The Bulls have put their painful Currie Cup final defeat to the Cheetahs behind them, according to captain-elect Victor Matfield.
The Springbok lock was no doubt expecting to secure a fourth consecutive Currie Cup title at Loftus last year, before two late tries snatched victory for the Bloem boys.
“The Blue Bulls defeat against the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup final hurt badly, but that’s over and done with and something of the past,” Matfield told Beeld newspaper. “Every Super 14 match will be just as hard and exhausting as the next and it doesn’t matter who we play first. Everything depends on how you approach a match.”
Last year’s Super 12 saw the Bulls reach the semi-finals for the first time since the inaugural competition in 1996. They won six matches in a row to finish third on the log, before coming unstuck against the Waratahs in Sydney. Had Bryan Habana held on to a pass with the tryline in sight, the Bulls could have led 18-6 at one stage in the first half. Instead, the ‘Tahs went on to play the Crusaders in the final.
While the Bulls are expected to fly the flag again for South Africa this season, Matfield is asking the public to have realistic expectations.
“Our success last year is no guarantee that the same will happen to us in the inaugural Super 14 series,” he said. “It was good for our morale that we ended third on the log in the Super 12 last year and played in the semi-finals, but every new competition presents new challenges.”