Bulls eyeing solid start
Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter believes a solid start in Saturday's semi-final against the Brumbies is important if they want to reach the final.
Potgieter leads a younger and less experienced side than the ones that won their three previous titles, but one which believes they have what it takes to become southern hemisphere champions again.
The Bulls are yet to lose at Loftus Versfeld this year, but despite that statistic they know they have to be at their best against the Brumbies, who have been very effective at grinding out victories this season.
“There is a reason why we have been successful this year at Loftus and it is not about Loftus itself, or the altitude or anything else," Potgieter told SuperSport
"It is about the way we have tried to play. We’ve developed a total game this year. We’ve had success in the past in semifinals but it won’t count for anything this weekend, the only thing that matters is how we pitch up and hopefully the way we start the game.
“That is a key factor for us this weekend – to get a good start. Against the Stormers we were on the back foot from the start because we gave away easy points. We don’t want to find ourselves in that situation again.
“It just goes to show you momentum can be on your side but against a good side one or two mistakes will put you under pressure.”
In recent matches, one of the weaknesses in the Bulls' game was their performances at the set-pieces. Springbok lock Juandre Kruger's departure has put them under pressure at the line-outs while they have also been battling to dominate in the scrums.
The last time they faced the Brumbies – in their 23-20 loss in Canberra – the Bulls conceded six scrum penalties and Potgieter knows that statistic can not be repeated again this weekend.
“We definitely got shown up once or twice in those contests, but we’ve had the full week now to work on those things," he added.
"We could spend a lot of time on those aspects of the game, especially in the setpieces. I’m very confident though, we’ve had a great week and that is all you can go on at the moment.
“You can just try and get your rhythm in the game – but it will be tough. The Brumbies also have a total game, like we do, and they have a lot of strength. It is about trying to force your gameplan on the opposition.
“With the setpieces, if you get that right, it gives you territory if you can gain ascendancy in that battle and it allows you to try to play the type of game you want to play in a semifinal. You want to play in the right areas, limit your mistakes and keep discipline.”