PRETORIA – There are a lot of battered and bruised egos at Loftus Versfeld in the aftermath of their narrow defeat to the Highlanders, but it could get worse.
On Saturday the Bulls face yet another acid test, this time not of their character but of their mettle to compete in Super Rugby when they come up against the high flying Lions at Ellis Park.
The men in blue would have looked back on their encounter against the Highlanders in the knowledge that it was their one opportunity to redeem themselves, but to also stem the tide of bad results that have befallen them this season.
While the Bulls languish in the bottom half of the overall Super Rugby standings with only three wins out of their 10 matches, they will face their biggest challenge of this year’s Super Rugby campaign against a side that were last year’s losing finalists and have lost only one match out of their 10 this year.
It will be a massive test for Nollis Marais’ young chargers and this they will have to do without lock RG Snyman who was red carded against the Highlanders and will in all likelihood miss out on the next four weeks of rugby when the outcome of his disciplinary hearing is announced on Tuesday.
But in all the despair of the past weeks and the increasing pressure on Marais and the players to turn things around at Loftus, the Bulls will at least have some continuity from the positives that came out of their fight against the Highlanders.
With a clean bill of health, it will be their mindset that stands in the way of them and an unlikely win against the Lions.
There were enough glimpses of guts, a fighting spirit and cohesion in their game against the Highlanders for them to fancy mounting a challenge.
However, the Bulls will need to do more in all departments of the game if they are to stand up to the might of the Lions.
“I think we can take a lot of pride and confidence out of the game. Saturday won’t be any easier in Johannesburg and we will have to be up for it from the beginning of the week,” said captain Hanro Liebenberg.
“We have to be positive and if we lie down then everybody is going to kick us so we have to keep on fighting.
“I don’t think we can ever do enough and we will keep on working harder and putting more time into everything we do.”
Meanwhile former Springbok loose forward Jacques Potgieter has been ruled out for a further six weeks after suffering from post concussion syndrome.