Bulls relish Kings challenge
Johannesburg - The Bulls are looking forward to taking on the Kings in Port Elizabeth in front of a full-house as "it brings the best out of" their players, reports the supersport.com website.
Coach Frans Ludeke welcomed the challenge that will be presented this weekend when the Bulls become the second South African side to venture to the Eastern Cape to take on the Kings.
And given the high the Kings are on at the moment, it isn’t a wonder that many Bulls fans will be more than a tad concerned at the tricky fixture.
True, not many would have given the Kings much of a chance a few weeks ago, but a win and a draw on tour meant they scored more points on tour than the Bulls did in their overseas journeys.
The Bulls may have had a much tougher tour, but as they admitted after the Cheetahs game, it is an extremely tough task to face a team high on confidence and with momentum.
The sold-out nature of Saturday’s game will add spice to the fixture, with the Kings looking to follow up their win against the Rebels with a scalp of a big South African conference.
The Bulls need the five points on offer to move a step further into contention and after “doing what we had to” to beat the Cheetahs this weekend, will be looking to improve their performance in the Eastern Cape.
Ludeke said he called it at the beginning of the season when he said the Kings would not be a pushover.
“I called it then, and I know their coaches well. They are quality and have great structures. Their achievements are what you want for SA Rugby - they put pressure on the overseas sides,” Ludeke said.
“But we’re looking forward to the contest. It is sold out and that makes it extra special. It will bring the best out of our players on the night and we like that sort of challenge.”
The Bulls have been hampered by low-key preparations thus far as 11 players are at the Bok squad. Wednesday’s training session will be of vital importance to sort out the small adjustments needed to take on the Kings as it will also be the first time that the entire squad would have been able to train together.
Ludeke did say the players would have to be managed well so they have a “full tank” when facing the Kings.
Wednesday will also see if both scrumhalves - Francois Hougaard and Jano Vermaak - have recovered from their respective injuries enough to be considered for the side. Ditto for Bjorn Basson, who also returns from an ankle injury. Hougaard missed five weeks because of his ankle injury and Vermaak had a minor hamstring tear this past weekend, sustained against the Cheetahs.
The Bulls will also name their team to play on Wednesday, although few other changes are expected other than those returning from injury.