Clash of philosophies at Loftus
Johannesburg - Two opposing playing philosophies will be put to the test when the Bulls and Chiefs meet in a Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
On the one hand, there are the Bulls who play a tactical kicking game and on the other, the Chiefs who avoid putting the ball to boot.
"If you look at the Chiefs, they are the team that kick the least in the competition, so they are dangerous if you give them the ball," said Bulls stand-in captain Victor Matfield.
"They hold the ball for a lot of phases, and they are the team that concede the least turnovers, although they keep the ball the most."
The Bulls will be eager to start their tour of Australasia next week on a positive note, with a victory over one of the leading teams in the competition.
The Chiefs' 61-17 humiliation at the hands of the Bulls in the 2009 Super14 final would be long forgotten after the tourists won the competition in both 2012 and 2013.
They pose a difficult challenge for the Bulls with three victories and one loss since the start of the season.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said while altitude may be an ally against visiting teams, he believed the Chiefs would be well-prepared for the game.
"The New Zealand sides in the past have toured well and all of them have a strategy but that is not our focus. We need to play well, we can't get into altitude talk," Ludeke said.
The hosts have recently found their straps and won three matches on the trot for a place among the top six.
Senior players like Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Matfield played an influential role in their resurgence and had led by example.
Matfield said it was crucial not to get sucked into a defensive mindset against a dangerous, attacking side.
"The Chiefs are very accurate with what they do. Firstly it is for us not to give them broken field, or if we give them broken field it must be on our terms, and the second thing is we need to create opportunities for ourselves to attack," he said.
"We can't just go out there and defend and make 200 tackles and only have the ball for 50 carries. We need to create opportunities on attack for ourselves so that they should defend as well."
While the match-ups between them are evenly poised, with the Chiefs having won eight of the last 16 games with one match ending in a stalemate, the Bulls have won four of their last five matches.