Bulls not taking Benetton lightly in quarter-finals

Canan Moodie has scored 10 tries in 14 matches for the Bulls in the URC this season. | Backpagepix

Canan Moodie has scored 10 tries in 14 matches for the Bulls in the URC this season. | Backpagepix

Published Jun 4, 2024


Mike Greenaway

It was only a month ago that Benetton beat a full-strength Sharks team in Durban and it took an almighty effort from the Bulls to do the same thing last week, so there is zero chance of the Italians being underestimated in this week’s United Rugby Championship quarter-final in Pretoria.

The Sharks were not good enough to beat the Italian champions and Bulls wing Canan Moodie says they understand that they are in for a big fight in the URC play-off.

Last week, the Bulls had to wait until the dying minutes before they nailed the bonus-point try and won the SA Shield, while securing the runners-up spot in the overall standings heading into the knockout stages of the URC.

It took a double-try whammy from super sub Akker van der Merwe to blast the Bulls into a home quarter and, possibly, a home semi. Moodie said his team was thrilled to be on the green grass of home but now the pressure was on to make the home-ground advantage count.

“There’s going to be pressure for us, we’re second on the log and we’ve got a home quarter-final, and hopefully a home semi-final,” the wing said.

“Being in a play-off is enough pressure on its own, but we’re not too focused on all the other things. It’s nice playing in front of your home crowd and not having to travel, but we know the job’s far from done.

“We’re not going to take Benetton lightly. Two years ago we were in their position and had to take the long road and fight in every game.”

At the same, Moodie acknowledged that the Bulls have done the hard yards to be at home and they should capitalise on the benefits.

“We’ve created this scenario for ourselves; we’ve worked hard the whole season and played well. We’ve grown in confidence and won the right to play in front of a packed Loftus crowd – you get to sleep in your bed and follow your same routine.

“That gives the guys a lot of comfort and confidence to play the best they can on the weekend.”

Moodie is flying high after winning a World Cup medal last year. He has scored 10 tries in 14 appearances for the Bulls in all competitions and has the world at his feet.

“I picked up a few bumps and bruises in a tough game against the Sharks,” he said. “It is part of the game,.I’ve been strapping up to make sure I can get on the field and contribute to the team.

“Nothing too hectic, just a precaution with the strapping and making sure I can function fully and go 100 when I need to.

“For me, it is this stage of the season where the best players come out and go up a level when it counts most. Not neglecting the other games, but play-offs are where things get a little tighter and margins get smaller.

“So, hopefully I keep playing the best rugby I can and continue that form to contribute to the team and go all the way.”