DESPITE Bakkies Botha picking up a four-week suspension after his illegal clearing out in a maul last weekend against the Stormers in Cape Town, the Bulls remain upbeat ahead of their semifinal on Saturday against the Crusaders at Orlando Stadium.
It's the second time the hard man of SA rugby has copped a suspension for a similar offence, but at Orlando yesterday the team quickly put it behind them and got down to their practice session.
Slotting into Botha's position in the middle of the scrum is Danie Rossouw, with Flip van der Merwe moving on to the bench.
"It is a big knock to lose a player like Bakkies but we have depth in our squad and have to go with the call of the (citing) commission," said coach Frans Ludeke after the team's workout yesterday.
Jaco van der Westhuyzen is also playing this weekend in the place of suspended wing Gerhard van den Heever.
The fact that they are playing at a historic stadium is not lost on captain Victor Matfield.
"It's a great stadium and the guys are really looking forward to the match. It's great for our country that rugby comes to Soweto. If you want to grow the game it is necessary to make these moves," Matfield said.
The game also marks a milestone in the talismanic captain's illustrious career as he makes his 100th appearance in the blue jersey of the Bulls.
"It's a privilege to achieve this milestone in Soweto. Hopefully afterwards we can celebrate with a win," he said.
A lot has been made of the fact that most of the Bulls players had last week off and there were questions over whether they will be up to it against seven-time champions the Crusaders. It's an issue that doesn't bother Ludeke.
"The players are rested and looking forward to the challenge," he said.
"Taking on a quality side like the Crusaders makes us move the bar up even further."