Bulls need a ‘full house’ at home

The Bulls will take the next week to “mentally recharge”, before taking on the crucial final leg of their Super 14 campaign.

However, they readily acknowledge that it will take a “monumental effort” in which they will have to win all four their remaining matches on South African soil in order to qualify for the play-offs.

After arriving back from a relatively successful Australasian tour on Sunday – which ended in a disappointing 17-9 loss to the Hurricanes, after three wins from their previous four matches – the players and management were given off the entire week.

According to coach Heyneke Meyer the players will still have “individual programmes” to work on this week, but they need to mentally recharge their batteries ahead of the crucial final leg.

The Bulls are still in with a very good shot of making the play-offs.

They are on 22 points after nine weeks and face the Stormers, Lions, Blues and Reds after their bye week – with three of those matches at Loftus Versfeld and the Lions at Ellis Park.

Four wins, even without bonus points, will put them on 38 points – the same number that saw them sneak into the play-offs last year.

And that, according to the coach, is the magical number.

“Four wins out of four is the absolutely minimum requirement if we want to get into the play-offs,” Meyer told this website.

“We realise it will be a very tall order, considering the quality of the opposition we are facing. But we know we have our destiny in our own hands and simply have to win all the remaining games,” he added.

The good news for the Bulls is that a host of sidelined players will be available when they start the final stretch against the Stormers on April 14.

All 25 players who were part of the final week of the tour are fit and ready, while centre JP Nel has served his three-match suspension and will also be back in the mix.

Fullback Johan Roets has recovered from the knee injury that saw him return home early from the tour and will also be available for selection.

In a further boost there is a good chance that Springbok loose forward Pierre Spies could be considered for the last four matches, while loose forward Johan Wasserman will also be in the mix.

Meyer said he still regards the tour as a success, despite the disappointing loss to the Hurricanes at the weekend.

“Yes, we would have loved to have ended the tour on a winning note, but three victories are still the best by a South African team,” Meyer said.

“The biggest disappointment is perhaps the fact that we did not collect a even a bonus point against the Hurricanes.

“I felt victory was within our grasp, but on the day they adjusted much better to what was some very testing conditions. But we are not going to look for excuses. We are looking ahead to the last four matches and what we need to do to get into the play-offs,” he added.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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