Bulls assistant coach Mike Bayly has admitted the Bulls game against the Chiefs on Saturday is a must-win if the Pretoria side hope to make it to the Vodacom Super 14 semi-finals.
“This weekend is the knife-edge of our campaign. It is a very, very important game for us. Amazingly we are still in fifth spot, but I believe there is going to be a lot of movement (on the log) this weekend,” Bayly told keo.co.za from Hamilton.
“If the Chiefs beat us then they will go ahead of us, but if we win and the Brumbies lose we can move into fourth place, so there is plenty to play for. Also the Sharks and Cheetahs are breathing down our necks so we need to keep our noses in front.”
Bayly said the squad had been working hard at training on the basics that were so sorely lacking in the defeat by the Blues last weekend. “The reaction to the loss within the squad has been tremendous. We all know it was not a great performance. The intensity and focus are back and if we get the basics right then we will be difficult to beat,” said Bayly.
Several changes have taken place in the Bulls starting XV, most notably at scrumhalf and flyhalf where Fourie du Preez and Morne Steyn replace Heinie Adams and the injured Derick Hougaard respectively. “We were always going to give Morne game time on tour and it just so happens that Derick got injured so it’s ideal to bring him in now.”
Also back is exciting centre Wynand Olivier, who will be partnered by former Cats player Rudi Coetzee in a new-look midfield pairing. “We had always targeted this game to give Rudi a go, so Wynand comes back because he has played all the other games to add some stability.”
The Bulls currently lie fifth on 19 points – four behind the Brumbies – and followed closely by the Cheetahs (18), Highlanders (18), Sharks (17) and Chiefs (16).
By Andrew Hollely