Crusaders talk up Bulls

Chris Jack described Victor Matfield as the best lock in world rugby and Leon Macdonald told his teammates to brace themselves for the Loftus experience.

Both players were talking to their local community when discussing the prospects of playing the Bulls on Friday evening.

The local newspaper, the Christchurch Press, has been consistent in its reporting of the Loftus factor and all week it has quoted several Crusaders players and coaching staff as describing Loftus as the toughest venue to play at and the Bulls as the best of the South African teams.

Friday morning in Christchurch was no different.

Jack told the paper’s Tony Smith that Matfield was the form lock in world rugby.

“Victor’s currently the world’s best lock. His lineout play is very good.” Jack says his opposite is also very handy “around the field and carrying the field. He’s a tough opponent. But I’d like to think that I am in the same sort of ballpark as him.”

Macdonald, who starts at fullback, said: “The guys who haven’t played there so far are going to find it a huge experience. The fans are pretty fanatical in the way they follow their team and they appreciate the rugby that the Bulls have played. The fact they have a chance of making the semis, is going to make it tougher. It’s definitely going to be a cauldron out there.”

The Crusaders have prepared in Durban and besides the supposed altitude benefits, Macdonald said it kept them away from the hype of the match.

“We get that here in Durban. They are pretty passionate about their rugby throughout South Africa. We get a lot of people telling us, ‘when are you playing the Bulls? They are going to smash you’. But it’d probably be 100 times worse up there (in Pretoria).”