Pretoria - With both teams chasing a semi-final berth, the Blue Bulls have done the necessary home work on the Pumas, coach Frans Ludeke said ahead of their do-or-die clash at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday.
"Going to Nelspruit it is important to look at why teams have struggled there and facets didn’t work for them," Ludeke said at the team announcement in Pretoria on Tuesday.
"You have to be accurate at the breakdowns as they are a direct team…so it will be an important battle."
Ludeke, who was in a privileged position to select a full-strength side, made only two rotational changes to the team that beat the Free State Cheetahs 31-22 in Bloemfontein over the weekend.
Hooker Callie Visagie was inserted into the starting line-up in place of Bongi Mbonambi, while Rudy Paige would take over the scrumhalf duties from Piet van Zyl.
"I think this is the best continuity we’ve had ahead of any game this season, where there are usually one or two injuries."
Ludeke said the gutsy display against the Cheetahs, where they snatched a late victory, was a testament to his team's desire to make the playoffs.
"It was a close game that could have gone either way but we never gave up and credit to the players that showed how much they would like to remain in the competition."
Ludeke said although they were desperate to advance to the semi-finals, they would not look past this weekend's clash.
"We don’t talk top four, this weekend is the only focus and this is the vital one, all our preparations this week was to be more accurate."
"It was the first time we’ve beaten them since 2008 away in the Currie Cup that just shows how they stuck it out and worked for what they want."
Bulls captain Deon Stegmann said from the video analysis of the Pumas' games this season, that it was clear that they would have a tough battle on their hands in the Mpumalanga capital.
"We did a lot of video work on them, they are a very direct team and physical, so we know it is going to be big battle for us," Stegmann said.
"We are definitely not expecting an easy battle because they are also in the running for a semi-final spot and they will keep that in the back of their heads."Teams:
15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige,, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellet, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jesse Kriel