This Friday Loftus faithful will welcome the champions and form team this year the Crusaders and it is going to be a cracker anyway you look at it.
With the Sharks holding the Crusaders to a draw in their own back yard last week, will give the rest of the teams confidence that they can beat this unbelievable group of players if you get it 100% right.
The Bulls have all but one of their remaining games away from home which makes this one of those game that you have to go full tilt.
They are currently on the top of the South African conference but only by points difference from the chasing Sharks. Behind them is the Stormers four points behind on 24 and the Lions 6 point with 22.
Easy it will never be against the Crusaders does not matter if you play the game on the moon and the Bulls will have to put the perfect game together on Friday to upset the visitors.
The Crusaders go into this game leading the New Zealand and overall log with some room to spare.
Coach Robertson wants his team to bounce back from last week disappointment against the Sharks and has named the sam pack for what will be a huge clash upfront against the Bulls.
The Bulls forward pack has been brilliant this year and they have dominate most of the battles in the set pieces so far.
This week will be a huge test for them coming up against a quality pack with plenty of All Blacks.
Matt Todd will lead the Saders again with the absence of Sam Whitelock.
At the back Mo’unga and Crotty returns to the starting XV which will make a huge difference from last week side. New Zealand rugby is at it’s best when they have quality ten’s and Mo’unga is just that.
He brings so much to this Crusaders attacking play and the Bulls will have to be on par in their defensive plans for this game.
Jack Goodhue will switch back to midfield and the final change from last weeks side will be Havili will start at fullback in place of Jordan.
Bulls coach Human has wasted no time to bring back Schalk Brits in the front row after he served his suspension after the punch-up between him and Van Der Merwe a few weeks ago.
He will slot in with the inform Trevor Nyakane,and Lizo Gqoboka to make up the front row for this match.Jason Jenkins will also resume his partnership with RG Snyman in the second row with Kirsten joining Vermeulen and Van Staden as the loose trio for this one.
Springboks, Schalk Brits and Jason Jenkins, are back in the Vodacom Bulls pack for their Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
Human made two more changes in his backline which sees Andre Warner getting a start at nine with Papier backing him up on the bench. As part of their rotation policy Van Zyl drops out of the match day 23 for this one.
Bulls supporters will also be happy to see Burger Odendaal back in the midfield to partner Kotze after he had to pull out of last weeks match at the last minute.
The Bulls have been good this season in managing their game and they will have to be facing the Crusaders. Defence against a side like the Crusaders can be nothing less than perfect otherwise you will be at the end of a 20 to 30 point loss.
Home ground advantage plays little to non when you face a team like the Crusaders who is one of those teams that travels well in the republic.
Come 19:00 Friday night we will have a fascinating 80 minutes to enjoy, just hope the people in Pretoria are coming out in their number.
Duane Vermeulen challenged his franchise early in the week to lower ticket prices and they did not just do that they doubled up on his challenge, so go out and enjoy a family evening at Loftus this Friday.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Bulls have won five of their last six Super Rugby matches against the Crusaders at home (L1); though, they succumbed to a 62-24 defeat in their last such fixture.
- The Bulls have won only one of their last 12 Super Rugby games against New Zealand opposition, and have lost their last four such fixtures on the bounce.
- The Crusaders have won seven of their last eight Super Rugby matches in South Africa (L1), including the last four on the bounce – their most consecutive wins in the nation.
- The Crusaders (87%) boast the best tackle success rate in Super Rugby 2019, just one percentage point higher than the Bulls (86%)
- Handre Pollard (Bulls) has kicked 48 goals so far this Super Rugby season, the most of any player in the competition.
Prediction: The heart wants what the brain say it is impossible, so we go with the brain….Saders by 13
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw
15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty (captain), 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor