Hurricanes preparing for Bulls backlash




The Hurricanes are preparing themselves for a battering from the Bulls when the two teams meet in the last Super 14 match this weekend.

Hooker Andrew Hore and halfback Piri Weepu say they’re expecting a backlash from the defending champions after last year’s champions have had a disappointing season.

They say that the Bulls backlash will come because the Bulls will be at home and they will want to give their fans something to smile about.

“These guys are twice as physical and emotional when they play at Loftus (Versfeld) because their fans get them really charged up,” Hore told NZPA.

“They haven’t had a flash season so far and now that they are back home we can see them holding nothing back.”

In fact this season has been the worst season for the Bulls since 2004 as they already know that they cannot realistically reach the play offs.

The Hurricanes pack are quietly grateful to coach Colin Cooper for shifting the powerful Ma’a Nonu to second five-eight from wing as they are depending on the midfielder to help spark the much-needed forward momentum against the big Bulls team.

“It’s easier (for the loose forwards) to latch on and keep it going when someone can start the roll forward,” Hore said.

“That’s what every team needs to do well – get over the advantage line and try to keep it rolling.”

Hore has scored a try in each of the Hurricanes last two games and he believes the Bulls will be strong in the scrum and lineout.

Weepu has come under some criticsm for his play lately and has put his head down and worked on trying to improve his fitness and general game.

“You always try to improve. There is always room for improvement and I’ve been working pretty hard all round.

“I don’t think the Bulls will make it easier for me or anyone. I’m just hoping our forwards play well – maybe like the second half in last week’s game.

“But these guys (Bulls) have some size – it’s going to be a pretty tough physical battle.”

Weepu says that he rates the Bulls’ forward combination as perhaps the biggest in the world rugby (tests included).

He said that an option for the Hurricanes will be to move the game around the field at speed so the big men tire out.

“We have a few ideas but I can’t tell you all of them. If you move the big guys there will be gaps left.”

Speaking about his other team-mate Nonu Weepu said, “He’s pretty dangerous no matter where he’s on the field – he’s one of those individuals who can create something out of nothing,”

“For sure, he’ll add a bit more to our game.”

The Bulls have named an unchanged team to the one that lost 14-15 to the Western Force in Perth last weekend and captain Fourie du Preez conceded his team were in deep trouble, holding 13th place in the 14-team competition.

“How quickly we get out of it depends on ourselves,” he said.

“The players feel worse than anyone else after returning without a single victory from Australasia.

“We are a proud team and no one has to tell us our 13th position on the log is unacceptable.

“Even though we played a lot better in our two recent matches we still have to change to a higher gear to break our losing streak and beat the Hurricanes.”   

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