Springbok centre Jesse Kriel said they were looking to avoid a repeat of their pre-season loss to the Stormers. Photo: BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – The Bulls will look to avoid costly lapses in concentration when they host the Stormers in their Super Rugby opener at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Springbok centre Jesse Kriel said they were looking to avoid a repeat of their pre-season match against the Capetonians where they pounced on the Bulls’ mistakes to claim a confidence-boosting 33-28 victory.

“We spoke about not making those stupid mistakes, it was obviously just lapses of concentration,” Kriel said.

“We spoke about just being focused and living in the moment, and not switching off because the Stormers obviously have world-class players.

“And I think if you switch off and give them that opportunity that is when they capitalise and score those tries.”

That is what the Stormers did with three of their tries resulting from turnover ball which allowed them to take an early lead.

The Bulls camp have made a point of highlighting the fact that they lost to what could be considered a second-string Stormers side while they fielded most of their first-choice players.

“They didn’t play a lot of their players so I wouldn’t say it is a B-team because a lot of the players that played for them are really good,” Kriel said. “But I think it was definitely not the strongest team they could put out, I think there were eight of their Springboks sitting on the sideline.

“It is definitely going to be a different challenge this weekend when they come to Loftus.”

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Kriel had a short cameo in the match leaving the field three minutes into the game as a precautionary measure after he received a knock to the head.

He subsequently missed out on a tussle with his brother Dan but he was hopeful they would get to lock horns on Saturday.

“I hope he is in the mix, and if he is included, I would be very excited to play against him,” Kriel said. “I was really disappointed last week, I went off after two or three minutes, and I told him after the game I was disappointed that I couldn’t go up against him.”

Kriel said the North-South derby remained one of the highlights on the South African rugby calendar for fans and players.

“It is obviously a huge game to open up the season but is nice and both teams will be highly motivated. I think it is going to be a really physical game and the guys are looking forward to it. 

It is going to be a proper encounter.”


The Star

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