It’s great to have Super Rugby back at Loftus Versfeld. During the off-season many locals didn’t really know what to do with their weekends, but now they have their leisure time mapped out for the next few months.
We had a long, productive pre-season and are now excited to experience our first 80 minutes of Super Rugby in 2013. Our opener against the Stormers represents an opportunity for our hours of intense training to bear some fruits.
Having Victor Matfield in a full-time coaching role at the Bulls has been very good for the whole team. He brings a wealth of experience and knows the oval game inside-out, so is able to assist both the forwards and backs.
We know that the Stormers have a great defence and are a quality side all over the park, so it’s key that we execute accurately on Friday night.
We pride ourselves on our set-pieces and always set high standards when it comes to first-phase ball.
The Stormers will definitely be strong challengers again this season. Last year they didn’t have as much player depth as they do now and still won the South African Conference.
The additions of Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute certainly bring a different element to their attack. I think that the Stormers may have a few different ploys in place come game time.
I believe we have a good balance to our side and a core of experienced players to cope with what lies in store for us this season.
From a personal point of view, I set high standards for myself and just want to be the best I can be, so that I can contribute towards a great season for the Bulls.
It’s always crucial to win your home games in Super Rugby, so a winning start against the Stormers will build momentum. That said, we are aware of the significant challenge the men from the Cape pose.
I definitely see the game being a tightly-contested encounter, but hopefully we can score a couple of tries.
It will be interesting to see how the game unfolds with the new law variations being trialled. The new laws are being implemented in order to improve the quality and speed of the game.
One of the new laws stipulate that the ball needs to be cleared from the ruck within five seconds, which I believe will increase the pace of the game. Conditioning is everything in modern day rugby.
When it comes to the issue of altitude, in my view that’s all in the mind. I believe that visiting teams these days are able to adapt to that factor quite quickly from a physical standpoint.
Hopefully the players abide by the new laws and the referees in turn are consistent in their application. If this proves to be the case, there is a good chance that all involved will reap the rewards.
Pierre Spies is captain of the Bulls and is a three-time winner of Super Rugby. Follow him on Twitter @Pierrespies8.
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