Bulls want to go toe-to-toe with Bordeaux

rugby18 January 2024 10:44| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Vodacom Blue Bulls © Gallo Images

Loftus Versfeld looks set to host a humdinger in the Investec Champions Cup this coming weekend as the Vodacom Bulls prepare to host the on-form Bordeaux-Begles side with all their stars on Saturday.

The indications are that Bordeaux have added some South African players to their squad - with the likes of Madosh Tambwe and Carlu Sadie likely to join the touring squad - while their French stars such as Damian Penaud and Mathieu Jalibert are said to be in the touring squad as well.

Bordeaux have been in sensational form this season - they put over 50 points on Premiership Champions Saracens on the weekend and have scored massive wins in their other two games as well.

Bordeaux beat Connacht 41-5 at the Sportsground in Galway, a venue where no South African team has won yet. They then beat Bristol Bears 36-17 before their massive win over Saracens to have 15 points out of 15 for the three games thus far.

Bordeaux obviously also see themselves as title contenders at this stage, and believe they need to take points home from Loftus Versfeld if they are to achieve that aim.

Bulls coach Jake White knows just how dangerous they are but is looking forward to the opportunity to face them.

“They have basically beaten everyone convincingly in our pool. They are second on the log in the Top 14. So they are the form team. I’ve looked at their results, I don’t think they have lost for a long time - home and away - and the way the format is set up they are going to have to bring their main guys now,” White said.

“If Lyon win and we get a bonus point and win by a lot, it could change the whole dynamic of who finishes where on the log. I take it as a given that they will bring their best players.”

So just how do they face a team in such good form with their internationals on song. Pretty simple really, fight fire with fire.

The Bulls have signalled that they are ready to go toe to toe with the French giant-killers and are relishing the prospect.

“To be fair we have also played a lot of good rugby and scored a lot of points. We are the top try-scoring team in the URC so it will be an interesting game. It’s altitude, 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and different conditions from Bordeaux last week. If they want to play quickly it may play into our hands, especially with the altitude. If you land on the Wednesday and play on the Saturday it has an effect.”

White added that this is now knockout rugby for the Bulls and there is only one aim - to stay alive in the competition.

“That was my message last week - that it was a knockout game - we needed to win to stay alive in the competition. It is no different. If you look at the nature of the tournament, Bristol’s last score against us changed the points difference, Saracens scoring those last two tries changed the points difference as well. It shows you how tight it is.

“If they (Bristol) didn’t score at the end, and Saracens didn’t score, all we needed to do was get a bonus point and win by 5 points. Now we have to win by 36 points if we want to top the pool.

“The nature of this competition - look at La Rochelle, they lost to the Stormers and they had to win and get a lot of points against Leicester. This last weekend is all about knockout rugby, it is about making sure you stay alive.”

The Bulls will name their side on Friday for the clash.