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    Bulls move into playoff places

    2016-04-11 11:30

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - Things can change quickly in Super Rugby. 

    The Sharks have gone from being undefeated in four matches to winless in their last three, and as a result they have slipped off the pace in the race for playoff positions. 

    It is early days yet, but with a three-week tour of New Zealand up next for Gary Gold's men, the Lions will be quietly confident of holding on to top spot in their conference with their overseas tour already complete.

    The Lions' win in Durban on Saturday means that they leapfrog the Sharks in the second African conference, but the Bulls have also benefited from the Sharks' poor run of form.

    Adriaan Strauss and co were victorious again over the weekend - this time in Port Elizabeth against the Kings. 

    The result means that the Bulls have now gone five matches without losing since their opening day defeat at Newlands.

    And, more significantly, the Bulls now move into the wildcard playoff position that goes to the third ranked team in the South African group as the Sharks slip to fourth.

    The Bulls have struggled to win over critics this season, but Saturday's performance was a far more polished one.

    At one stage the Bulls were down to 13 men and were made to defend a barrage of Kings attacks on their own try line, while with ball in hand they were dangerous as they ran in six unanswered tries.

    All of a sudden things are looking a little more promising for the men from up north, but coach Nollis Marais is not getting carried away.

    "We don’t even look at the play-offs, we’ve got so many other things that we want to sort out," said Marais after the Kings win.

    "It’s a young side and I don’t want them to focus on that.

    "Obviously that’s our goal from the beginning but I’m going to make sure that every week we’re getting better and better and then the play-offs will come by themselves.

    "For us it’s just focusing on ourselves and the next team. There’s so many games still to come."

    Strauss, meanwhile, praised his charges for the performance they put in on Saturday.

    "There are always things that you can improve on  but I think overall we’re pleased," he said.

    "Character is something that you can’t coach and I think the guys showed that tonight when there were 13 on the field and six in the scrum.

    "The guys put up their hands and it was an honour for me to play today with players like that."

    The Bulls host the Reds this weekend before embarking on their own three-week tour where they will play the Force, Brumbies and Waratahs.

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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, 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, 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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