VIDEO: Bulls relish 'must win' mode as play-offs loom
Two months ago, the Bulls looked unlikely play-off candidates’, with just four wins from 10 starts in the United Rugby Championships.
However, an impressive home run has seen the Pretoria outfit work its way back into the top eight and in with a realistic shot at a spot in the European Cup next season.
As the saying goes: ‘They now have their destiny in their own hands.’
Bulls skipper Marcell Coetzee said they have embraced the ‘must win’ scenario they are finding themselves in.
Only one point now separates the Stormers (52 points) in second to Ulster in fifth, while the eighth-placed Bulls are just four points adrift.
Ulster and Glasgow Warriors slipped out of the top four, thanks to their defeats to Munster and the Stormers last weekend.
The Bulls (48 points) host the Warriors (sixth, 50 points) in the opening match of Round 17 in Pretoria on Friday.
Coetzee added that despite their 7-32 loss to the Stormers last week, the Scottish outfit remains a dangerous opponent.
However, the Bulls feel they are finding the form that could see them collect a few more wins and seal a play-off spot.
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“If you take where we started, at one stage we were bottom of the log,” he said of their rocky start to the season – which saw them lose four of their first five matches.
“We have managed to fight our way back into play-off contention,” Coetzee said, adding: “This shows the character and culture we have in the team.”
He pointed to some of the crucial wins in the past month – over the likes of Munster, Scarlets, Dragons and Ulster – as a sign of the growth in the team.
“There are still two rounds remaining ahead of the play-offs and anything can happen,” the skipper said of their clashes with Glasgow (at Loftus Versfeld on Friday) and Ospreys in Swansea on May 20.
He said with the crowds returning in numbers, Loftus is likely to be buzzing on Friday.
“It has been phenomenal and I have been enjoying it,” Coetzee said of the growing spectator numbers.
“The team had fed off that [energy] and we are happy to have the fans back,” he added.
Coetzee also straight-batted questions around his non-selection for Springbok alignment camps, saying: “You can only focus what you can control on the field.
“And for me, at my age, you just want to plough back into the team at the Bulls.
“I would like to help young guys like Elrigh [Louw] and give some of your experience back to the team.
“I just want to enjoy my rugby and give my everything every weekend.”