Get the Sport24 daily newsletter delivered to your Inbox!


    It's all about winning for Bulls

    2016-05-04 21:30

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - A common theme to emerge from Bulls coach Nollis Marais's press conferences throughout the season has been a desire to show improvement every week. 

    It is a cliche that rivals the likes of "we'll take it game by game", "it's important not to get carried away" and "we're focusing on ourselves, not the opposition". 

    But, in this particular case, Marais can be forgiven for talking in cliches because the Bulls are the one South African side that actually has shown constant improvement throughout the season. 

    A loss on the opening weekend in Cape Town has been followed by seven straight matches without defeat - a draw and six wins. 

    It has been enough to catapult the Bulls into serious playoff contention, and the overall improvement was there for all to see when Friday's 42-20 win over the Force gave the Bulls their first win in Australasia in 12 attempts.  

    Marais has also been vocal on his side's willingness to play a more attacking brand of rugby, and that too was visibly clear in the Force win.

    Jan Serfontein's first try, in particular, showed how far the Bulls have moved away from their traditional forwards-driven style when fullback SP Marais started a counter-attack from inside his own 22m area. 

    But the task for the Bulls gets significantly more difficult this weekend when they take on the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday. 

    For the time being, how the Bulls win is not as important to Marais as them winning. 

    "There are certain things that we are trying to improve on every week, but for us it’s just winning at the moment," he said from Sydney on Tuesday.

    "You win on tour by keeping it simple and keeping it close with a good all-round game.

    "If you get intimidated by your opposition then you won’t win so the guys must just believe in themselves and play.

    "It’s always going to be difficult to beat them down there. In the last three matches we’ve lost here. For us it’s going to be a challenge but we’re looking forward to it."

    One piece of good news for the Bulls is that the Brumbies are on the ropes somewhat, having lost three of their last four. 

    But Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss has seen enough over the years to know that his side is in for a major test, particularly up front. 

    "The set phases - lineouts, scrums - are definitely one of their strengths," said Strauss.

    "They’ve got a very strong maul and their first phase play from the lineout mauls is exceptional so it’s going to be tough.

    "It’s going to be a different challenge. I was very proud, our pack of forwards really put up their hands (against the Force) and we’re going to have to do it again this weekend."

    Marais has announced an unchanged starting lineup for the clash.

    Kick-off on Friday is at 11.45.



    15 Aidan Toua, 14 Robbie Coleman, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nigel Ah Wong, 10 Christian Lealiifano (co-captain), 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (co-captain), 1 Scott Sio

    Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Les Leuluailii-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Blake Enever, 21 Jordan Smiler, 22 Joe Powell, 23 James Dargaville


    15 SP Marais, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane

    Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Lizo Gqoboko, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Dan Kriel

    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk


    23 February 2017
    • Rebels v Blues, AAMI Park 10:45
    24 February 2017
    • Highlanders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Reds v Sharks, Suncorp Stadium 11:00
    25 February 2017
    • Sunwolves v Hurricanes, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Brumbies, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Force, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Cheetahs v Lions, Toyota Stadium 15:05
    • Kings v Jaguares, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 17:15
    • Stormers v Bulls, Cape Town 19:30


    06 August 2016
    30 July 2016
    23 July 2016
    22 July 2016
    16 July 2016
    15 July 2016
    09 July 2016
    08 July 2016
    02 July 2016
    01 July 2016
    29 May 2016
    28 May 2016
    27 May 2016
    21 May 2016
    20 May 2016
    14 May 2016
    13 May 2016
    07 May 2016
    06 May 2016
    30 April 2016
    29 April 2016
    24 April 2016
    23 April 2016
    22 April 2016
    16 April 2016
    15 April 2016
    09 April 2016
    08 April 2016
    03 April 2016
    02 April 2016
    01 April 2016
    27 March 2016
    26 March 2016
    25 March 2016
    19 March 2016
    18 March 2016
    12 March 2016
    11 March 2016
    05 March 2016
    04 March 2016
    27 February 2016
    26 February 2016

    Opinion Poll

    Jake White will leave his job as Montpellier coach next year. Where would you like to see the former Springbok coach, coach next?

    The ultimate Super Rugby quiz!

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.