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    Nollis warns Bulls of Lions firepower

    2016-05-23 21:41

    Johannesburg - The Vodacom Bulls may still be basking in the glory of their superb defensive effort to beat the Stormers this past weekend but their coach Nollis Marais has already warned them to come back down to earth before they face the high-flying Lions at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.

    According to the SuperSport, the Bulls coach warned his charges they would face a similar fate as the Jaguares “and would take 50 points” if they weren’t at their best against the Johannesburg team, who are hitting their straps at the right time in the tournament.

    Marais’ team produced an exceptional defensive performance to beat the Stormers on Saturday but against the most impressive South African attacking side they will need to do more than just tackle when the two sides meet.

    The Bulls’ coach called the Lions “awesome” and said his team had a massive challenge that awaited them this weekend.

    “The Lions are an awesome side, and they played well. They put 40 points on the Blues in the rain last week and again this week 50 points. We know we have to be at the top of our game if we want to beat them,” Marais said.

    “We’ve done work on them as well but we know if we want to beat them next weekend we will have to be up there for the full 80 minutes.

    “At the moment they are an awesome side. They were an awesome side in the Currie Cup last year, and they have one loss against the Hurricanes where they had an off day. We are looking forward to hosting them here at Loftus.”

    Consistency is something the Lions have also targeted, but Marais believes his team need to learn the lessons from their recent tour of Australia, where they followed a big win over the Force with disappointing losses to the Brumbies and Waratahs.

    It isn’t good enough to have one good performance for the Bulls coach. He wants them to repeat it this weekend.

    “The biggest thing for us, is that we played well against the Western Force, but we were brought to ground by the Brumbies and Waratahs,” Marais explained.

    “Our main focus was the Stormers, we lost 33-9 at Newlands at the beginning of the season, our fans took a pounding. It was important for us to send a message for our fans that we can win. We know what our focus is, we know how good the Lions are.

    “We know that if you don’t play well against a team like the Lions, we will take 50 points at Loftus. We will refocus on Monday and make sure we are humble. We will make sure we are ready for them.”

    The one pleasing aspect for the Bulls coach is that his team haven’t let their standards down this past weekend. The soft moments may be there but they’re not as apparent as in the beginning of the season.

    “We made some mistakes in the game still. We didn’t kick penalties out and other things. There are still soft moments at times, but it is a lot better than it was before,” Marais added.

    “If you look at the mistakes we made against the Rebels, they scored four tries. The Reds scored two quick tries. We don’t have that big dip in the game anymore. That will automatically make it better. That is what I mean when I talk about game management, the more often you are placed under pressure the more often you will be able to work your way out of them. We need to learn from this. We learnt from the Brumbies and Waratahs and it wasn’t nice, but we learnt from it.”

    They will need all those lessons to click if they are to get one over their neighbours this weekend.

    The biggest thing for us, is that we played well against the Western Force, but we were brought to ground by the Brumbies and Waratahs. Our main focus was the Stormers, we lost 33-9 at Newlands at the beginning of the season, our fans took a pounding. It was important for us to send a message for our fans that we can win. We know what our focus is, we know how good the Lions are. We know that if you don’t play well against a team like the Lions, we will take 50 points at Loftus. We will refocus on Monday and make sure we are humble. We will make sure we are ready for them.

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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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