Bulls strengths 'no secret'
Tue, 01 Apr 2014 09:16
There will be some selection headaches
Hurricanes lock James Broadhurst says he knows what the Bulls will bring to the game when the two sides meet in Napier on Saturday.
Broadhurst knows where the Bulls strengths lie but acknowledges that his side will have to be at their best to compete with and counter the Bulls' driving maul at the line-out, which was successful against the Chiefs last week.
The Bulls scored one try from a maul from the back of the line-out and received a penalty try from another, after it was collapsed, in their 34-34 draw against the Chiefs.
Victor Matfield and his pack dominated the line-out against the defending champions, winning 11 out of 11 of their own line-outs, and managed to disrupt on the Chiefs' throw by stealing their ball three times as well.
"I had a quick look at their game on the weekend and it's no secret what they bring," Broadhurst told Fairfax NZ News.
"We'll have to be pretty sharp with our lineout defence and our counter drive.
However, Broadhurst said the Hurricanes pack would be full of confidence after matching the Crusaders line-out run by All Black lock Sam Whitelock in their 29-26 win in Christchurch last week.
"Our line-outs were both 11 from 14 [against the Crusaders] so to be up there with them as one of the better lineouts in the competition is pretty satisfying.
"Competing in the air is one way of stopping it [the maul], so I think we'll have to be really on to it with that," Broadhurst added.
The Hurricanes got a boost this week when eightman Victor Vito, flank Brad Shields and prop Reggie Goodes were all cleared from injury and deemed fit and ready to join the squad for the clash against the Bulls.
The trio have yet to feature this season, but Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett could potentially rush Vito and Shields back into action for the meeting with the Bulls as two of the form players for the Hurricanes last season would add more options to their line-out to counter the men from Pretoria.
Whether he chooses to hand the powerful loose forwards (both of whom have recovered from knee injuries) a starting berth is yet to be decided, but either way Hammett is not concerned about their lack of game time leading up to their returns but more so about the selection headache it will bring.
"Victor and Brad are guys who are very game ready and skilful. They're not the types of players who need a lot of football under their belts," Hammett said.
"We've had Faifili [Levave] in form and Jack [Lam] playing out of his skin and Blade Thomson's been playing really well too.
"There will be some selection headaches, but they're good ones.
"One of the question marks around that will be is it worth bringing some freshness in after seven weeks on the trot or do we go with what we've got, those are the selection discussions we'll have, he said.
In the backline, there are doubts over the fitness of inside centre Tim Bateman, who suffered a shoulder injury in the win against the Crusaders, while wing Cory Jane could return from an ankle injury.
Bateman impressed against the Crusaders in his first game back from injury but could be ruled out once more if the shoulder complaint proves to be serious, and if he is Hammett is considering playing rampaging winger Alapati Leiua at inside centre - which would open up a spot on the wing for Jane.
"Potentially if Tim is out there might be a shuffle with Alapati into the midfield.
"Alapati had a slow start to the year but that's probably more due to how we've been going. We saw the calibre of player he is.
"One of his strengths is he's a great distributor and we know he's pretty ferocious defensively.
"We'll have to work out what's best for the group," Hammett added.
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