Brumbies to target Bulls set-piece
July 26, 2013
The Bulls have felt the absence of Juandre Kruger © PA Photos
The Brumbies are eyeing the revamped Bulls lineout as a potential pressure point in the Super Rugby semi-final at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, Jake White noting the South Africans' set-piece has performed below its stellar best since Juandre Kruger left for French rugby at the end of June.
"[Kruger] was a great lineout guy and you can see that in the last couple of games they haven't been as accurate as they probably would have liked," White said of the 199cm lock who took the second-most lineouts (63) in the competition - just one behind Brumbies captain and lineout thief Ben Mowen.
"It is a loss because Juandre was obviously the key sort of player in all their lineouts going into this campaign."
White, ever keen to play mind games, was quick to suggest that Bulls forwards coach and former Springboks captain Victor Matfield would have been working to fix the issue. "Victor is well known around the world as a great lineout coach. He was a great exponent himself. So I'm sure he'll work out ways."
The Bulls will have likely also worked on their scrummage throughout the week, given the Brumbies pack that dominated the Cheetahs' scrum in the Super Rugby qualifier at Canberra Stadium earned six scrum penalties in their 23-20 victory over the Bulls when they last played the Pretoria-based side in Canberra in March.
The underdog Brumbies are under no illusions they have their work cut out for them, with the Bulls having won 22 of their past 24 home matches against trans-Tasman teams, and all five of their home Super Rugby finals matches. But Mowen insists the Brumbies have learned their lesson from their previous visit to Pretoria, in 2012, when they lost 36-34 despite outscoring the Bulls five tries to two.
"We had a pretty ordinary start against the Bulls last time, and they skipped ahead," Mowen said. "You've just got to make sure you take your shots early."
Follow live text commentary of the Super Rugby semi-final between the Bulls and the Brumbies on Saturday, July 27, from 5pm (RSA), 3pm (GMT), 3am (June 28, NZT), 1am (June 28, EST)
Greg Growden and Russell Barwick preview the Super Rugby semi-finals