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Bjorn: We prefer underdog tag
Bjorn Basson (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - There may be those who feel the Bulls have a mountain to climb to win their Super Rugby qualifier in Christchurch this weekend, but winger Bjorn Basson isn’t one of them.
SuperSport.com reports that the Bok flyer arrived in the icy cold snow of the New Zealand South Island on Tuesday with his team-mates to take on what many across the Southern Hemisphere see as “mission impossible”.
It’s difficult to find anyone who thinks the Bulls will cause one of the upsets of the season - given the long journey, conditions and jetlag to travel halfway across the world and win in a city that no South African team has won in for more than a decade.
But that’s not something that rattles the quiet-spoken Basson. After all, his try against the Lions was his 10th of the season, breaking the Bulls season record of Bryan Habana and allowing him to share top spot in the try-scoring stakes with the Hurricanes' Andre Taylor.
There is no doubt though that the Bulls enter this game as underdogs. They will be heavily against the odds in Christchurch and will have to produce a compelling performance to beat the home side.
But that, in itself, is a new feeling for the Bulls side. For years they were one of the dominant teams in the competition, and to once again be written off by all and sundry is a different, if somewhat refreshing experience for the men in blue.
Basson is one of the new breed of Bulls that hasn’t won a Super Rugby championship - he replaced Habana after the Bok try-scoring record holder moved to the Cape and was one of the stars in a mixed 2011 season.
“I think we definitely are the underdogs this week,” Basson said, “but that is the way we prefer it. It’s all about handling the pressure and we are a team that back ourselves and goes from strength to strength.
“It is a new feeling for us though, but then again, given all the guys who left us at the beginning of the season, there were a lot of people out there who didn’t give us a chance of making it this far. We’ve proved them wrong and we’d like to do it again.”
Basson gets a bit shy when you mention the record, although he is known as one of the best finishers in the game, but while he likes crossing the whitewash, the winger wants to lay his hands on that Super Rugby trophy.
“It is a goal of mine - it motivates me to do well and to play at my best. Maybe this could be our year after all, who knows? As for the records, it’s a great feeling to know you’ve beaten a record, that’s why you play. It’s my goal to break records and if I can break a few more, I’m happy to do that this year.”
Rated as one of the best chasers of the high ball, the winger is set to get a lot of work this weekend in the cold air, but if his team-mates show as much belief as he does, the Bulls might just be in with a chance.