Realistically they can no longer reach the play-offs, with only a mathematical chance dependent on other results, but the Bulls are determined to take maximum points from their remaining Super 14 matches.
Jan De Koning of Rugby 365 reports that the defending champions, who have stuttered to four defeats in the first six rounds, before finally coming to light against the Blues last week, play the Western Force in Perth this week.
With six matches remaining, including a run of four consecutive home matches, the Bulls will be playing for “pride and honour”.
Ian Schwartz, the Bulls’ Business and Communications Manager, admitted that their hopes making the play-offs this year are entirely depended on the outcome of matches they are not involved in.
“It [making the play-offs] is no longer in our own hands,” Schwartz told rugby365.com.
“What is in our own hands is to get maximum points from our six remaining matches.”
Last year the Bulls went through to the play-offs with 42 points (joint second, after a 92-3 drubbing of the Reds in the final match saw them edge the Crusaders and Blues), while the team that finished sixth (the Chiefs) had 40 points.
That means even if the Bulls get the maxim (30) points in their remaining matches, they are still likely to fall short of a play-off spot.
“It is highly unlikely that with 39 points we’ll reach the semifinals,” Schwartz admitted, adding: “Our goal is to get the maximum in our remaining games.
“This means we can’t afford another defeat, and then you start hoping that other results go your way.
“Obviously we are hopeful of sneaking in through the back door, but the reality is that we have pride and honour that we have to regain.”
The Bulls Manager said injuries had played a crucial role in the earlier rounds and now that coach Frans Ludeke finally have his best players available, the team’s form have taken a sharp upward curve.
“I must be honest this past weekend was the first time that Frans [Ludeke, head coach] could pick the team he wanted to and you could see the difference players like Pierre Spies and Bryan Habana made,” he said of the heartbreaking 21-23 loss to the Blues in a game in which match officials had an unhealthy influence on proceedings.
“They really lifted the team. For me the key is the players with a ‘presence’ that returned to the team. If you look at a player like Pierre Spies, who made his competitive comeback after eight months and then played 80 minutes … it takes something special.
“Just his professionalism, his presence on and off the field made a big difference,” Schwartz added.
* Meanwhile hooker Derick Kuün, wing Bryan Habana and centre Wynand Olivier did not train with their teammates in Perth on Monday.
However, according to Schwartz all the players in the Bulls squad will be considered for the team’s last tour match – against the Western Force in Perth on Friday.Tweet