Bulls unfazed by ‘perfect’ Stormers

“Obviously we know that we will have to be sharper at the breakdown points. As a team, we have to do the basics right.”

Akker van der Merwe says the Vodacom Bulls are focused on improving their game for what is tipped to be a sold-out North-South derby against the DHL Stormers in Pretoria.

The Vodacom URC takes a break this weekend but when the competition resumes on 1 and 2 March, the Bulls and Stormers clash at Loftus Versfeld next Saturday.

John Dobson’s charges claimed bragging rights at Cape Town Stadium two months ago, with last week’s win against the Sharks continuing their unbeaten run against South African opponents since December 2021.

Speaking in a Bulls conference on Friday, hooker Van der Merwe addressed the breakdown threat of Stormers veteran Deon Fourie while acknowledging the performances of the Capetonians.

Not focusing on individuals

“You will always look at individuals, but in the end it’s about us as a team,” said Van der Merwe, who is the second-highest try-scorer in the URC (eight) this season.

“We’re not just going to focus on one or two guys. The focus should be on each guy beating or outperforming his direct opponent in the basics.

“If you focus on one guy, another one you’re not targeting might have a good match. I don’t think one can ever focus on a single individual.

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“Obviously we know that we will have to be sharper at the breakdown points. As a team, we have to do the basics right.”

“In most games they come up with perfect performances. They are good in the fixed facets, and defend and kick well. They are good in most of their matches in every facet,” the hooker added.

“If we can do that too, it will be a very good game.”

Meanwhile, Bulls president Willem Strauss told Netwerk24 that 25,000 tickets have already been sold for the clash.

Expected to be a sold-out affair

“The matches between the Bulls and Stormers all attract more than 40,000 spectators,” he said. “We hope to host the first league match on 2 March where the stadium is fully sold out – all 51,500 seats.

“We’re looking forward to a great day with [UFC middleweight champion] Dricus du Plessis, who will be there. It’s really a highlight on the rugby calendar to play host to the Stormers.”

This story was first published on sarugbymag.co.za. It is republished here with permission.

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