However, Bulls backline coach David Manuel has warned against the entrapments of seeking retribution and wants his team to focus solely on playing their own game ... and winning.
Revenge might be motivation enough for the Bulls after they found themselves on the receiving end of a 33-9 hiding against the Stormers in Cape Town at the beginning of the season but the Pretoria-based franchise find themselves in a position where emotion won’t be enough to see them secure the two victories in as many weeks they need to keep them in the hunt for the play-offs.
After losses against the Brumbies and Waratahs in the past two weeks, the Bulls need to make up lost ground after slipping from a comfortable third place in the overall standings of the South African group to being in fourth place behind the Sharks and in dire need of wins before the June international break.
Manuel believes emotions and the thought of revenge will get the team nowhere and that it will be important to prioritise winning and heeding the lessons from their losses in Australia.
”A derby comes with its own motivation. There won’t be a need to motivate the players for this game and if there is a player who needs to be motivated then they are in the wrong business,” Manuel said on Tuesday.
”It will be important for us not to focus too much on the Stormers and what happened earlier in the year but we must look at how we are going to execute our plan on the day.
What the two losses against the Brumbies and Waratahs have taught us is to respect the ball better and how to build pressure and convert it into points. At times we forced things in Australia and we will need to have the emotional maturity to do better.
”It is that same emotional maturity that the Bulls will need when playing at home as they have maintained an unblemished record at Loftus with the Sharks being the only team coming close to winning when the sides drew.
Besides fighting for their survival beyond the league stage of the competition, there is also the element of pride where the Bulls are hoping to restore the fear factor that came with playing in Pretoria.
Manuel says they must use the confidence gained this year in winning all of their home games but must also remember that it was the same team in the guise of their domestic franchise Western Province that beat them last year in the Currie Cup semi-final.
”We must make Loftus a fortress again. Playing at Loftus gives us the confidence that we can win games here and we must continue doing that. But we must remember what happened in the Currie Cup semi-final and how they used their opportunities better than us. We mustn’t only create the illusion that Loftus is this place where we are unbeatable, we must execute the plan and play like a team that can’t be beaten at home,” Manuel said.
Original source: Bulls will not be out for revenge