Bulls want to pull Bears teeth

Henry

The Champions Cup showdown between the Bulls and the Bristol Bears starts in just a few hours and the Pretorianians are in a fighting mood.

“It’s simple. We are here to win,” said Jake White, the Bulls’ director of rugby.

According to the 60-year-old coach, who held up the Webb Ellis trophy with John Smit’s Springbok team in 2007, this is a decisive battle for both teams.

“It’s a make-or-break game for us and the Bears, as it were. The team that wins today is, so to speak, assured of a place in the play-offs of the tournament.”

The Bulls are currently third in Group 1 of the Champions Cup, while Bristol occupy fifth place. However, both teams have five league points after their few matches.

“It is a tough competition. Winning one game and losing the other left us in the middle of the group and this matchup will give us more clarity on where we can finish. This is going to have a definite influence on our way forward – especially when it comes to planning and travel purposes.”

Harold Vorster is fit again and he will work with David Kriel in midfield.

“Harold’s experience is of great value and he plays well with David. At the same time, Ruan Nortjé and Ruan Vermaak are also making their return and this provides additional depth.”

The match starts at 17:15 and the action is broadcast live on SuperSport.

Bulls: Devon Williams (full back), Sebastian de Klerk (right wing), David Kriel (outside centre), Harold Vorster (inside centre), Sergeal Petersen (left wing), Johan Goosen (fly-half), Embrose Papier (scrum-half), Mpilo Gumede (eighth man), Elrigh Louw (flank), Marcell Coetzee (captain and flank), Reinhardt Ludwig (lock), Ruan Vermaak (lock), Wilco Louw (prop), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (hooker) and Gerhard Steenekamp (prop). Substitutes: Simphiwe Matanzima, Tiaan Lange, Kutha Mchunu, Ruan Nortjé, Deon Slabbert, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smith and Henry Immelman.

Bristol Bears: Max Malins (full back), Noah Heward (right wing), Benhard Janse van Rensburg (outside centre), James Williams (inside centre), Gabriel Ibitoye (left wing), AJ MacGinty (fly-half), Kieran Marmion (scrum-half), Magnus Bradbury (eighth man), Dan Thomas (flank), Steven Luatua (captain and flanker), Joe Batley (lock), Josh Caulfield (lock), George Kloska (prop), Gabriel Oghre (hooker) and Sam Grahamslaw (prop). Subs: Will Capon, Jake Woolmore, Max Lahiff, Joseph Owen, Jake Heenan, Harry Randall, Virimi Vakatawa and Richard Lane.

  • Teams’ previous results:

Bulls:

53 – 27 against Connacht

44 – 10 against the Sharks

27 – 16 against Saracens

28 – 29 against Lyon

20 – 26 against the Stormers

Bristol Bears:

20 – 36 against Sale Sharks

21 – 22 against Exeter Chiefs

36 – 21 against Gloucester

36 – 34 against Lyon

17 – 36 against Bordeaux