Bulls: No complacency
Johannesburg - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke knows his team’s fortunes could change in the short space of a week, and will caution his men against complacency when they meet the Blues in a Super Rugby match in Pretoria on Saturday.
“I think the great thing about the Super Rugby competition is that every week you need to be there, only 100 percent is good enough,” said Ludeke.
While the Blues have lost the first two matches on the trot, it is not a true reflection of the dangers they pose in the competition.
The Bulls have been the most impressive of the South African teams since the start of the season and were launched into the log-leading position after a rampant 51-19 victory over the Cheetahs last weekend.
Despite conceding 18 penalties to the seven that went against the hosts, and attacking less than their opponents, the Bulls won in convincing style.
Ludeke, however, said his side would not dwell on the result but rather take the confidence from the victory into the Blues encounter.
“We were fortunate to have good results the first two weeks - that was really a confidence builder going into this match,” Ludeke said.
“They are a quality side with a lot of international players, so we are really looking forward to it.”
The Bulls have won both of their matches so far, and will play the Blues for the first time since 2010.
While the Blues are leading the charge with eight victories in the two sides’ last 13 head-to-head matches, their record at Loftus Versfeld is far less impressive.
Their last victory in Pretoria dates back to 2003 when they beat the Bulls 56-28 en route to the last of their three Super Rugby titles.
“They are a team that carry the ball, they play with confidence, and are not afraid to use their skills in contact to get the ball away to a player in space,” said Ludeke.
“The Blues have a balanced team, the way they play varying their play well with kicks, and they can also play direct.
“They have a good pack of forwards which creates the right platform for them.”
The Bulls will hope to finish this phase of their campaign on a high as they will have a bye next weekend, before they take on defending Super Rugby champions, the Reds a week later.
Spectators are almost guaranteed to see expansive running rugby when these two sides meet, and Blues captain Keven Mealamu expected nothing less for Saturday’s clash.
In their last three visits to Pretoria, the Blues have conceded four or more tries on each occasion, which augurs well for the Loftus faithful.