Durban - Sharks flyhalf Patrick Lambie
is expecting an aerial bombardment at Kings Park, in Durban, when they square up against the log-leading Bulls in their crunch Super Rugby encounter on Saturday.
The clash is another do-or-die contest for the hosts, who must win to stay alive in the competition or face the prospect of playing three further games with only pride on the line.
John Plumtree’s men were 10th on the overall log and third in the SA conference ahead of the weekend fixtures, while the Bulls were laying second overall and first in the domestic standings.
“The aerial tactic is one that they use and use really well," Lambie said ahead of the clash.
"Their kicking game is extremely effective and we expect to be spending time catching some high balls this week.
“If we can stop their momentum and their driving lineouts, and try to disrupt their set-pieces, we’ll be in with a shout.”
The young Springbok star will come face-to-face with his rival for the number 10 national jersey, veteran Morné Steyn, one of the stand-out flyhalves in the competition this year.
“The Bulls are going really well at the moment, they’re getting good front-foot ball, their set-piece is functioning nicely,” Lambie said.
“Morné is kicking nicely and we’ll have to be at our best to stop him.”
He also insisted that everyone at the Sharks, who ended a five-match losing streak, last week when they beat the Force 23-13 in Perth, was well aware of what needed to be done in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
“We can only call our season successful if we win all of our remaining games,” Lambie said.
“We have four games and a bye left and if we can achieve that, we’ll hopefully be in with a chance of making the playoffs, even if it is in sixth spot.
“The Bulls, firstly, is a massive game, it’s a massive challenge. They’re leading the SA conference, so obviously the rewards are there for us to try and knock them over.
“The Sharks-Bulls clashes, regardless of the teams that are fielded, are always huge, so the boys understand the importance and we need to stand up.”
Bulls captain Pierre Spies
was also expecting a challenging tussle, despite the contrasting form of the two franchises.
The Pretoria side are unbeaten in their last five matches after a difficult start to the season.
“We expect nothing other than what a derby always delivers,” Spies said.
"It's a huge game for both teams. The Sharks are back from tour and they want to get their campaign back on track.
"Once again a game that won't be short of entertainment and it'll be a physical South African derby.”
Kick-off for the match is at 19:10.
15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Odwa Ndungane
, 13. Piet
Lindeque, 12. Meyer Bosman
, 11. Lwazi Mvovo
, 10. Patrick Lambie
Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel
(captain), 7. Willem Alberts
, 6. Marcell
Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3. Jannie du
Plessis, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Monde Hadebe, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Jandre Marais, 19. Jean Deysel,
20. Tera Mtembu, 21. Tian Meyer, 22. Sean RobinsonBulls:
Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht
, 12 Wynand Olivier
11 Bjorn Basson
, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard
, 8 Pierre Spies
(captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter
, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip
van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle
, 1 Dean Greyling
16 Willie Wepener, 17 Werner Kruger
, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha,
20 Jano Vermaak
, 21 Louis Fouché/Jan Serfontein
, 22 Lionel Mapoe