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Spies: Victory over Chiefs is crucial for Bulls

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke and Captain Pierre Spies

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Article Published: Wednesday 23 May 2012|

Bulls captain Pierre Spies says that victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton this weekend is crucial if they want to secure a home final in this year's Super Rugby competition.

The Bulls face the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday in the last match of their Australasian tour.

"When you are playing in this competition you should actually have a home semi-final to give yourself the best chance to also secure a home final," Spies said.

"The competition is of such a nature that you have to take it game by game, but it remains at the back of your head that you would like to have that home semi-final."

The Bulls must dust themselves off after they were outplayed in their 16-11 defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin last week, relinquishing top spot in the Super Rugby table.

Spies lamented his side's lost chances which could have cemented their position as log leaders.

"I think we created a couple of opportunities and we made a few mistakes at certain times of the match," Spies said.

"We just could not convert the pressure we exuded into points."

"That was what cost us the match at the end of the day and we just ran out of time."

Spies said he expected a fast and physical Chiefs outfit to keep the ball in hand and the Bulls' defence would need to be sharp against one of the competition's pacesetters.

He added that a victory over the New Zealand side in their backyard would give his team a crucial confidence boost.

"On many levels it would be good for us as a team to end the tour off with a victory over the Chiefs," he said.

"It will give us a boost as they are at the top of the log.

"There is a lot to play for this weekend and it is the perfect match to finish off the tour."

Meanwhile, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke selected Wilhelm Steenkamp at lock in the place of regular lock Juandre Kruger who drops to the bench in the only change to the side.

Dewald Potgieter and CJ Stander, who sustained injuries against the Highlanders, have both recovered and will take their places in the loose trio.

"We have a rotational policy and have a buy-in from all the players about it," said Ludeke.

"Wilhelm has played very well off the bench thus far in the competition, so I have no problem in starting him.

"Juandre will obviously play an important role as substitute, which will be crucial against a classy side like the Chiefs."

Bulls :

Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, Johann Sadie, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies (captain), CJ Stander, Dewald Potgieter, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling.

Replacements: Willie Wepener, Rayno Gerber, Juandré Kruger, Arno Botha, Jano Vermaak, Louis Fouche, JJ Engelbrecht.

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