The Vodacom Bulls will be looking to upset the history books again, when they face the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.
Having scraped past the Force at home the week before, going to Eden Park in Auckland where they had never won a match was likely to be a tough task for the Bulls. The Blues had beaten the Crusaders convincingly at the same ground in week 3, and bookmakers were prepared to give the Bulls a 9 point start. The Bulls were switched on from the opening whistle, directed the Blues pack and showed some enterprise in the backline as they won the match by more than a score. Good news for the squad is that Dewald Potgieter has been declared fit and there appears to be no new major injury concerns.
The Crusaders have only played two matches but both of these have ended in defeat and last week they were stunned by the Hurricanes in Wellington going down by a point in a high scoring match. They were a lot better than against the Blues in their opening week but it will be of concern to the camp that they can score four tries and still end up on the wrong side of the result. They are loaded with class not least at flyhalf where Dan Carter has not quite hit top form, but at the same time there is no doubt they are missing regular Captain Richie McCaw.
Head to Head
The Bulls went to Auckland with a poor record to overturn, and previous encounters with the Crusaders on foreign soil do not look any better. They have lost on all 9 visits and only once have they finished within 10 points. Last year they went down 28-13 in an eliminator in Christchurch but earlier in the season the Bulls came from behind to win 32-30 at Loftus. Matches in South Africa between the sides have tended to be high scoring but in New Zealand things have been tighter and the last 4 meetings have seen 42 points or less.
Many supporters had their concerns about the Blues game, and a Bulls win looked unlikely but in the end it was their dominant nature that led them to victory. Based on that showing they must have a strong chance against a Crusaders side that has not yet clicked into gear, albeit they showed signs of coming to hand against the Hurricanes.
History, as has been pointed out, is against them but that was also the case in Auckland. The Bulls look well poised to run the Crusaders very close, and perhaps even pull off a win that would see them discussed among the tournament favourites come Monday morning. The Bulls are looking good for a win and a possible bonus point.
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