Bulls aim for ‘total rugby’ jackpot

The Bulls acknowledge that victory is first and foremost on their list of priorities when they tackle the Stormers in a Super 14 crunch match on Saturday.

However, the Bulls’ vice-captain, Fourie du Preez, has revealed that they hope to produce the brand of “total rugby” that they know they are capable off when they go head-to-head with their arch rivals, the Stormers, at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

The Bulls are often criticised as a one-dimensional team of bullies who are incapable of playing anything but a forward-orientated game.

Du Preez feels this is a tag unfairly attached to the Pretoria outfit and something they would like to shed.

But first they must secure the win to ensure they keep their play-off aspirations alive.

“We would like to produce more of a total game,” Du Preez told this website.

“We are certainly working on our overall structure. We would like to bring all the aspects of our game together on one day and produce that total game.

“Obviously victory is first and foremost, because we are still trying to get a place in the play-offs. So our first objective is to play winning rugby.

“However, we have showed the ability to score tries. We have scored three and four tries in a number of our games this season already, so we know what we can do. But first we must win and then we can look at the rest.”

Du Preez also revealed that the Bulls will not be distracted by the usual media sideshows that accompany these north versus south clashes.

“It is definitely a very big game for us,” he said about the fact that victory is non-negotiable if the Bulls are to remain in the play-off race.

“There is always tremendous pressure in these north versus south battles and a lot has been said in the media this wee.

“However, we are simply trying to focus on our own game.

“We want to correct the errors we made when we lost [to the Hurricanes, in Wellington] in our last outing.

“We are simply focusing on what we have to do and are not going to worry about what is being said in the media.

“We want to do our talking on the field on Saturday,” Du Preez added.

He also spoke about the need for the Bulls to string a series of results together in the final four weeks, something they have struggled to achieve this season.

The Bulls’ best run was three successive victories – against the Chiefs at home and two on the road, against the Brumbies and Waratahs, in Australia.

However, the rest of their campaign has been very much a win-lose-win-lose scenario.

“Most teams in the Super 14 this year have had their ups and downs, with the Blues the exception,” Du Preez said.

“I certainly don’t think it is just us that have struggled with consistency.

“We started showing good form and then we lost to the Western Force a couple of weeks before we went on tour, otherwise we would have had a really good run.

“However, it is a tough competition and it is not like the Currie Cup where you will win eight or nine games in a row. The world’s top provincial teams are up against each other and there are simply no easy games. Even the team last on the standings can, on any given day, pull off a good win against a top team,” he said.

By Jan de Koning

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