Bulls on a cru­sade to re­store pride, Lof­tus’s fortress sta­tus

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

sea­son with some vic­to­ries in or­der to re­store their pride and soothe their hurt­ing sup­port­ers.

Once a fortress for the Bulls and a source of in­tim­i­da­tion for op­po­nents in years gone by, Lof­tus, has be­come fer­tile ground for pick­ing up valu­able points for visit­ing teams and it has lost its lus­tre after the Bulls suf­fered heavy de­feats at the hands of the Cru­saders and Hur­ri­canes.

“Ja it’s def­i­nitely pride at stake for us.

“But I think more so be­cause we lost games at home and coach Nol­lis (Marais) re­ally em­pha­sised at the be­gin­ning of the year that we want to play good rugby and win, es­pe­cially at Lof­tus.

“We need to get that pride back at Lof­tus and it is very im­por­tant for us to play well at our home ground,” said Strauss yes­ter­day.

How­ever, pride won’t be enough to thwart off a Kings side that is fresh off a morale boost­ing win against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires and Strauss has called on his troops to repli­cate the same in­ten­sity and at­ti­tude they showed in dis­man­tling the Sharks last week.

While the Bulls have been found want­ing with their in­ten­sity through­out the du­ra­tion of their games this sea­son, the con­sis­tency in team se­lec­tion with only two changes in Travis Is­maiel and Tian Schoe­man start­ing at wing and fly­half re­spec­tively, the Bulls will be hop­ing to con­tinue with the mo­men­tum they found in Dur­ban.

“It was a very good and much needed win for us.

“I think the in­ten­sity was good and the at­ti­tude was there, some­thing coach Nol­lis asked for dur­ing the week.

“We had a cou­ple of weeks off and there was a lot of en­ergy and the in­ten­sity was there for 80 min­utes.

“It is some­thing that through­out the year we had for 20, 40 or 60 min­utes but the fight was there for the whole 80 min­utes and it made a mas­sive dif­fer­ence,” Strauss said.

As much as the Bulls will be on their own mini cru­sade for their pride, they will also have to keep an eye on the Kings who have shown lit­tle to no fear of the pedi­gree and sta­tus of op­po­si­tion teams.

In what could be their fi­nal act away from home in Su­per Rugby, with the de­ci­sion over their par­tic­i­pa­tion set to be made to­day, the Kings will want to claim yet an­other big scalp and Marais is very much aware of the threat that lies in am­bush ahead of to­mor­row’s en­counter.

“I think they have played good rugby through­out the sea­son, they travel well and their coach Deon Davids has done very well with the side. They are play­ing very well and if we want to beat them we will have to be on top of our game.

“They will come to Lof­tus and want to give us a hid­ing. We ex­pect that at the mo­ment es­pe­cially from them be­cause they might not be play­ing Su­per Rugby next year and they will want to prove a point,” said Marais.

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