Both sides come into the ‘Jukskei’ derby grudge match off the back of a win in their previous match, but it was the Lions who returned an unprecedented three wins out of four in their Australasian tour which will leave the perennial Super Rugby strugglers a much different prospect.
“Hats off to the Lions, They made history. They just came back from their best tour ever, so we will be keen to keep that momentum and they will be boosted by their home crowd,” said Ludeke.
“We are also keen to keep progressing as a team and as it is our traditional derby, we are expecting a cracker of a game.”
The Bulls would be seeking their fifth victory in a row after losing their first two matches of the season, and captain Pierre Spies was confident his side would keep improving.
“We learned it the hard way during the opening two weeks,” said Spies.
“You cannot be off the pace during the 80 minutes, as other teams punish you.”
The Bulls trounced a powerful Crusaders side 31-19 last weekend at Loftus Versfeld, but Spies said it would mean little if his charges could not overcome their neighbours.
“We played great rugby last weekend, but that will mean nothing to the Lions, who will come out all guns blazing on their home turf. We lost there last year, so have a lot to prove this time around.”
The Bulls, however, were dealt a heavy blow on Thursday with the news that influential flyhalf Handre Pollard would miss the clash with a knee injury. The number 10 injured his knee during a training session on Thursday, and the Bulls medical team ruled the player out of the match. In his place, the experienced Jacques-Louis Potgieter will make a start.
Key to the positive results of the Lions on tour was the rotation of players by coach Johan Ackermann, where only once did he field the same side from the previous match.
For the Bulls encounter, Ackermann has made three changes to his side which edged the Reds in Brisbane 18-17 last week.
In the pack, Jacques van Rooyen comes in at loosehead prop for Schalk van der Merwe, Robert Kruger drops to the bench and will be replaced by Andries Ferreira at lock.
Wing Anthony Volmink makes a welcome return to the backline with Sampie Mastriet falling out of the match 23.
Ackermann said his players would be keen to simply keep playing winning rugby.
“For us now, it’s about carrying on with the momentum we’ve built up,” said Ackermann.
“We’re back at home, in familiar surroundings, and have a lot of confidence and momentum. We’re looking forward to it. It’s always a nice derby.” – ANA
Original source: Bulls not taking Lions lightly