Bulls

Bulls will look to repeat 2007 heroics

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The Bulls go into their semi-final against the Crusaders at Loftus on Saturday knowing they are only team ever to defeat the Crusaders in a Super 14 Rugby semi-final.


The Crusaders have reached the playoffs on 10 occasions between 1998 and 2008 with the only defeat being a 27-12 loss against the Bulls in Pretoria in 2007.


During that period they have progressed to nine finals, winning a record seven titles.


In 2007, after the Bulls hard fought win over the most successful team in Super Rugby, they went on to secure their first and only Super Rugby title with a 20-19 win over the Sharks in Durban.


The Bulls have appeared in the semi-finals of the competition on four previous occasions, two of those was against the Crusaders, in 2007 and 2006 when they suffered a 35-15 defeat in Christchurch.


In their previous 16 meetings since the inception of Super Rugby in 1996, the Bulls have won five and the Crusaders 11.


The Bulls have a 50 percent success rate over the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld with each side having won four times at the Bulls’ fortress. In their last meeting at the venue in 2008, the Crusaders won 54-19.


The Bulls’ biggest-ever win over the New Zealanders was a 34-18 win in Christchurch way back in 1996 when they were still known as Northern Transvaal.


However, their biggest win in recent times was a 35-20 triumph in Pretoria in 2005. But the Crusaders’ biggest victory over the Bulls was a 75-27 thrashing in Christchurch in 2000.


While the Crusaders have been a dominant force in Super Rugby over the past decade, the Bulls have been one of the teams that have come to the fore over the past few seasons.


This season the Bulls topped the Super 14 log, with just three defeats in their 13 league matches.


This season the Crusaders started off badly, but then put it all together to win eight out of 13 on their way to claiming fourth place on the log.


As was the case two seasons back, the Bulls will be carried by the sea of blue in the Loftus stands.


If they can settle quickly and put their pack in control they will remain on course for a second final appearance in three seasons.


Sapa

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