prospects bullish

LEAVING today for their overseas leg of the Super 14, the Bulls could not have wished for a better start to this year's campaign.

LEAVING today for their overseas leg of the Super 14, the Bulls could not have wished for a better start to this year's campaign.

A clean sheet of five wins in as many outings and Frans Ludeke's charges will be thinking of nothing less than a semifinal berth come the business end of the competition.

This year's draw couldn't have been kinder to the Pretoria side . five home matches then games against the Western Force in Perth, Blues in Auckland, Chiefs in Hamilton and Reds in Brisbane.

They must be the favourites in each clash.

The Chiefs are the highest placed of the four teams in sixth place with three wins from five matches and by the time they go head-to-head on April 9 the Bulls will have been on the road for three weeks and will hopefully have cemented their top spot.

Up against the Western Force this Saturday, it's a case of No 1 taking on No 14. Without a win to their name this year, the Force continue to under-perform and should be no match for a Bulls side high on confidence and endowed with talent.

Relatively injury-free, the Bulls have unearthed a couple of gems this year in the form of Gerhard van der Heever and Francois Hougaard.

With the departure of Bryan Habana to the Stormers and the long-term leg injury to Akona Ndungane, the two youngsters have grabbed their opportunity with gusto and illustrate just what depth the province has.

In the halfback pairing of Fourie du Preez and Morne Steyn, the Bulls are blessed with a world-class combination and one that dictates play so well.

Up front the old hands of Victor Matfield, Gary Botha and Pierre Spies know the conditions all too well Down Under and it's that experience that should give the side a great deal of confidence in the weeks ahead.

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