AS MUCH as they would like to bask in the afterglow of a superb victory over the Blues, the Bulls have no time for frivolity.
After all, their next test is against seven-time champions the Crusaders on Saturday.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies expects a focus on the line-out, which happens to be his team’s most reliable springboard to making inroads.
“The line-outs will be a huge focus for them and sure they’ll be trying to disrupt our ball. Line-outs are important to us. It gives us a base from which to attack,” Spies said about an area under the supervision of Victor Matfield, a line-out master.
The Bulls have lost none of their prowess in that department, having seen just four out of more than 40 of their own feeds going to the wrong hands this year.
Spies knows that more areas of their game will fall under scrutiny this weekend against opponents who probe relentlessly for pressure points.
“The Crusaders are good at the primary phases. They place pressure all over. They have world-class players and they have a good kicking game. They are a quality team,” said Spies.
There is also the small matter of a Crusaders backlash after they suffered defeats to the Blues and the Hurricanes. “They won’t be happy with their results, especially the last one which was in their grasp and they let it slip. I’m sure their preparation will be good. It will be tough, perhaps even tougher than Eden Park.
“People here did notice our win, but they realise this is a new week and a new challenge.”
The Bulls will go into the match with the same line-up bar left wing Lionel Mapoe, who misses out due to a shoulder injury. His place goes to Jurgen Visser, who usually operates in the last line of defence but earned a call-up in anticipation of aerial skills in the back three being a prerequisite this weekend. The gifted Jan Serfontein replaces Visser on the bench.
Meanwhile, the Southern Kings have been given valuable “inside information” on how to topple the Chiefs and blunt their try-hungry back line in their showdown at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday night.
New Zealander Hadleigh Parkes, who played with some of the Chiefs players at school level, has shared his thoughts on how the Kings can upset them.
“In this game we have to be connected defensively and not be standoffish. But we must not rush up on them, because that is what they like. They like one-on-one confrontations. If you get out of line you get a staggered line and that is when they get their steps going and they try to beat defenders because they back themselves to do that,” Parkes said.
With George Byron