Bulls ring the changes for Blues clash
Eden Park has never been a happy hunting ground for the Bulls.
The past two matches have returned negative results but Bulls captain Pierre Spies said their bad record at New Zealand’s premier rugby ground served as motivation for them to win.
The last two encounters at Eden Park tell a different story, though, with 23-21 and 32-17 defeats coming at the hands of the Blues.
“We’ve played some good games here and we haven’t won. We have to play 80 minutes of good rugby against a quality Blues team, which has been excellent in the past two weeks of the tournament,” he said.
“We know the job at hand and hopefully we can pull it off on Sunday.”
The Bulls were not spectacular in their 36-26 win against the Force on Saturday, but a raft of changes have been made for Sunday morning’s clash (local time).
In all, seven changes have been made with the emphasis on containing the breakdown threat the Blues pose.
It is a facet that Bulls captain Pierre Spies said demanded improvement.
“There will be a difference with Deon Stegmann and a guy like him will make a difference,” he said.
“Against the Force, the whole team might not have focused on the breakdown but in our preparations we addressed that.”
For a team that shipped in the most tries in the New Zealand conference last season, the Blues defence has been beyond stingy.
Not many sides can boast keeping a team with the attacking talents of the Crusaders tryless but they did so with some ease.
Spies acknowledged the improvement in the quality of the Blues but said they will bring their best game.
“Its a long season but we have come here with our own plans,” he said.
“We have to be ready for what we want to do and there are challenges lying ahead of us.”
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morné Mellett
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Jürgen Visser