Ashley-Cooper eyes Bulls scalp
Waratahs centre Adam Ashley-Cooper is the only member of the Sydneysiders' current squad who has experienced victory against the Bulls in Pretoria.
Ashley-Cooper was part of the Brumbies team that secured a 27-21 win at Loftus Versfeld in 2006 and it's a feeling he hopes to achieve again when the Waratahs face the Bulls on Saturday.
''It was my first game at Loftus, I didn't really understand the significance of a win there or understand how hard it was going to be,'' he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
''No one else here [at the Waratahs] has won here. I can guarantee if you win here you will never forget it.''
The Bulls of 2006 were similar to this season's squad and Ashley-Cooper believes smart decision-making and intensity are important factors to succeed against the three-times champions.
''You'd better match them physically, match their intensity at the start and then make smart decisions, because they're a good team that makes smart decisions,'' he said.
''Morne Steyn is a very good kicker and he's going to test us out positionally in the back three, and then they've got their great ball-running forwards.''
After a slow start to the competition, the Waratahs have done well in recent weeks and claimed a shock 25-20 win over the Chiefs in Sydney last week.
The 29-year-old Wallaby believes they can put in a similar performace this week with the same result.
''Watch the first five minutes of the games they play at home, it's fast, hard and physical and that's how they get themselves into the game,'' Ashley-Cooper said.
''We don't want them to get a good start, so whatever we have to do to stop that needs to be in the first couple of minutes ... Then once those boys slow down, hopefully our fitness and skills will give us a good result.
"But, more than any other team, the first 20 minutes against these guys is far more important.''