SR: Force 15, Vodacom Bulls 9

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It is a game of contrasts – the Western Force aiming for a franchise record-equalling fourth straight home win and the Bulls chasing their first Australasian win of the season.

The Force – who have already beaten the Rebels, Chiefs and Waratahs in Perth this season – last have four in a row at home was in 2007. No South African side has won overseas yet, so this will be an ideal time for the men from Pretoria to make a statement as they aim to keep their play-off hopes alive. The Bulls will know about home ground advantage, given that they achieved three wins and a drawn in their four appearance at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this season.

Force coach Michael Foley said his side is looking forward returning home. “In the last three weeks the boys have tackled one of the toughest sections of the season – three consecutive derbies, with travel across the country for each match . It was a significant challenge,” he said. “While we were disappointed in aspects of our game [in the loss] against the Rebels [last week], the win against the Reds away and our first ever win against the Waratahs at home were great signs of the progress the boys have made.

“This weekend marks the first of four consecutive games against South African opponents who present a different type of challenge to Australian and New Zealand teams. “South African sides use their set piece and kicking games as weapons and we will need to perform well in both these areas to achieve success in the next month.” World Cup-winning Springbok lock Victor Matfield, who will captain the Bulls in the absence of suspended skipper Flip van der Merwe, said the men from Pretoria are definitely still in contention for the play-offs – despite being winless on their Australasian trip so far.

He felt that they only need to change “small things” to get their campaign back on track. “If you look at the games on tour, we could have won the all three,” he said of the defeats to the Hurricanes (20-25), Highlanders (20-27) and Waratahs (12-19). “We got a bonus point in each of those games, which could be vital at the end of the season.”

He felt that if they make better decisions and are more accurate they can get that elusive win before returning home next week. “There is no magic potion,” the 36-year-old Matfield said in a teleconference call from Perth. “We must stay positive and stay focussed, then we could get the win at the weekend.

“Yes, there is a lot of pressure on the team, but if you want to be one of the top teams you have to be able to handle the pressure.”

Recent results:
2013: Bulls won 36-26, Pretoria
2011: Force won 26-21, Perth
2010: Bulls won 28-15, Perth
2009: Bulls won 32-29, Pretoria
2008: Force won 15-14, Perth
2007: Force won 30-27, Pretoria

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ian Prior, 8  Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Chris Tuatara-Morrison.
 
Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johannes 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 (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Jacques Engelbrecht, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Morné Mellet.
 
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia) , Matt O’Brien (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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About Jacques (Bunny) 4028 Articles
Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"
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41 Comments on SR: Force 15, Vodacom Bulls 9

  1. Go Bongi, make the nr 2 shirt yours. Like Maku on the bench as well, both are better than Visagie IMO.

    Hope we pull this one off, so far 0 from 11 for SA teams on tour. GO BULLS!!!!

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  2. Bulls 3-0 on a rainy day. Hope the Bulls uses the weather well and play a forward dominated power game with their kicks spot on.
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  3. Yip Bunny, Force suckered into a kicking battle with the rain and constant Bulls pressure, not good for them. But lovely for the Bulls
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  4. Allthough I understand your frustration bunny, that was stupid, rain playing comes down to pressure, Force lineout in shatter, Bulls needs to stay in force territory but should start kicking to the corners.steal their lineout on their own tryline.
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  5. 2 harsh calls from officials brought about the fact that the game is level. Visser stepped on the line, so not out of 22 and Greyling had no oppertunity to roll after that tackle. But still, Bulls reverting back to being their own worst enemy after starting really well.
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  6. Stupid penalty given away by du Plessis, Force now leads 9-6. Bulls losing the plot. Force have had 70 percent of possession the last 10.
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  7. So I really really dislike the Sharks, but here’s to a good Sharks tour. The Bulls are really an embarressment. Their handling is attrocious, they have no clue with ball in hand. A frustrating 4 weeks it’s been.
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  8. @Mug Punters Organisation of South Africa:

    Been saying it for years. Only reason kiwi handling is better is because they are forced to do it more often in match situations.

    While SA sides have upperhand our backline does not exist, then once in kak we suddenly expect them to run riot.

    Cheetahs can score backline tries cause they also send the ball that way a bit more often.

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