With Springbok stars Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana both close to be recalled, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has earmarked the breakdown as an area where his team needs to step up in when they face the defending Super 14 champion Crusaders on Friday.
Ludeke, speaking to Rugby365′s Jan De Koning from the team’s base in Christchurch on Sunday, said he will make a call on the availability of both Matfield and Habanas after training on Monday.
“Victor has come along nicely last week and trained well with the team,” Ludeke said of Matfield, who injured his shoulder in the Round One match against the Reds in February.
“Bryan arrived at the weekend and he is looking good and motivated to do well – to play a big role in the remaining games,” the Bulls coach said, adding that he has not decided yet if Habana will start or play off the bench.
The Bok flyer fractured his hand in Week Three against the Lions.
Ludeke, who said the entire team was disappointed with their performance in the 12-36 loss to the Highlanders at the weekend, targeted the breakdown as an area for the side to work on this week.
“We played some good rugby the last five weeks and had a good week of preparation, but there were two aspects that cost us dearly [against the Highlanders," Ludeke told rugby365.com.
"We were under pressure at the breakdown, that is where they won the game, and the wind played a big role. We simply couldn't put them under pressure with tactical kicking, which is such a big part of our game.
"We did created a few opportunities that we didn't finish off - we just couldn't turn our pressure into points."
The Bulls coach said they will continue to back their systems and the game plan that got them this far, despite losing their unbeaten run against the Highlanders.
"There were obviously aspects of the game in which we did not do well.
"We will look at that and pay attention to that this week.
"It is a big challenge for us this week against the Crusaders and we know the importance of getting away wins, but we know that we have to focus on our own game and those aspects in which we under-performed at the weekend and make sure we give ourselves a chance against the Crusaders on Friday."
Ludeke said that apart from avoiding giving away turnovers, as they did against the Highlanders, the Bulls also need to create more turnovers of their own.
"That [turnovers] is a big part of our game. Also, our ball carriers didn’t get over the advantage line and that stopped us from getting momentum.
“We will look at that as well, bring in some variation and work hard on that. Maybe we will look at getting more numbers at the breakdown.”Tweet