Bulls favourites in Super 14 semi

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

Home advantage and their high work rate should give the Bulls the edge over New Zealand's Crusaders in the Super 14 semifinal match at Loftus Stadium in Tshwane on Saturday.

The intriguing encounter, which kicks off at 3pm, is a repeat of the 2007 semifinals where the Bulls beat the Crusaders 27-12 at home.

The Bulls held their first training session yesterday since their return from Durban on Monday, where they registered a hard-fought 27-26 victory over a stubborn Sharks side on Saturday.

Captain Victor Matfield said the players have shown sheer commitment and consistency throughout the season and that they were eager to beat the visitors on their way to the final.

"We have worked very hard to get to where we are today. We cannot afford to disappoint our supporters who have been rallying behind us throughout the season," said Matfield.

He expects the visitors to be very physical on the day but believes good kicking and finishing could see them through. But the Crusaders, who are chasing their eighth Super Rugby trophy, are good travellers.

The good news for the Bulls is that Wynand Olivier has recovered from the hip injury he sustained against the Sharks. But JP Nel is suspended for a dangerous tackle on Sharks fullback Stefan Terblanche.

The Bulls squad: Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, Jaco Pretorius, Olivier, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Matfield (captain), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Derick Kuün and Gurthrö Steenkamp.