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Bulls hope to avoid Western Force banana skin

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke

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Article Published: Friday 1 March 2013|

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The Bulls will start their second round Super Rugby match as strong favourites but the history books show that for them the Force have been a banana skin side for the Pretoria franchise.

The Force have lost their first two matches of this year's edition of the Super Rugby series and will look to finish their tour of South Africa on a high note before they head back Down Under.

"That is the nature of the competition. They've had two losses and they would obviously like to make that right against us," said Bulls captain Pierre Spies.

The three-time champion Bulls would have taken immense confidence from their victory over the Stormers in Pretoria last week.

Spies, however, said that clash was dead and buried and they would focus all their attention on the Force.

The sides are evenly poised in terms of matches won in their last six encounters, with both having bagged three victories.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said the Force's run so far in the competition should not be taken at face value and believed the tourists would put up strong resistance.

"Against the Rebels, in that first game, they showed that they were capable, they were threatening to win that game away," Ludeke said.

"There are no weak sides. They have a solid front row, all of them have almost 40 games playing Super Rugby, they also have a strong loose forward combination.

"As soon as their backs get front-foot ball and broken-field opportunities they can score and they keep the ball for long phases."

The Bulls nonetheless showed against the Stormers that they should be considered early favourites in the competition and it is unlikely that the visitors will upset the apple cart.

While the Pretoria franchise have suffered injury blows to key personnel, their replacements are a good indication of their wealth of depth.

The Bulls will be looking to beat the Force convincingly ahead of their departure for New Zealand for their first match on tour against the Blues next week.

Ludeke said the game against the Australians would test his charges against the style of rugby they expected to encounter in Australasia.

"We know we are in for a tough battle and they play a different shape to what we are used to, compared to the South African style," the Bulls mentor said.

"That is the challenge -- we can test ourselves against a totally different style, a team that keeps the ball and attacks from deep in their half, but with solid set-pieces and a good pack of forwards."

 
 
 
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