Last weekend it was All Black flyhalf Nick Evans. On Friday, it will be Wallaby playmaker Matt Giteau of the Force standing in the way of the Bulls as the Super 14 champions try to record their first victory of the season in Australasia.
The Bulls should have high hopes after preventing Evans from being a major factor in their match against the Blues in Auckland.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that Peter Jooste, convener of the national selectors, believes they are capable of doing the same to Giteau when they take on the Western Australian outfit in Perth.
“He and Evans are birds of a feather,” Jooste said on Wednesday. “Giteau may be faster off the mark but both need time and space to play to their potential.
“The Bulls neutralised Evans by defending well and by slowing down the pace of the game. They will have to do the same against the Force because Giteau can be devastating from broken play.
“The Stormers managed to cut off Giteau from his three-quarters last week. He was cornered because he did not have support and was unable to do much damage.
Defend as well as the Stormers did
For the Bulls to do the same, their loose forwards will have to take charge. The Force are the one team that cannot function off the back foot. If the Bulls limit Giteau’s time, space and distribution ability they can certainly win.”
Jooste added that the Bulls would have to defend as well as the Stormers did.
“There is no reason for them not to do so because the Bulls are all fire and brimstone again and they have big, physical defenders.
“The Force’s strong point is their ability to take the ball through phases. They suck in the defenders and sap your energy.
“You have to tackle them back with the ball and compete, as physically as possible, for possession to ensure they don’t get on the front foot,” Jooste said.
From a South African viewpoint, he said, it was good to see the Bulls starting to play to their potential.
“I always knew it would be a matter of time before they eliminated the little problems. They would have gained much confidence from the match against the Blues. The match in Perth could be the turning point of the season for them.”Tweet