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Ox Nche on why Bulls are the 'complete package'

SPOTLIGHT: Sharks prop Ox Nche is under no illusions about the challenge his team will face when they come up against the Bulls in their United Rugby Championship Round Seven encounter in Pretoria.

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The two teams will head into Saturday’s match experiencing different starts to their season. The Bulls are currently third in the standings after winning four of their six games, while the Sharks are in 14th with one win.

The Sharks recorded their first victory of the season against the Dragons last weekend after the introduction of several World Cup winners.

Nche was one of those players, but he knows things will get a whole lot harder in Pretoria where the Bulls will be favourites.

“If you have been watching the Bulls’ games, they have been running with the ball. They kick well, they are dominant in contact and their defence systems are in place.

“I think they are going to give a complete package in terms of the challenge.

“We have to be ready for it or we will come out second best.”

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The scrum battle will also be an intriguing one with both front rows boasting Boks and it could mean Nche coming up against someone like Wilco Louw.

“Wilco has a good reputation around his scrumming and he is pretty strong so we will need to have very good plans to neutralise that,” Nche explained.

“They are a good pack; they have been putting teams away at set-piece time.

“I think it is going to be a massive challenge for us and I think we just have to be up for it.

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“They scrum well as a unit and not just the front row.”

Altitude factor

As with any trip to Pretoria, altitude is a topic of discussion for the Sharks. However, Nche believes the players in his squad will be able to handle it.

“We have 23 strong players and our philosophy is pretty similar to the Boks, which is give it your all for as long as you can and then the next guy [off the bench] can do the same.

“Guys have been playing full games and they are fit enough to play at altitude, so we are going to keep to our philosophies.

“The only thing that we can really get out of it is a better team.

“We are playing the Cheetahs [in Bloemfontein in the Challenge Cup] in a few weeks and it’s going to be altitude as well, so we have to push ourselves now.

“If it does have an effect then we will come out as better players in the end.”

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