Bulls paint Orlando Stadium blue

"AGT, ses, een," came the line-out call from Blue Bulls captain Victor Matfield at Orlando Stadium yesterday.

"AGT, ses, een," came the line-out call from Blue Bulls captain Victor Matfield at Orlando Stadium yesterday.

His deep voice echoed around the sparsely filled stadium like a foghorn as his team were put through a training session in preparation for their clash against the Crusaders from New Zealand on Saturday.

Come the weekend, though, he will be lucky if he can hear himself as 40 000 fanatical fans - eating biltong and drinking suspicious mixtures out of cool drink bottles - yell their support for their beloved team.

As the warm autumn sun shone down on the players as they went through their paces, instructions were shouted in English and Afrikaans by the large coaching staff.

Head coach Frans Ludeke kept a watchful eye on proceedings from a distance.

Ludeke is the general in the side, his lieutenants (backline coach Pieter Rossouw and John McFarland, defensive coach) drill the side with the precision that has made them the best provincial team in world rugby.

Fullback Zane Kirchner, with his cool dreadlocks, decides things are getting a little too hot and takes off his shirt.

With a chiselled body from months of conditioning, he wouldn't look out of place on the cover of GQ magazine.

The females at the training weren't complaining and lapped up his good looks with delight.

Another favourite with the girls was new sensation Francois Houggard.

Wearing canary-yellow boots and red laces he also kept the female temperatures soaring as he warmed up inches from the sideline. The more he stretched, the wider their eyes got.

Whoever said rugby is a game for men only was obviously not at Orlando Stadium yesterday.

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