Bulls ‘switch on’ for the Blues

Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer, in the build-up to his team’s crunch encounter with the Blues in Pretoria on Friday, said the team will need to be “mentally switched on” for a game that may well determine their Super 14 fate.

With a number of injuries to key players threatening to disrupt his team’s preparations, Meyer said the key this week is to keep the team “mentally fresh” and ensure they are in the right frame of mind for the game.

The biggest concerns in the Bulls camp are captain Victor Matfield (calf strain), fellow lock Bakkies Botha (knee) and fly-half Derick Hougaard (knee).

The Bulls coach confirmed that none of the trio were able to train on Monday, but added that he was not overly concerned and “hopeful” they will be cleared fit for Friday’s outing.

His biggest concern is to ensure the team switches on for the game.

With just two rounds remaining before the play-offs and the Bulls going head-to-head with the Blues in a match that may well determine who gets home ground advantage in the semi-finals, Meyer feels it is vital that his team “pitch up mentally” for every game.

“This stage of the season [the last few weeks] the mental pressure on the teams is enormous and a lot of our focus is on the mental preparation,” Meyer said.

He pointed that the Bulls – after losing two of their first three matches, including a home defeat to the Western Force – were written off. At that stage the Bulls were third from bottom of the standings and fellow South Africans, the Cheetahs, were in second place on the standings.

Just over two months later the Bulls are not only in fourth position, but they also have a very realistic chance of securing a home semi-final. The Cheetahs have failed to live up to their early season promise and are now 12th position and in danger of finishing last on the standings.

“This is a very tough competition and it is difficult to stay switched on for 14 weeks,” he added.

That is why the Bulls coach is determined to switch his team on for Friday’s challenge – the Blues.

“The Blues have clearly targeted this game, against us. They rested some key players against the Stormers last week and they will come with a huge effort, because there is so much at stake,” Meyer said.

The wily Bulls coach made it clear that while he will tweak his tactics, as he does for every game, there will not be any “radical” changes to the team’s approach from that which they put on the table for the past three months.

“We are flexible enough to make adjustments, depending on the opposition,” Meyer said.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital 

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