Experts feel bullish for crunch clash

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

The Bulls are tipped to win tomorrow's Super 14 semifinal against holders the Crusaders at Loftus Stadium.

This was the impression from three top coaches Sowetan spoke to yesterday ahead of the all-important encounter that kicks off at 3pm.

National under-20 coach Eric Sauls admitted this will obviously be a tough game for the Bulls, but he expects the South Africans to pull through for a home final next Saturday.

"They [Bulls] have got everything they need in the world to topple the Crusaders. Firstly, they have enough experience in the team in the form of eight Springbok players. Secondly, they are playing at home and all South Africans will be rallying behind them," said Sauls.

"Though JP Nel's suspension will have a great impact on the team, they should nevertheless win."

Eugene Eloff, mentor of the Xerox Lions Super 14 team, has warned the Bulls against trying anything new against the New Zealand team.

"The Bulls must play a structured game and make full use of their scoring opportunities. They should not relax on their laurels because the Crusaders look dangerous if given a space," Eloff said.

"I am sure they will overcome the Crusaders and book a home final next week."

Dawie Theron, the 2008 Vodacom Cup coach, said the Bulls cannot afford to falter now, after securing first spot on the log.

"After their successful season, the Bulls deserve to play in the final and hoist the SA flag high with pride, come next Saturday."

It is unfortunate that Nel will not feature in the team after his suspension for a dangerous tackle on Sharks fullback Stefan Terblanche last weekend.