Force keen on some Bulls beef

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:04
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With the stinging barbs of Jacques Potgieter still ringing in their ears, the Bulls now face another former teammate with a point to prove.

With the stinging barbs of Jacques Potgieter still ringing in their ears, the Bulls now face another former teammate with a point to prove.

Potgieter, after being a key player in the Waratahs' win over the Bulls in Sydney at the weekend, was not holding back and gave his former teammates a good send-off.

"I will say Australian teams have a little bit more skill," Potgieter said in his post-match television interview.

Bulls captain Flip van der Merwe was obviously not impressed.

"I can't say that, we had a lot of scrums from their knock-ons so you can't really say they're more skilful," was the Bulls skipper's retort.

However, lurking in the shadows is Wilhelm Steenkamp - a player who collected 30-odd Super Rugby caps with the Bulls and captained them at age-group level.

Steenkamp, like Potgieter, is one of 20-odd senior players who departed Pretoria in the last two years.

While they all departed with the "blessings" of the Bulls management, Steenkamp was obviously frustrated at not getting a regular starting spot in Pretoria - which is what has been afforded him in Perth.

While Steenkamp has, so far, been quiet about his face-off with the Bulls, veteran Force prop Kieran Longbottom made no secret of the fact that they are keen to get hold of some Bulls beef.

The Force, fresh from the disappointing loss to the Rebels at the weekend which ended a five-match winning streak, are determined to remain in the play-off race.

Currently in fifth place, four points and positions ahead of the Bulls, Saturday's encounter in Perth will be crucial to both teams.

"They're a big pack with big boys, they've always been that way," Longbottom said, when asked at a media briefing for his thoughts on the Bulls.

"But we've just got to meet that challenge and front up physically."

One of the Force's biggest concerns centres around the scrums, where they had a torrid time against the Rebels last week.

Longbottom, who is set to play his 50th Super Rugby game for the Western Force, felt they could cope with whatever the Bulls throw at them.

"I'm going to put it down to an off week," the born-and-bred West Australian said about the encounter with the Rebels.

"It's nothing we can't fix in a week. All we've got to do is pull tight as an eight [eight-man pack] and work harder together and we will get a better result."

Longbottom admitted the Bulls' scrum will be a different animal to what they encountered in Melbourne last week.

"You just need to have that adaptability to counter it on the day, attack it and deal with it," admitting that SA teams always have massive scrums.

"It is a good challenge, because we can really focus our minds on it. We know it is going to be tough, so we know we have to focus 100 percent - it is a big challenge I know we can bet up for."

Longbottom knows that Steenkamp has a few other South Africans that will be very familiar with the Bulls' style of play - midfielder Marcel Brache, flyhalf Sias Ebersohn and loose forward Brynard Stander.

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Fri, 16 October 2015
Blue Bulls v Western Province 17h10 Pretoria
Connacht v Zebre 18h30 Sportsground
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 18h35 Scotstoun
Scarlets v Leinster 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 18h45 Sixways
Edinburgh v Ulster 18h45 BT Murrayfield
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Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 17 October 2015
Munster v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Irish Independent Park
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Recreation Ground
Saracens v Sale Sharks 13h00 Allianz Park
Treviso v Ospreys 13h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
South Africa v Wales 15h00 Twickenham
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 15h05 Johannesburg
New Zealand v France 19h00 Millennium Stadium
Sun, 18 October 2015
Ireland v Argentina 12h00 Millennium Stadium
London Irish v Leicester Tigers 14h15 Madejski Stadium
Australia v Scotland 15h00 Twickenham
Sun, 11 October 2015
United States v Japan 18 | 28
France v Ireland 9 | 24
Italy v Romania 32 | 22
Argentina v Namibia 64 | 19
Sat, 10 October 2015
England v Uruguay 60 | 3
Australia v Wales 15 | 6
Golden Lions v Griquas 29 | 19
Samoa v Scotland 33 | 36
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 34 | 34
Fri, 09 October 2015
New Zealand v Tonga 47 | 9
Western Province v EP Kings 45 | 14
Pumas v Blue Bulls 24 | 25
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26