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    Marais: Bulls are in a good space

    2017-03-30 14:08

    Cape Town - Bulls coach Nollis Marais insists his squad is in a good space despite one win from four this season and nobody giving them a chance against the Chiefs in Hamilton this Saturday. 

    The Bulls' only Super Rugby victory came against the Sunwolves at Loftus in round 4, while they have come unstuck against the Stormers, Cheetahs and then the Blues last weekend. 

    It hasn't been the easiest of draws for the Pretoria-based franchise - the Sunwolves game is the only fixture they have played at home so far in 2017 - but they haven't looked a side capable of ruffling any feathers in this competition. 

    Now, with Marais coming under increased pressure, they must face the in-form Chiefs on their own stomping ground.

    But Marais insists that this Bulls side is still in a good frame of mind despite the criticism from back home and the poor results. 

    "Apart from what everybody says at the moment, the side is in a good space," he said from New Zealand.

    "They (the players) are taking the losses hard. They know as a union what their responsibilities are to the community. They know what the things are they need to fix.

    "The guys are very positive. There is a lot of belief in this side. We know that there are still small things that are costing us and the only thing we can do as a team is control that."

    Marais believes that the work put in by the Bulls throughout pre-season will pay off at some point. 

    "Obviously in the beginning of the season there was a lot of expectations," he said.

    "We're not in any dream world as to where we are. We know we need to come out and perform and make our mistakes right."

    And, says Marais, there is no reason to think that it can't click this weekend.

    "Nobody gives us a chance at the moment to beat the Chiefs, and we accept that," he said.

    "Our last few performances do not indicate that we're in good form at the moment. But the side has a lot of confidence heading into the weekend.

    "We believe that any team can beat any other team on the weekend. For us it's just to make sure we go out and play.

    "They're a very good side ... the top New Zealand side. They punish you from everywhere if you make mistakes and give them ball. They're an excellent side."

    Kick-off on Saturday is at 08:35.

    Teams:

    Chiefs

    15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi

    Substitutes: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Solomon Alaimalo

    Bulls

    15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Nick de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman

    Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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