2 minute read
9 Sep 2014
2:38 pm

Bulls target first away victory

With two home victories under the belt, the Blue Bulls are targeting an away victory against the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

FILE PICTURE: Dean Greyling of the Bulls during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images.

The Light Blues were cheered by a 36-26 victory over the Golden Lions in Pretoria over the weekend and will be looking to continue their upward curve.

“The main thing is we are playing against a side away and we want to make sure we get our first away win for the season,” Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said at the team announcement in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The Bulls mentor retained his starting pack from the Lions clash, while he again tweaked his backline.

The team was strengthened by the return of stalwart Bulls flyer Akona Ndungane and fellow-Springbok winger Bjorn Basson.

They replace Sampie Mastriet and Jamba Ulengo, respectively, in the team for Friday’s match.

In the only other change to the run-on side, scrumhalf Piet van Zyl will earn a starting berth in place of Rudy Paige, which Ludeke explained was a rotational shift.

After a poor start to their campaign, the Bulls had slowly but surely turned the ship around, sparked by their narrow 30-25 victory over the Kings three weeks ago.

“They came close at Loftus and we know we need a special performance over the weekend,” Ludeke said.

“Obviously every weekend we want to improve, and that builds the confidence you need and the rhythm.”

Ludeke said the victories over the Lions and the Kings gave his charges a much-needed confidence boost.

“The big thing is we are getting the results, especially the last weekend, which was a vital win against a quality side and one of the front-runners.

“To pull off a win against them gives us a lot of confidence because we knew we had to be at our best and we took our opportunities, something which was missing in some of the other games.

“In that department we are making strides forward so this weekend again it is the same story against a quality side that has also been working hard.”

The Kings were particularly potent on the counterattack during the previous encounter and Ludeke said it was crucial to deny the home side any turnover ball.

“We worked hard on our breakdown. We had a lot of ball in hand but coughed it up at vital stages and that gave them that broken field when the defence wasn’t that great,” he said.

“They were really impressive from that, so ball control will be vital to starve them of quality ball because if they get space and front-foot ball, like any side, the backs have speed and skills so that is a situation we would like to manage over the weekend.”

Blue Bulls team: Ulrich Beyers, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Burger Odendaal, Bjorn Basson, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Piet van Zyl, Jono Ross, Jacques du Plessis, Deon Stegmann (captain), Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Bongi Mbonambi, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Bandise Maku, Basil Short, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Engelbrecht, Rudy Paige, Tony Jantjies, William-Small Smith.

– Sapa