best line-out forward in the world running it in Victor Matfield, so that's a huge challenge for our forwards.

"But we've had a lot of these challenges before and what we do know about this team is that there's plenty of character . . . we've just got to execute better under pressure. It'll come."

Smith said the Chiefs could not afford to give "dumb" penalties away virtually anywhere on the field because the Bulls would kick to the corners and drive from the resulting line-outs.

Source: Fairfax NZ News

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