The Bulls are in Wellington for the first time since 2014 as they prepare for Saturday morning’s Super Rugby quarterfinal against the Hurricanes.
Coach Pote Human has, appropriately, bullishly proclaimed that his team’s campaign can’t be considered a success without silverware.
That, however, does seem a bit of a stretch.
Nonetheless, their recent form is compelling enough that they could trouble the home side.
Here are four key things the Bulls need to do, according to Human and captain Handre Pollard.
Use the experience of Pollard and the returning Jesse Kriel
Pollard: It’s an interesting place. The Bulls haven’t played here for a few years now So some of the boys haven’t experienced playing here, but a few of us have played Test matches here (notably last year’s 36-34 for the Boks over the All Blacks) and know the conditions quite well. We just have to be ready for anything that’s thrown at us.
Repeat their recent habit of recovering well from setbacks in matches
Pollard: What’s encouraging is that we don’t get flustered. Setbacks can happen quickly, especially away from home and against a side with so much X-factor like the Hurricanes. They can come out of the blocks firing, but we have the confidence to handle whatever they throw at us and then just keep fighting. This bunch likes the fight.
Watch out for the Hurricanes’ controversial breakdown tactics
Human: That’s their key area, we have to stop them there and try to get quick ball. It’s not easy. It’s true that the way they flood that area feels a bit illegal, but that’s up to the ref. We’ll just have to get quick ball and if they do flood the breakdown, we’ll have numbers on our feet. It’s definitely something we’ll bring up with the ref beforehand.
Embrace being bullies
Human: Our pack will have to fire. It’s good having Jason Jenkins back, he’s a physical animal. We’ve seen against the Hurricanes before that they can be rattled up front. We have to be physical, I believe it’s only way we can beat them.