Bulls v Chiefs preview




Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, 17.00 (15.00 GMT)

This fixture is a must-win for one of the pre-tournament favourites, the Bulls. They were stunned last week when they turned over a massive early advantage to go down to a rather more lightweight Force, and would be hungry to turn it all around against a weakened Chiefs side.

Expect a vicious Bulls backlash this Saturday.

The Chiefs are the only side so far not to have won a game, and they have an injury list of nearly ten. They are incredibly vulnerable.

But like the Bulls, they too were much touted at the start of the season, and only narrowly went down to the impressive Hurricanes two weeks ago.

The Bulls need to be careful here. They are looking thin in their midfield and another home loss could sink them before they even hit the road.

However, the return of Bakkies Botha to the starting lineup, and the presence of Gurthro Steenkamp with a game under his belt will add the steel to the Bulls pattern of play.

Stephen Bates will valiantly lead his side in the absence of Jono Gibbes.

But with doubt remaining over the fitness of centre Richard Kahui – rushed to South Africa this week – fly-half Stephen Donald and veteran lock Keith Robinson the picture is even more bleak than it initially seemed.

There is still an outside chance that the tall lock, Robinson, may fully recover from a calf strain and could be deemed fit to play in this match.

Foster has bracketed Robinson with Kristian Ormsby in the starting fifteen.

The Chiefs’ first five-eighth (number 10), Donald, who suffered a groin strain in last weekend’s heart-breaking 21-16 defeat at the hands of the Stormers, is also bracketed alongside rookie Chief Murray Williams.

Calls on their fitness and availability will only be made on Saturday.

Expect some late changes.

Fullback Dwayne Sweeney will attack for all his worth, but it won’t be enough for a Chiefs side heavily beset with injury woes.

Prediction: The Bulls will still struggle with a lack of form and imagination, but in the end their structure and brute force will see them through. The Bulls will win by ten.


Bulls: 15 Johan Roets, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morn’ Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Anton Leonard, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Danie Rossouw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Danie Thiart, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp
Replacements: 16 Jaco Engels, 17 Ruan Vermeulen, 18 Pedrie Wannenburg, 19 Derick Ku’n, 20 Heinie Adams, 21 Derick Hougaard, 22 Jaco van der Westhuyzen

Chiefs: 15 Dwayne Sweeney, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Roy Kinikinilau, 10 Stephen Donald/Murray Williams, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Steven Bates (c), 5 Toby Lynn, 4 Kristian Ormsby/Keith Robinson, 3 Nathan White, 2 Tom Willis, 1 Simms Davison
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Ben Castle, 18 Kristian Ormsby/Tanerau Latimer/Andrew van der Heidjen, 19 Liam Messam 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Murray Williams/Anthony Tahana, 22 Niva Ta’auso

Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Touch judges: Geoff Acton (Australia), Phillip Bosch (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

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