Cape Town - The Highlanders have never been a favourite Super Rugby opponent for the Bulls as they are the New Zealand team the men from Pretoria have won the least number of times against.
Since the start of South Africa's franchise system in 1998, the Bulls have only beaten the team from Otago four times in 14 matches. That is lower than their five wins over the Blues, also in 14 encounters, and the seven wins they’ve achieved over the Crusaders (from 19 matches), Chiefs (15 matches) and Hurricanes (14 matches).
What’s more, last year the Highlanders became the first team since April 2008 to beat the Bulls at home (in matches played at Loftus Versfeld and the Orlando Stadium), ending a 20-match home winning streak. That would surely fire up the team from Dunedin this weekend after they have lost their last two matches.
The Bulls arrived in Dunedin at the top of the log
and according to coach Frans Ludeke, they know what to expect on Saturday.
“We worked hard to be on top of the log, but the reality is that teams will be coming harder at us than before,” said Ludeke.
“The Highlanders had two disappointing results in their last outings and will come out to knock us over, no doubt.
“We have picked up good momentum from our Australian leg of our tour and can welcome back three experienced campaigners, so if we focus on our own game and play to our strengths, we will be competitive.”
Bulls flyhalf Morné Steyn, who will be playing in this 100th Super Rugby match, said: “This will be a great day for me, but the result will always come first. I have a certain task to do in the team environment and we play together as a team, so it should not be about me.
“It is great to reach 100 games and I will be the first Bulls player to achieve this milestone playing in pink,” the Springbok joked.Teams:Highlanders:
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 JJ Engelbrecht