It’s been four years since the Vodacom Bulls last played the Brumbies in Canberra, when the home team scored 10 unanswered points in the last 10 minutes to win 32-31.
The Vodacom Bulls, in six visits to the Australian capital, have won only once – in 2007, when they beat the Brumbies by 19-7. Twice they were edged by the Aussies (the defeat in 2009 and 21-19 in 2005), while the team from ACT massacred the Bulls in 2003 (64-26) and 1999 (73-9).
Their winning record in Australia is a dismal 28.6% – or eight victories out of 28 matches since the Vodacom Bulls started playing as a franchise in 1998. But since 2004, when they recorded their first win in Australia over the Reds in Brisbane, the Bulls have won eight from 19 – a much better return.
With the Vodacom Bulls having won only one of their three tour games to date this year, they will be hard-pressed to leave Canberra victorious against Jake White’s Brumbies, a team that only lost their first match of the season last weekend against the DHL Stormers in Cape Town.
Pierre Spies, captain of the Vodacom Bulls, said: “We need more points and we need to get it in Canberra. If we want to finish this tour the way we planned, we cannot afford another match full of slipped opportunities.”
His comments were echoed by Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, who was full of praise for the Brumbies.
“They are well-coached, well-structured and have a number of players that can kill you off,” said Ludeke. “We will have to be at the very best of our game, something I feel we are getting close to.”
The teams are:
Vodacom Bulls: Zane Kirchner, Lionel Mapoe, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Jürgen Visser, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies (captain), Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Juandré Kruger, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Morné Mellett. Replacements: Willie Wepener, Frik Kirsten, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Arno Botha, Ruan Snyman, Louis Fouché, Francois Venter.
Brumbies v Vodacom Bulls
Date: Saturday, 30 March
SA Time: 10h40
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Rohan Hoffman (Australia)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)