Bulls confident they can return to winning ways against Dragons

Bulls confident they can return to winning ways against Dragons

After losing their last three matches in all competitions, the Bulls are determined to return to winning ways in Friday's URC encounter with the Dragons in Wales.

The men from Pretoria fielded an understrength team against Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup but suffered a humiliating 44-14 defeat. Several of their first-choice players returned for their URC matches against the Stormers and Sharks, but they still went down 37-27 and 47-20 in those two matches.

Bulls breakdown coach Nollis Marais was quick to remind reporters that they were bottom of the log early on last year before recovering to make the final in Cape Town

"If you go back a year, we were two [wins] from seven in the URC, so our record this season is far better in comparison," Marais said.

"I definitely agree that we've hit the buffers a bit over the past few weeks, but we can't be too negative given our log position.

"We need to get the balance between creating play and playing the percentages right."

Marais acknowledged they can ill afford another reversal this weekend but said they expect a tough challenge against their Welsh hosts.

"This is an important one for us," he told the Citizen. "The Dragons have got a good home record, and we know it won't be easy, but we obviously want to get the win."

Despite those losses to the Stormers and Sharks, the Bulls are well-placed in fourth position in the URC standings, while the Dragons are languishing in 14th place in the 16-team competition.

Marais, who was the Bulls' head coach in 2016 and 2017, believes some of the South African teams are still adapting to the challenges - especially the weather conditions - of playing European opposition on their home turf.

However, he said they are well prepared for the Dragons' onslaught.

"Super Rugby was fast, we knew what was coming," explained Marais. "In the URC conditions mean there are more focus points, and every team has their own unique style.

"That said, we know what's coming from the Dragons. They like to slow the game down, they target the breakdowns, and they kick a lot.

"They play a spoiling game, too, but we're focusing on us ¦ and we're going to have to be accurate and all be on the same page."