No playoff talk for Bulls

    2016-05-03 17:19

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - If the Bulls beat the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday, they will move to the top of the South African group in Super Rugby for the first time this season. 

    The Stormers - current leaders of the group - and Lions both have byes this weekend and have played a game more than the Bulls. 

    It is a scenario that didn't seem likely after the opening weekend of the Super Rugby season when the Bulls fell apart in the second half at Newlands to go down 33-9 to the Stormers.

    But despite looking less than impressive in the weeks that followed, the Bulls have not lost since Round 1 and are now undefeated in their last seven matches.

    A new-found willingness to attack without fear while remaining true to their traditional strengths has turned the Bulls into one of the more balanced South African franchises in the competition. 

    With the Sharks struggling to string together a sequence of positive results, the Bulls can at the very least expect to secure the wildcard playoff spot allocated to the third-placed team in the South African group. 

    But coach Nollis Marais is having none of it, and for him playoff talk will not be tolerated. 

    "My message is clear to the guys. I said to them that I don’t want to hear any talk about playoffs or anything like that ... I will be very upset," Marais said after his side's win against the Force in Perth on Friday.

    "We’re focusing on game for game. It’s a long season still for us and a lot of things that need to be put in place. It’s a young side and we want to be better every week and that’s our focus.

    "The guys just want to play. They’re a young side. I think for 12 of the guys this is the first time they have been to Australia."

    Instead of looking too far ahead, Marais was mindful of the enormity of the task at hand this weekend.

    "They’re (Brumbies) an excellent side," he said.

    "If you don’t play very well against them you can very quickly concede 50 points in Canberra so we’re just focusing on what we have to do."

    Kick-off on Friday is at 11.45. 

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    • Blues v Highlanders, Eden Park 08:35
    Saturday, 23 March 2019
    • Hurricanes v Stormers, Westpac Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Crusaders, Sydney Cricket Ground 10:45
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    • Bulls v Chiefs, Loftus Versfeld 15:05
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