The Brumbies are eyeing off the Bulls’ revamped lineout as a potential pressure point ahead of Sunday’s (AEST) knock-out Super Rugby semi-final.
Territory will always be a focal point in a game featuring four of Super Rugby’s top 15 kickers – even more so at the high altitude arena of Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
And Brumbies coach Jake White has noticed the Bulls’ lineout has performed below its stellar best since main jumper Juandre Kruger left for French rugby at the end of June.
The 199cm-tall lock had taken the second most lineouts (63) in the competition up until his departure – just one behind Brumbies captain and lineout thief Ben Mowen.
“(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.
“It is a loss because Juandre was obviously the key sort of player in all their lineouts going into this campaign.”
Ever the mind-games enthusiast, White was quick to suggest 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,” White said.
The Bulls will have likely also worked on their scrummaging throughout the week.
The Brumbies not only dominated the Cheetahs’ scrum last weekend, but earned six scrum penalties on their way to posting a 23-20 victory when they last played the Bulls in Canberra back in March.
Yet the underdog Brumbies are under no illusions they will have their work cut out for them.
The Bulls have won 22 of their past 24 home matches against Trans-Tasman teams and all five of their home finals matches.
Captain Ben Mowen insists his side has learnt their lesson from their last visit to Pretoria in 2012, where 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.”Posted on