Planet Rugby

Preview: Bulls v Cheetahs

12th April 2013 09:55

Share:

Akona Ndungane Bulls v Cheetahs 2012

Plenty at stake: Bulls v Cheetahs

After claiming five successive wins, for the first time in their history, the Cheetahs face a stern test against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Bulls return to action after last weekend's bye but are in the middle of a slump after suffering three successive away defeats - against the Crusaders, Reds and Brumbies - on their recent tour to Australasia.

From those results, the Bulls were only outplayed by the Crusaders, in their second match, after they got their tour off to a superb start with their first ever win over the Blues in Auckland.

Defeats to the Reds and Brumbies were both narrow, with their loss against the latter only sealed after the hosts slotted a controversial penalty in injury time.

The Bulls, however, head into this clash knowing that they hold a huge psychological edge over the men from Bloemfontein.

The three-time champions are one of only two teams that the Cheetahs have failed to beat since they joined the competition in 2006 (the other team is the Chiefs, who have drawn twice with the Cheetahs - in 2007 in Bloemfontein and 2010 in Hamilton).

The Bulls lead the head-to-head stakes between these sides 9-0. The closest the Cheetahs came to upsetting the men from Pretoria was in 2011 in Bloem, when they lost 23-25. Last year, the Bulls won both derbies easily (51-19 at the Free State Stadium and 40-24 at Loftus Versfeld) and all bets would understandably be on another victory for the hosts.

The in-form Cheetahs will not pay attention to those statistics though and coach Naka Drotské and his team are looking forward to the trip to Pretoria, but are still expecting a tough encounter at Loftus.

"Like we were against the Stormers, we'll still be the underdogs against the Bulls," Drotské said.

"We have a bunch of young players who have surprised everyone in Super Rugby, especially with regards to fitness.

"And that is one thing you need against the Bulls. But at Loftus against the Bulls I don't think the visitors are ever the favourites.

"We couldn't beat the Stormers since 2007 and we haven't beaten the Bulls at Loftus in Super Rugby. But well keep on working hard."

In their five successive wins - over the Highlanders, Waratahs, Western Force, Rebels and Stormers - the Cheetahs showed that they have the ability to score tries from all areas.

In the midfield, Robert Ebersohn has impressed since shifting from outside to inside centre while wings Raymond Rhule and Willie le Roux are two of the most exciting attacking players in the tournament.

Prediction: Even though the Cheetahs are on a high and the Bulls are in the midst of a slump, the men from Pretoria are in front of their fanatical home crowd. That should give them a lift and end the Cheetahs' winning run. Bulls by seven points!

The teams:

Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morné Mellet.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Paul Willemse, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Louis Fouchè, 23 Ulrich Beyers.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk De Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Frans Viljoen, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

Date: Saturday, April 13
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00