Venu: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
Kick-off Sat 2 Mar: 17:05 (Local)
3 Mar NZ 04:05 (Auck)
Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
Bulls: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Sampie Mastriet, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morne Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Jacques Potgieter, 6. Arno Botha, 5. Juandre Kruger, 4. Flip vd Merwe, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Morne Mellet. Bench: 16. Willie Wepener, 17. Frik Kirsten, 18. Grant Hattingh, 19. Jean Cook, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Louis Fouche, 22. Jan Serfontein. Injured: Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann.
Force: 15. Will Tupou, 14. Nick Cummins, 13. Winston Stanley, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. Alfie Mafi, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Richard Brown, 7. Matt Hodgson (c), 6. Angus Cottrell, 5. Hugh McMeniman, 4. Toby Lynn, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Pek Cowan, Bench: 16. Heath Tessmann, 17. Tetera Faulkner, 18. Sam Wykes, 19. Ben McCalman, 20. Chris Alcock, 21. Mick Snowden, 22. Jayden Hayward.
Previous results: Bulls: Away 38 – 32 Lions
Home 32 – 10 Cheetahs
Home 25 – 17 Stormers (most recent fixture).
Force: Home 46 – Tonga XV 0
Neutral Force 18 – Brumbies 20
Away 23 – 30 Rebels
Away 10 – 22 Kings (most recent result).
The fortunes of the Bulls and the Force could not have been more different last weekend. The Bulls beat tournament favourites the Stormers whilst the Force lost to tournament favourites, of another kind, the Kings (for the wooden spoon). The Bulls’ stern defensive effort against the Stormers must be applauded. Examining the Force’s form, even though they have lost 3 matches on the trot it must be noted that two of them were within 7. Add to this mix new to Super Rugby referee Jason Jaftha (South Africa) and things might not be so bad for the Force. The reason being is that new refs. have a habit of failing to penalize many infringements (as they simply miss a lot of them due to being “caught in the headlights”) which is usually to the benefit of the defending or weaker team.
Betting: Outright: 1/10 v.s 8/1
Handicap: -15 v.s +15
Prediction: There appears to be a new found hunger and belief in the Bulls camp. Not good news for bottom of the table Force who also must do battle on Loftus Versfeld, a proven sinking ground for many visiting sides. The Bulls should have this match in the bag but possibly by a lower margin than most may expect (+- 13 points).