Vodacom Bulls 25, Lions 17

March 1, 2014
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The Lions, the surprise package of the competition, will be looking to build on the solid platform laid in the opening weeks.

However, Lions captain Warren Whiteley was well aware that they will be up against a desperate Bulls side stung by their back-to-back defeats.

“There is definitely confidence within the side,” Whiteley told a media briefing, adding: “Each week our process stays the same whether we win or lose.”

The Bulls coaching staff produced a couple of left-field selections in the hope of getting their campaign back on track.

Apart from the selection of veteran lock Victor Matfield in the starting line-up, there is the recall of 29-year-old flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter – who will make his first Bulls appearance in almost four years. Grant Hattingh at No.8 also raised eyebrows.

However, the man of the moment is flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff, who moved to the Lions after he found he was surplus to requirements in Pretoria a couple of seasons ago.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann was liberal with the plaudits.

“He is playing with lots of confidence and his balance is right, he knows when to kick and when to run,” the Lions coach said.

“He is also in good form with his kicking boot. We hope that form continues for the next 15 to 16 weeks [of Super Rugby].”

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said the Lions deserve all the credit that comes their way.

“They are an example to other teams, with the commitment they show,” the Bulls mentor said.

“There are certain aspects of their game that make them very dangerous. They are a team in form, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Ludeke said the Bulls have been in this situation (back-to-back defeats) before and it is vital for them to bounce back this weekend.

“We must produce a quality performance and our processes must work for us,” he said, adding: “The result will take care of itself.

“We have aspects that make us a special team and the last two weeks we have not been able to get that into the game, get our own game going.

“That is why the weekend is so important for us to get a good performance.”

Recent fixtures:
2012: Bulls won 37-20, Pretoria
2012: Bulls won 32-18, Johannesburg
2011: Bulls won 30-23, Pretoria
2011: Bulls won 24-20, Johannesburg
2010: Bulls won 51-11, Pretoria
2009: Bulls won 16-9, Johannesburg

Teams:

Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Jacobus Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Courtnall Skosan, 23 Coenie van Wyk.

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

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10 Comments

  1. avatar Aldo says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    The Bulls look a lot more settled with Potgieter at flyhalf. Thank goodness we managed to lure him back.

    Also Matfield seems to bring calmness to the field as well. They look better than last week, but still early days, a whole second half to come. Come on BULLS!!!

  2. avatar DavidS says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Selfde ou Leeus

  3. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    And I do not want to say I told you so….Great game from Bulls, commitment showing on the field

    Same old same old for Lions as soon as a team put pressure on..

    Expect more to follow and expext the worst next week against the Sharks next week

  4. avatar Aldo says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Matfield proved himself fit with a full 80 min display, stealing a ball 77 min into the game, pity it led to a try. But still, he was putting heavy tackles in late into the game. So much for him not being good or fit enough and too old. Hope the nay sayers will admit it.

  5. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    @Aldo: I appologise :)

  6. avatar Boertjie says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    @Aldo:

    Dis goeie nuus. Ek het nie gekyk nie maar ek glo jou.

  7. avatar DavidS says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Three things:

    1. Aus/Kiwi refs have no idea what is happening scrum time and are blowing like a lottery wheel spin…

    2. The Lions lost this because they decided to try and run when game conditions dictated otherwise.

    3. A stable 10 platform for the Bulls made a HUGE difference – why the F**K was JLP not playing the whole tournament?????

  8. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    David you can add clear upstraction, players falling and diving over ball, not knowing the break down rules.

    That’s why I believe lions will struggle in the Supershit you have to have some structure and cannot run from everywhere everytime.

    They were lucky in Cheetahs game with last minute drop and Stormers was useless in their first game, CC you can play that way and get away with that, but in Supershit you have to have a balance which they do not have, they can not take pressure and come from behind

  9. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 2nd, 2014 at 2:23 am

    This game showed two things…

    Big Vic is a necessity without Spies there as the calming influence… and the Lions need Minnie there every single game…

  10. avatar DavidS says:
    March 2nd, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @Jacques(Bunny):

    In all their CC games in the play off run up last season they came from behind to win.

    They had structure… but their tactical employment was wrong for the conditions. Their tackle competition by Kriel was outstanding. Britz too.

    They should have let Boshoff kick the branding off the ball… which is what JLP did.

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