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VIDEO: It will get 'personal' in a steamy Loftus cauldron

Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee expects the Lions to ‘bring the heat’ when the two teams face off in a United Rugby Championship catch-up match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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However, for the Bulls it is personal, as they are looking to avenge a loss they suffered against their Trans-Jukskei rivals in March last year.

That 29-25 win in Pretoria ended a nine-match losing streak for the Lions against South African franchises.

The Lions have been off-key recently – losing back-to-back Challenge Cup matches to Montpellier (3-13) and Ospreys (28-38).

However, Coetzee believes the Bulls should treat the Lions with the same respect they treat all the top European opposition.

“The Lions are a proud side,” Coetzee said, adding that he expects the Lions to come out firing.

“If there is one thing you don’t want to do, it’s to write off another South African side,” he added.

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“We learned that mistake the hard way the last time we played against the Lions,” he said of last year’s encounter.

“You can’t afford to be complacent in this competition.

“We will give them the necessary respect.

“We acknowledge what they can bring.

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“At the end of the day, it’s about who wants it most on the pitch.”

The Bulls, coming off an impressive run in the Champions Cup, now have more than a month of domestic derbies.

Having beaten the Bristol Bears (31-17) at Ashton Gate and Bordeaux-Begles (46-40) in Pretoria, they have back-to-back URC encounters with the Lions (at Loftus this Saturday and Ellis Park on February 17), before hosting the Stormers in Pretoria on March 2.

It presents a very different challenge.

(WATCH as Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee explains what his team is expecting when the Lions arrive at Loftus Versfeld for a URC catch-up game on Saturday….)

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“Local derbies are always tough and physical,” Coetzee said.

“[For us] it’s personal,” the Bulls captain added.

“Playing European teams is one thing, but we in South Africa are proud people.

“We want to go out on the field and give our best, because we respect each other.

“I’m sure this weekend won’t be any different.

“We’ve learned in this competition that you can’t start off well and then hit a slump of form and try to recover from that.

“It is important not to be complacent.

“If you look at the statistics, we lost here, at Loftus, the last time we played them.”

Lions captain Marius Louw sang from the same hymn sheet – saying that it would get steamy inside the Loftus cauldron.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

* Picture credit: @BlueBullsRugby

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