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Bulls v Sharks Super Rugby Preview

Cobus Reinach makes a break for the Sharks against the Bulls earlier in the season

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Article Published: Thursday 20 March 2014|

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The Sharks have a dream set of fixtures this year and their trip to Pretoria this week will be for their first match away from their home in Durban.

The Sharks lead the Super Rugby standings and while they remain one of just two teams who are still unbeaten they haven't been tested on the road yet.

The Bulls will start the match without their captain Flip van der Merwe and they will be captained by Victor Matfield who will be their third captain this season - and we are only in Round 6!

Flip van der Merwe withdrew due to injury so Paul Willemse was bumped up from the bench and Matfield took over the captaincy for the first time since 2011.

The Bulls have played the Sharks 21 times since 1998 and they have won 11 matches, lost 9 and drawn once.

That gives the Bulls a record of winning 52% of their matches against the Sharks across all venues.

The average score when the Bulls play the Sharks is Bulls 18 Sharks 22.

The match this week will be played in Pretoria at Loftus Versfeld where the teams have met 10 times since 1998 and the Bulls won 5 times lost four times and drawn once.

That gives the Bulls a record of winning 50% of their home matches against the Sharks. The average score when the Bulls play the Sharks in Pretoria is : Bulls 19 Sharks 20.

In terms of selection the Bulls have rushed Dewald Potgieter straight in at No.8 after he rejoined the franchise from Japan earlier this week. They have also named Sampie Mastriet on the wing for the first time this season place of Akona Ndungane.

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has retained his starting line up that beat the Reds but brought in a couple of potential new caps on the replacements bench.

The Sharks already have a six point lead in the South African conference and a victory over the Bulls this week would give them a 12 point lead over the Bulls.

The Sharks have conceded fewer breaks (3.3) and missed fewer tackles (12) per game than any other side in Super Rugby.

Considering that the Bulls average the fewest metres gained per game this season, at 302m per match, the home team's attacking play will be under the spotlight this weekend. But they also restrict their opponents in terms of metres gained at only 303m.

Four of the last six encounters between the 2007 finalists have been settled by a margin of seven points or fewer, with each side picking up three wins apiece in those six games.

Just over a month ago the Bulls lost 16-31 to the Sharks in Durban. The Bulls have improved considerably since then and this week will determine if they have improved enough to beat the Sharks.

The Bulls will also really have to watch their penalties as the Sharks can always rely on Frans Steyn and Patrick Lambie with penalty kicks which will most likely decide this.

The Bookies have given the xx a 4 point start for this Match - with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. The Sharks are a little more settled than the Bulls and Flip van der Merwe is a big loss for the Bulls. The Sharks should edge this by six.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 4 on the Red Button.

Average score: Bulls 18 Sharks 22

Last five results
15 Feb 2014 Bulls v Sharks 16-31 Durban
06 Jul 2013 Bulls v Sharks 20-19 Pretoria
25 May 2013 Bulls v Sharks 18-16 Durban
06 Jul 2012 Bulls v Sharks 10-32 Durban
24 Feb 2012 Bulls v Sharks 18-13 Pretoria

Bulls overall record against the Sharks
Played 21, Wins 11, Losses 9 , Draws 1

Match No.36: Bulls v Sharks
Date : Saturday 22 March
Venue : Loftus Versfeld
Kick Off local: 19:10
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1:Craig Joubert
Assistant Ref 2:Jaco van Heerden
TMO : Deon van Blommenstein

Teams

Bulls

Jurgen Visser , Sampie Mastriet , JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein , Bjorn Basson , Jacques-Louis Potgieter , Francois Hougaard , Dewald Potgieter , Jacques du Plessis , Deon Stegmann , Victor Matfield, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger , Callie Visagie , Dean Greyling.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi Morne Mellett, Marcel van der Merwe, Grant Hattingh , Jono Ross, Piet van Zyl , Handre Pollard , Ulrich Beyers.

Sharks

15. SP Marais , 14. JP Pietersen , 13. S 'bura Sithole , 12. Frans Steyn , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Patrick Lambie , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Ryan Kankowski , 7. Willem Alberts , 6. Mar oetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Anton Bresler , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Bismarck du Plessis (Captain) , 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Dale Chadwick , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Etienne Oosthuizen , 20. Tera Mtembu , 21. Charl McLeod , 22. Tim Swiel , 23. Andre Esterhuizen

 
 
 
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