Cape Town – Sharks coach Gary Gold says he has noticed a difference in the Bulls since Nollis Marais took over as Super Rugby coach at the start of the season.
The sides meet at Loftus on Friday night, and while the Sharks go into the clash as slight favourites, Gold knows that Loftus is never an easy place to go.
The Sharks are undefeated after three rounds of fixtures, while the Bulls lost to the Stormers at Newlands before blowing the Rebels away at Loftus.
Gold made particular mention of the Bulls backline, and he believes that they will be well rested after their bye weekend.
The Sharks, meanwhile, were in action less than a week ago in a bruising 18-13 win over the Stormers at Newlands.
“The Bulls have had one poor half of rugby which was the
second half against the Stormers,” said Gold.
“They were outstanding in the first half
against the Stormers, put them to the sword, more so than we did.
“You can just
see they’ve got another attacking edge to their game. Nollis has brought in a
more feared attacking edge and when you see the backs that they have at their
disposal … they are a formidable unit.
“We’re going to go to Loftus needing our
A-game if we’re going to impress.”
The Sharks have not won a Super Rugby clash at Loftus since 2011, and having just defeated the Stormers at Newlands, Gold knows how much of a boost victory on Friday night would be.
“From an internal point of view it would do confidence the
world of good,” said Gold.
“They are not places (Newlands and Loftus) that the Sharks have gone to over the last
four or five years with a lot of success. It’s something we targeted.
they are two teams (Stormers and Bulls) that we definitely identified as benchmarks in terms of how
much we have progressed as a team over pre-season and in the last year.
would do us the world of good to know that we can go away from home to
difficult places and get a positive result.”
Kick-off on Friday is at 19:10.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jesse Kriel
15. Willie le Roux, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Michael Claassens, 8. Daniel du Preez, 7. Philip van der Walt, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (captain)
Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Keegan Daniel, 21. Cobus Reinach, 22. Garth April, 23. Odwa Ndungane