Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Why Victor Matfield believes Bulls can finish top of the URC pile

The former Bulls captain is of the opinion that if the Bulls win their five remaining games they'll end up on top of the points table.

They may be in third place on the United Rugby Championship points table, but former Bulls captain Victor Matfield is of the opinion Jake White’s side are in pole position to finish the round robin stage in first place and give themselves a great chance of winning the competition.

As things stand, Leinster from Ireland are first with 54 points, followed by Glasgow Warriors (49) and then it is the Bulls, with 45 points. They’re followed by Munster (43) and the Stormers (39).

URC run-in

The Bulls have a tough final five games, including against Munster (this weekend) and Glasgow, who’re also both chasing top spot, but those games are both at Loftus, as are the clashes against Ospreys and Benetton, with just the one away game, against the Sharks, who’re out of the running in the URC.

Leinster meanwhile are away to the Lions (this weekend), the Stormers and Ulster.

“This weekend’s game against Munster is a big one,” said Matfield, a legend of Loftus Versfeld.

“With Leinster not bringing their strongest team to South Africa, the Bulls will probably be thinking there’s an opportunity for them to finish first on the log, if Leinster lose one or two games over here.

“The Bulls have got five games left, all of them in South Africa, so they will back themselves to win five out of five.

“Munster is their toughest game … they are a quality side, so it’s going to be a very interesting game. It’ll also be great if the Lions could do them a favour and beat Leinster (at Ellis Park on Saturday).”

Depth of squad

Matfield also believes the Bulls are now finally in position to realistically push for the URC title.

“I think the Bulls have got their mix right. They have got a few very experienced guys and they have also created a lot of depth in their squad, whereas last year they probably over-played the guys a little bit.

“In the past we only had Super Rugby so it’s taken a while to get used to having double competitions (Champions Cup) so I think the Bulls have used their squad better this year.

“The loss against Leinster showed they still have a way to go if they want to compete regularly with the top sides, but I think this team can beat any team on the day.”