Bulls look to bounce back
Pretoria - Having suffered three successive defeats on tour in Australia and New Zealand, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke says his side will be looking to bounce back and return to winning ways against the Cheetahs in their Vodacom Super Rugby derby clash on Saturday.
After claiming a well-deserved 28-21 victory over the Blues in their first week on tour, the Bulls were trounced by the Crusaders the following week and then narrowly missed out to the Reds and Brumbies.
Fresh off a bye last week, Ludeke said he was excited to be back at home, where the Pretoria side will need to pick up some valuable points, to play themselves back into playoff contention.
"We feel that we left some points on the road, but now we have a good stretch back home where we can play ourselves back into those important playoff positions," Ludeke said ahead of the clash at Loftus Versfeld.
"The rest did wonders to all and I am pleased with the way we prepared for this one."
The Bulls are in unfamiliar territory - ninth on the log and third in the South African conference - and face a Cheetahs side brimming with confidence, after a run of five successive victories - their best ever in the history of the franchise.
"They've scored 11 tries from broken play already. When teams make mistakes against them, they are accurate and punish them," Ludeke said.
"Game discipline is very important for us. If we have ball in hand, we need to be accurate, keep the ball and create pressure against them and convert that into points."
The Bulls were bolstered earlier this week by the return of two senior Springbok players for the clash, with injured winger Akona Ndungane, who fractured his eye socket against the Crusaders last month, and Flip van der Merwe returning to Ludeke's starting line-up.
Meanwhile, Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske played down his side's chances, preferring instead to consider themselves as underdogs for the fixture.
"Like we were against the Stormers (last week), we'll still be the underdogs against the Bulls," Drotske said.
"At Loftus, against the Bulls, I don't think the visitors are ever favourites.
"We haven't beaten the Bulls at Loftus in Super Rugby, but we'll keep on working hard."