'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, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14