Bulls prepare to face Folau

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iol spt apr15 Folau-training Getty Images The Bulls are assuming theyll be facing up to the Waratahs Israel Folau and are figuring out how to stop him. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

There was relief yesterday in the Bulls camp in Sydney with news that captain Flip van der Merwe and veteran wing Akona Ndungane should be available for selection to face the Waratahs on Saturday.

Van der Merwe suffered a bicep injury in Friday’s loss against the Highlanders while Ndungane was a late withdrawal from the starting line-up with a hamstring strain.

The duo, along with fullback Jürgen Visser, will train with their teammates tomorrow and the Bulls will be crossing their fingers that all will be fit to play.

However, they would have not applied much time to thoughts about injuries. Rather, their preoccupation will be with how to deal with the Waratahs and injured Wallaby star fullback Israel Folau.

Folau has been sidelined by a throat cartilage injury for the past three weeks. And while there have been varying opinions on when he will be ready to play again, the Bulls are assuming they’ll be facing up to the man mountain and are figuring out how to stop him.

“You must make sure Folau doesn’t have the ball. If we kick, we have to kick smartly. When we kick a contestable ball, 90percent of the time he will get it and put you under pressure. So in our plan we must kick away from him. We’ll have to work out in our game plan not to kick directly into his area,”defence coach Pine Pienaar said yesterday.

“In broken field he is more of a guy that plays off a strong carrier so we must make sure our line integrity is much better than it was against the Highlanders. If we give them half breaks they are good enough to convert them into points. For us it’ll be important we work as hard as we can to stop the offloads and make sure we get decent hits and wraps on their ball carriers.” - The Star

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