As unlikely as a victory may sound, there is a chance, and the rugby gods have dished up some bizarre results this season
Few people give the Bulls a snowball’s chance in hell of beating the pace-setting Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld today.
As unlikely as a victory may sound, there is a chance, and the rugby gods have dished up some bizarre results this season.
A Bulls victory may not be quite as far-fetched, provided they find the same groove that earned them polished triumphs over the Sharks, Lions and Stormers.
The home side may have the odds stacked against them but they have a few things going for them.
There is no doubting the Crusaders’ ability to rip the opposition apart on attack, while they are equally adept on defence. But the Bulls can target a few weaknesses in the Crusaders that can give them good rewards.
The Crusaders’ ill-discipline is an area the Bulls can exploit, with captain Handré Pollard possessing a long-range boot that can punish the visitors. They have conceded 114 penalties this season, second only to the Sunwolves.
The Bulls will be looking to administer their slow-poison game plan by holding on to possession and grinding their way over the advantage line to frustrate the Crusaders. The hosts will have to be patient, which is something they have lacked in some of their matches this season.
The Bulls will rely heavily on Pollard, not only in terms of his goal kicking but also as their tactical rudder. Pollard will have to be at his best both with the boot and through his decision-making.
The Springbok pivot will need time and space to be able to control the game to the best of his ability, and this is where the Bulls pack will play a major role. The Bulls pack has been fortified with the return of hooker Schalk Brits and lock Jason Jenkins.
Which brings us to the final piece of the puzzle – the scrums.
The Bulls have been growing in stature in the scrums with props Trevor Nyakane and Lizo Gqoboka developing into a formidable combination.
Brits completes the trio, adding his knowledge of the dark arts he gained from playing in the northern hemisphere.
If the Bulls find their rhythm and they get the rub of the green, the snowball might just have a chance; if not, they can expect hell at Loftus.