Bulls target Brumbies duo

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That will be the message from the Bulls management to their players as they go in search of their second win on tour when they play against the Brumbies in Canberra tomorrow.

There is no doubt that both Pocock and Fardy have been the most influential loose forward combination in world rugby in the past 12 months and it was their tag team effort which was instrumental in getting the Wallabies to the World Cup final last year.

The duo also played a pivotal role in seeing their team to last year’s Super Rugby semi-finals, which they lost against the Hurricanes in Wellington, and much of what has happened with the Brumbies this year has been off the shoulders of Pocock and Fardy.

Even though the Brumbies were on the losing side last week in Invercargill against the Highlanders, Pocock still impressed with 16 carries in an otherwise bad day at the office for Stephen Larkham’s men.

It, therefore, makes sense that the Bulls would have spent a lot of time this week analysing the weaknesses of both players and they would have taken some valuable lessons from the Stormers defeat of the Brumbies a few weeks ago.

What stood out in the Stormers 31-11 victory in Cape Town over the Brumbies was how Pocock and Fardy were overshadowed by Nizaam Carr, Siya Kolisi and Schalk Burger.

If the Bulls are to subdue Pocock and Fardy, then it will be up to Lappies Labuschagne, Arno Botha and Hanro Liebenberg to continue with the form they showed last week.

Labuschagne was outstanding last week and was the second best tackler of the weekend with a monumental 20 tackles while Botha dominated the turnovers statistics with a handy six turnovers won.

While Pocock and Fardy will be running targets for the Bulls and the catalyst to anything the Brumbies will try to do, it would be advisable for the hosts to also keep an eye on Labuschagne and Botha as they have proven to be effective in swinging a game in their favour.

Labuschagne has to lead the charge in chopping down Pocock and prevent him from giving his team any meaningful possession on the front foot while Botha will have his hands full in the dog fight against Fardy at the breakdown, which will go a long way in determining the outcome of this contest.

However, it will take more than four men to determine the victors and the vanquished tomorrow and with both teams playing a similar brand of rugby, it is the team that executes the best that will take the spoils.

The Brumbies and the Bulls have an equally strong scrum and as much as the hosts will be boosted by the return of captain Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander, as well as Scott Sio, they should be guarded against Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss and Marcel van der Merwe, who have been the anchor of their side.

The Bulls stood head and shoulders over the Force at the line-out last week and they will again look to the ingenuity of Marvin Orie and RG Snyman, who led last weekend’s stats of own line-outs won with seven each, to lay a platform for them to utilize their rolling maul.

“It will be massive challenge upfront. The set phases are one of their strengths and first phase play from line-out and maul is where they are exceptional. It will be tough and a different challenge but we will have to do it again this weekend against a good Brumbies side,” said Bulls captain Strauss this week. - The Star

Original source: Bulls target Brumbies duo

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