PRETORIA – The Bulls’ recent unbeaten run against New Zealand opposition in the Land of the Long White Cloud has given the side a spirit of fearlessness.
This will come in handy in their Super Rugby quarter-final clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
The Bulls’ talismanic flyhalf and captain Handre Pollard said they were well aware of the challenge the Hurricanes posed in their backyard, but they nevertheless back themselves.
“Playing in New Zealand is always tough, but luckily we take quite a bit of confidence from the tour we had a few weeks ago,” Pollard said.
“Those couple of draws were gutsy performances from our side, and if we can just stay in the fight for the full 80 minutes, anything can happen. It is play-off rugby, one mistake at the wrong time or one moment of brilliance at the right time can swing the game your way.”
The Bulls’ draws against the Blues and Highlanders in New Zealand have given them a shot in the arm and the momentum they needed going into a tough assignment.
Pollard said they were gleefully looking forward to a battle of attrition against the Hurricanes. The class of 2019 had shown no sign of panic - particularly in their tour of Australasia - when they trailed early on.
“Those things can happen, especially away from home against a side like the Hurricanes with all that X-factor where they can come out of the blocks firing,” Pollard said. “But we have the confidence to handle whatever they throw at us and keep fighting.
“This bunch of guys like the fight, we love the tough matches, and we are looking forward to another one on Saturday.”
Pollard said there was plenty of excitement within the team about experiencing the play-offs which were virgin territory for the current crop of Bulls players.
“I mean it is play-offs, we haven’t been in the play-offs in six or seven years, that is a massive motivation for us,” Pollard said. “This group has never been in a play-off match of sorts, so there is a lot of excitement this week again.
“There is massive excitement for us to go over and of course the ‘Canes are a brilliant side, and it is going to be tough, but we’ve got nothing to fear.”
The Bulls last featured in a play-off during the 2013 season when they suffered a 26-23 semi-final defeat to the Brumbies at Loftus.@ockertde