Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Bulls keen to ride wave of support on the highveld against Stormers

Where the Bulls will hope to get the upper hand will be in the forward battle, with them coming off a top set piece showing against the Lions.

The Bulls will be aiming to take as much out of their home ground advantage as they possibly can when they take on the Stormers in their United Rugby Championship (URC) North/South derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Stormers have won all seven of the games against the Bulls in the competition over the past two and a half seasons, with two of those coming at Loftus, both by four points, so the home team will be desperate to finally get a win over their coastal rivals.

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Springbok and Bulls loose forward Marco van Staden admits that it has been a difficult run against the Stormers, but their focus is purely on themselves ahead of the game and not their opposition.

“We are expecting a full stadium and we are all excited about that. It is good for rugby in South Africa,” said Van Staden.

“It’s been a tough few times against the Stormers but it’s not for us to focus on them, we have to focus on ourselves. We have to do the things we do extra well.

“It’s always a fight. Any derby game in South Africa is always a fight to get over the line. But for us, it’s going to be about doing the basics well and control what we can control.

“You take any momentum you can get in this competition and take it forward. There’s never a perfect game and we’ll take the things we did well [against the Lions] and build on it.”

Forward battle

Where the Bulls will hope to get the upper hand will be in the forward battle, with them coming off a top set piece showing against the Lions at Ellis Park two weeks ago.

They will be looking to build on that effort and could be boosted in the front row by the possible return of Wilco Louw, who Director of Rugby Jake White said would be in line to play after injury, which could give them the edge over a strong Stormers pack.

“A big part of the game is the set piece and the base we as forwards can give the backs like Canan (Moodie), Kurt-Lee (Arendse) and Devon (Williams),” explained Van Staden.

“Our (forward) performance against the Lions was definitely a positive we can take into the Stormers game. But there is always work to be done and we will see where we can improve.”

Following the Stormers game it is another two week break before the Bulls enter their end of season run, where they will be playing flat out until June, so they will be eager to enter that period off what would be a massive win in their campaign.

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