Bull run to continue

The Bulls, desperate to end their five-match Australasian tour on a winning note, will not deviate from the structure, defence-orientated game that has already brought them three wins in four starts in the past month.

Bulls captain Victor Matfield, speaking ahead of his team’s encounter with the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday, said “it is vital” that they win at the weekend.

“If we are serious about reaching the play-offs, then this game is very important,” Matfield told this website.

“There’s a host of teams hot on our heels and the Force have a game in hand as well. It is certainly a crucial game for us,” he said – pointing out that six teams are within six points of them.

He said the fact that they could become the first South African team to win four games on tour and win back-to-back games in New Zealand for the first time is not foremost on their minds right now.

The Bulls became the first South African side to win three matches on an Australasian tour when they beat the Highlanders last week.

But rewriting the history books is not important for the Bulls captain.

“I’m not big on records, those are things that come and go.

“What is more important for us is that we want to get into a semi-final and do really well.

“As I said, if we want to keep our destiny in our own hands, then we must win this weekend. If we lose then we have to start hoping that other teams lose or depend on some other teams to win. So it is vital that we win and ensure our destiny remains in our own hands.”

Matfield said his team will have to play a disciplined and structured game against the Hurricanes.

He also dismissed the notion that after four straight defeats – including three on the road – and the fact that they have travelled back from South Africa (while the Bulls have been in New Zealand for a few weeks already) will affect the Hurricanes.

He said the Hurricanes remain a world class outfit with a host of All Blacks in their midst.

“Their big strength is definitely their loose forwards. They are all All Blacks and were part of the reconditioning World Cup squad. That shows the class they have,” Matfield said.

“Like against any New Zealand team you can’t afford to let the play become scrappy and you can’t afford any turnovers.

“They have some incredible runners and steppers, so you have to keep the game as structured as possible,” the Bulls captain added.

Matfield said the Bulls’ defence, one of the most pleasing aspects of their game this past month, will again be crucial in Wellington on Saturday.

“Our defence is very good at the moment. Against the Crusaders we slipped, but all three the other games on tour we won through our defence.

“What has also been great is that we took the opportunities that came our way. We managed to get points on the board and build an innings.”

Matfield said the fact that the Bulls have a core of players who have been together for some time is also playing a big role in their current run.

“It is a fact that if you want to do well you need a core group of players with experience and that is coming through [in the Bulls’ side] now.

“It is about the little things, making the right calls at crucial stages. The more often you find yourself in those situations the more often you will make the right calls,” he added.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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