United Rugby Championship: Bulls keen to return to winning ways against Dragons
After losing their last three matches in all competitions, the Bulls will be determined to return to winning ways in Friday’s United Rugby Championship (URC) encounter with the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday night.
The men from Pretoria fielded an understrength team against Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup but suffered a humiliating 44-14 defeat.
Several of their first-choice players returned for their URC matches against the Stormers and Sharks, but they suffered 37-27 and 47-20 losses in those respective matches.
Bulls breakdown coach Nollis Marais confirmed that they can ill afford another reversal this weekend but said they expect a tough challenge against their Welsh hosts.
“This is an important one for us,” he told the Citizen.
“The Dragons have got a good home record, and we know it won’t be easy, but we obviously want to get the win.”
Despite those losses to the Stormers and Sharks, the Bulls are well-placed in fourth position in the URC standings, while the Dragons are languishing in 14th place in the 16-team competition.
Still adapting to European challenges
Marais, who was the Bulls’ head coach in 2016 and 2017, believes some of the South African teams are still adapting to the challenges – especially the weather conditions – of playing European opposition on their home turf.
However, he said they are well prepared for the Dragons’ onslaught.
“Super Rugby was fast, we knew what was coming,” explained Marais.
“In the URC conditions mean there are more focus points, and every team has their own unique style.
“That said, we know what’s coming from the Dragons. They like to slow the game down, they target the breakdowns, and they kick a lot.
“They play a spoiling game, too, but we’re focusing on us … and we’re going to have to be accurate and all be on the same page.”
READ MORE: Bulls: Is recent form a valid cause for concern at Loftus Versfeld?