Cheetahs hope to make history
Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs are searching for their first ever Super Rugby victory over the Bulls when they host the visitors at Free State Stadium, in Bloemfontein, on Saturday.
While the Bulls are the slight favourites on paper, the Cheetahs are on the back of impressive wins and enjoying their best run of form ever in the competition.
The leading South African teams have each won nine games thus far.
"What makes the Bulls so dangerous is that they drive from the lineouts when you kick the ball out, and they kick it back if you don't," said Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske.
"And in Bjorn Basson and Lionel Mapoe they have two of the best aerial players in world rugby.
"You can't get around that and need to face one of those options eventually."
Drotske said the hosts had made plans to counter the Bulls' tactical kicking as they viewed this as one of the visiting side's strong points.
"We also need to be at our best with regards to discipline," he said.
"If we do that, we take away Morne Steyn's goal kicking abilities."
The Cheetahs came close to beating the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld earlier this season, but two tries against the run of play robbed them of their first ever Super Rugby victory over the Pretoria team.
"We have to be patient and not have any soft moments," Drotske said.
"In our game at Loftus we were tactically very good, but we gave away two soft tries that took the game away from us.
"Now we focus on beating them in Bloemfontein. It's a season of firsts for us, so who knows."
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke believed both teams had improved since their last encounter and he expected a fierce battle for the gainline.
"The Cheetahs have improved a lot defensively, and they kick the most from broken field of all the teams because they kick and squeeze you for turnovers," Ludeke said.
"They are effective from that turnover ball to score tries, while they also have a competitive scrum and lineout."
While history did not favour his team, Drotske said the Cheetahs had reached a few milestones this season.
"We haven't beaten the Stormers before and we've done that this year," he said.
"We've never won three games on tour and we also accomplished that this season.
"Of course we have never been fourth on the overall log after 13 rounds of rugby so we are confident for this weekend."