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Bulls poised to take control

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JOHANNESBURG — The Vodacom Bulls seem to think they still have it all to do and reckon they could still come unstuck, but their status as heir to the Super Rugby conference title held by the DHL Stormers over the past two years could strengthen significantly this weekend.

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They need to avoid doing what the Toyota Cheetahs did last week by underestimating a Kiwi opponent that might just challenge if they put an extra focus into this game, and sometimes teams are vulnerable when they come back from a bye.

But Pierre Spies’s team should expect to beat the Highlanders at Loftus, and they should also pick up the four-try bonus point.

That would mean the Cheetahs fall more than a win behind on the conference log table if they lose to the Reds in Bloemfontein.

Naka Drotske must have been frustrated with the way his team imploded against the Hurricanes last week as the Wellington side are a team you should expect to beat at home.
The Reds are a tougher proposition, and, given their recent form, may even be starting this match as favourites.

Last Friday night, as the Cheetahs were losing, there was all sort of imagery in the air of bubbles bursting, and the “I told you so” brigade would have started to feel they might yet be vindicated.

The Cheetahs need to keep them quiet for defeat today really will send them back to the chasing pack.

Nothing less than a positive result will enable them to keep a grip on the charging Bulls.

The Bloemfontein game is the plum fixture in South Africa this weekend, and the two coastal teams only play a bit part for once as their interest in the destination of the Super Rugby trophy this year is effectively over.

Yes, there is still a mathematical chance, but it is a remote one and right now those two sides just need to win a game rather than worry too much about what’s happening on the log.

From an overall log and New Zealand and Australian conference viewpoint, the plum overseas fixtures this weekend are the ones that take place in Christchurch and Sydney one after each other this morning.

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