Bulls to decide on Flip

    2012-07-18 07:50
    Cape Town - The Bulls have to decide if they're going to pick lock Flip van der Merwe ahead of Wilhelm Steenkamp for their Super Rugby playoff against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

    The Bulls travelled to New Zealand with the same 22 players who beat the Lions 37-20 last week, plus Van der Merwe and prop Dawie Steyn.

    Van der Merwe was out with a hip injury and according to Beeld coach Frans Ludeke will make a decision on Wednesday whether or not to pick the Springbok in his starting team ahead of Steenkamp.

    That will be the only chance for a game which many believe will be a bridge too far for the men from Pretoria.

    The Crusaders have won 96 of their 117 home Super Rugby games since 1996 - staggering winning percentage of 82% - which puts into perspective the enormity of the task for Pierre Spies's men. The Bulls have played the Crusaders nine times in New Zealand, winning only once, in 1996.

    However, the Bulls will take heart from their recent playoff success against the Crusaders. They have beaten the New Zealanders in their last three playoff clashes, although all three encounters were played in South Africa.

    In 2007 the Bulls won the semi-final 27-12 at Loftus Versfeld; in 2009 they won 36-23 at Loftus, and in 2010 they ran out 39-24 victors at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

    The Crusaders won the 2006 semi-final 35-15 in Christchurch.

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