'Wet weather' Bulls plan for set piece battle

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:20

BIG NORTH-SOUTH DERBY: The extraordinary amount of rain to have hit Gauteng this week, proved to be an unwanted distraction for the Bulls.

However, given the challenge that awaits them at Newlands on Saturday, in the form of a motivated Stormers team, they had no choice but to remain focused on the job at hand.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais, speaking to rugby365 ahead of the season-opener in Cape Town, said he feels it will be a "massive set-piece battle" at Newlands.

"We haven't won at Newlands since 2011, so victory is a big issue for us," Marais said.

"We know how tough the Stormers are at home, but if we execute the things that we worked on in training it will be a big opportunity [to break that duck]."

He said the wet weather - which caused flooding - did not help their preparations.

He admitted the temptation was there to make adjustments in training for the weather, but because Saturday will be hot and dry in Cape Town they stuck to their guns.

"We continued to focus on how we want to play Saturday, despite the rainy conditions," he told rugby365.

"We paid attention to the things we can control, our own game.

"Yes, there were more errors [in training], but our focus was on what we want to do Saturday."

Although the Bulls would have like another warm-up match, Marais said the risk of injuries meant they settled for the pre-season hit-out against a young Lions team and the trip to Australia - where they beat the Chiefs in Brisbane and lost to the same Chiefs team in the semifinals of a 10s tournament.

"Based on that [15-a-side] game against the Chiefs [in Brisbane] I feel we are on the right track," the Bulls mentor said.

He added that in terms of injuries they are in a much better position than last year.

"[In 2016] we started the season with a host of serious injuries," he old rugby365, adding: "On top of that, in the next three weeks we will also get players like [captain] Adriaan [Strauss, back surgery], Jannes [Kirsten, shoulder surgery] and Arno [Botha, shoulder surgery] back from injury.

"Jan Serfontein [the Bok centre missing the trip to Cape Town] will also be back next week."

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10