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hard to stop bulls' charge

By Bruce Fraser | Mar 19, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE Blue Bulls juggernaut will be hoping to continue their domination of this year's Super 14 when they take on the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, tonight.

THE Blue Bulls juggernaut will be hoping to continue their domination of this year's Super 14 when they take on the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, tonight.

The Pretoria side could not have wished for a better start to the defence of their trophy this year. Four wins - including a bonus point in each match - and they are sitting pretty at the top of the log with an imposing 20 points.

Last week captain Victor Matfield celebrated his 50th match as captain for the Bulls ... this week there's more cause for celebration as he notches up his 100th appearance in Super rugby in the light blue jersey of the Bulls.

"We don't play for caps, we play to win trophies," Matfield is quoted as saying on the Bulls website.

Coach Frans Ludeke has pretty much stuck to the combination that did so well against the Highlanders last week, with the only change to the starting XV being the recall of flanker Deon Stegmann at the expense of Derick Kuun who drops back to the bench.

Putting 50 points or more on the board in three of their games this year, the Bulls are setting the pace, but the Hurricanes will provide them with their toughest test so far.

The New Zealand side will still be smarting after their 13-37 loss to the Stormers last week, but the All Black-laden team is simply too talented to be ignored.

Not happy with last week's effort coach Colin Cooper has wrung the changes in naming six new players in this week's line-up.

A major surprise is the dropping of scrumhalf Piri Weepu to the reserves to give the promising yet inexperienced Tyson Keats a run.

With Sione Lauaki still missing from the Hurricanes team due to personal problems back home in New Zealand, stand-in captain Andrew Hore and Rodney So'oialo will be expected to front up to an intimidating Bulls side in their last game in South Africa before returning home.

Meanwhile, the last match in week six - the Stormers up against the Cheetahs - promises to be a humdinger.

There is nothing like a local derby to stir the emotions and it does not get more intense than these two sides slogging it out.

Out of the Stormers' starting line-up is Fijian-born winger Sireli Naqelevuki who played an absolute blinder last week.

Tall, fast and incredibly strong in the tackle situation, he makes way for the slightly built but immensely talented Gio Aplon.

Also missing out this week is Juan de Jongh through injury, to be replaced to rookie Tim Whitehead.

Like the Bulls, the Stormers are playing their last match at home before going overseas, and there will be no better way to set off than with another five points in the bank.

The match could well be the crossroads of their season for the Cheetahs, who are sitting in mid-table.

After two wins and two losses the Free State side will be desperate for points on home soil.

There will be added responsibility on the backrow combination of Frans Viljoen, Juan Smith and the recalled Hendro Scholtz with the absence of flanker Heinrich Brussouw, who will be out for the rest of the year with a leg injury.


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