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Preview: Bulls v Chiefs

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Friday, March 28, 2014    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 18, Bulls 8, Chiefs 9, Drawn 1

LAST TIME:
Bulls 22 lost to Chiefs 28, May 25, 2012, Waikato Stadium

WALKING WOUNDED: Tim Nanai-Williams was the only injury concern for the Chiefs with a minor hamstring strain and he will be on the bench. Eight changes were made to the starting side and one of them will see 18-year-old Anton Lienert-Brown make his Super Rugby debut on the wing. The Bulls are still without skipper and lock Flip van der Merwe but are able to field almost the same side again with Akona Ndungane returning from compassionate leave.

FORM: Both teams have been to the fore on the points table without either having taken command of games. The team that improves the most would appear to be the one to claim the win. The Chiefs loss last week to the Force was an upset and one that will have caused considerable anguish to the New Zealand side. Their ability to turn that around will have a big bearing on their prospects in the game. The Bulls put an end to the high-flying Sharks quality run in the competition last week and will have plenty of confidence.

WE THINK:
This should be a genuinely fascinating contest between two contrasting styles of play. If the Chiefs suffer indiscipline they can expect to pay from the boot of ace Bulls goal-kicker Jacques-Louis Potgieter. By the same token, if the Bulls suffer any handling lapses or fail to secure ball, they could suffer the venom of the Chiefs attack. Containing the outstanding Bulls lineout will be another key for the Chiefs and avoiding being stuck in their defensive corners will be important. Winning at Loftus has never been easy and the Chiefs are going to be reminded of that again. But with the bounce of the ball they are well capable of upsetting the home side.

TEAMS:

Bulls:
1.Dean Greyling, 2.Callie Visagie, 3.Werner Kruger, 4.Paul Willemse, 5.Victor Matfield (captain), 6.Deon Stegmann, 7.Jacques du Plessis, 8.Dewald Potgieter, 9.Francois Hougaard, 10.Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 11.Bjorn Basson, 12.Jan Serfontein, 13.JJ Englebrecht, 14.Akona Ndungane, 15.Jurgen Visser.

Reserves: 16.Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Marcel van der Merwe, 18.Grant Hattingh, 19.Jono Ross, 20.Piet van Zyl, 21.Handre Pollard, 22.Ulrich Beyers, Morne Mettet.

Chiefs: 1.Pauliasi Manu, 2.Rhys Marshall, 3.Ben Tameifuna, 4. Matt Symons, 5.Brodie Retallick, 6.Liam Messam, 7.Tanerau Latimer, 8.Kane Thompson, 9.Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10.Aaron Cruden (captain), 11.Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12.Tom Marshall, 13.Andrew Horrell, 14.Anton Lienert-Brown, 15.Mils Muliaina.

Reserves: 16.Mahonri Schwalger, 17. Jamie Mackintosh, 18.Ben Afeaki, 19. Michael Fitzgerald, 20.Sam Cane, 21.Augustine Pulu, 22.Gareth Anscombe, 23.Tim Nanai-Williams.

REFEREE: Craig Joubert