'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
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19