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Super Rugby preview: Bulls v Sharks
- Five-try Crusaders stun Chiefs
- Highlanders edge 11-try affair
- Cheetahs race to play off-spot
- Battling Bulls back on top
The Bulls take on the Sharks in Pretoria on Saturday as they look to take one of the top two positions in the Super Rugby table and progress automatically to the semi-finals of the play-offs.
They face a Sharks side who still have an outside chance of reaching the play-offs, but, lying in ninth place and four points from the top six means Hugh Reece-Edwards' men are relying on other results.
A last-gasp win over the Blues last weekend means the Sharks should be in good spirits and will hope to deny the Bulls what would be a ninth straight victory in their final home game of the regular season.
The Bulls welcome back experienced fly-half Mornè Steyn for the clash at Loftus Versfeld, one of three changes to the starting line-up.
Wynand Olivier has departed for France, so Jan Serfontein and JJ Engelbrecht combine again in the midfield, with Serfontein moving to his preferred inside berth. Frans Ludeke has also made a number of changes in his replacements.
The Bulls coach believes his team can compete with the Sharks despite a number of injuries.
"We have had a lot of disruptions since the squad returned and injuries to the likes of Pierre (Spies), Arno (Botha), Louis (Fouchè) and the departures of Wynand (Olivier) and Juandrè (Kruger) certainly did not make life easier for us," Ludeke said.
"Fortunately we have always backed the depth of our squad and that is bearing fruit. We will face a Sharks team that will be desperate, as they need to win to keep their play-off hopes alive, but we have also goals to achieve and to get there, we need to keep on winning."
His opposite number, Reece-Edwards is expecting a tough encounter but hopes the Sharks can cut out the errors that have cost them recently.
"We need to have everyone on song, all doing the same thing at the same time and our accuracy really needs to be there," he said.
"In the last couple of weeks it's let us down, against the Bulls in the last game as well as against the Blues there were a number of turnovers and we can't afford that against a quality side like this.
"Either they are going to kick us back into our 22 or they will punish us. We need to make sure we don't spill unnecessary ball."
Hooker Bismarck du Plessis returns for his first start of the year for the Sharks meaning Kyle Cooper drops to the bench. Otherwise the visitors are unchanged.
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Dewald Potgieter (Captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling. Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Jono Ross, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Jurgen Visser, 22 Morné Mellett
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Butch James, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (Captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Edwin Hewitt, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Jaco van Tonder
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|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|05:05||Waratahs vs Brumbies|
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
|Highlanders 20 - 13 Reds|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com