Force Ready To Bounce Back

Picture: Getty Images/sanzarrugby.com
Force will look to bounce back from last weeks loss when they take on the Bulls. Picture: Getty Images/sanzarrugby.com
Force v Bulls
Saturday, April 26 – 7:40pm (AEST)
NIB Stadium.


What did they do last week?
The Force had their five-match winning streak snapped by the Rebels, going down 22-16 in Melbourne. The Bulls suffered a 19-12 defeat at the hands of the Waratahs in Sydney.

Things you need to know:
Force lock Sam Wykes is set to return from a rib injury. Hugh McMeniman (collarbone), flanker Chris Alcock (shoulder) and centre Solomoni Rasolea (broken arm) remain sidelined. Despite their last-start loss to the Rebels the Force remain in the top six on the overall ladder and third in the Aussie conference. They are five-and-three for the season so far and trail conference leaders the Brumbies by just two points.
The Bulls have made five changes as they look to avoid a fourth-straight loss on their Australasian tour. Full-back Jurgen Visser returns from foot injury while winger Akona Ndungane makes his long-awaited return from injury on the wing. Francois Hougaard shifts to scrumhalf to cover the loss of Piet van Zyl (knee). Paul Willemse replaces Flip van der Merwe who will serve a three-week suspension for striking. The Bulls are running second in the South African conference and ninth overall.

Reason to watch:
Nick 'The Honey Badger' Cummins. We don't have to tell you why. Just watch him and enjoy, he won't even mind if you laugh at him.

Reason to turn away:
The Bulls will try to turn this into a slug fest while the Force are one of the more kick happy teams in the comp.

Say what: "We have to get back to winning ways and this is a final opportunity to turn our tour into a positive. If we can bag a win here and add the losing bonus points we collected earlier on tour, the reward would justify the hard work we have put in," - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.

Final instructions: There is plenty riding on this clash for both teams. For the Force, a second-straight loss will rob them of all of their early-season momentum and likely see them drop out of the all-important top six. Things are even more serious for the Bulls who simply can't afford a fourth-straight defeat on what has been a disastrous Australasian tour so far. The Bulls have won five of the seven clashes between these two sides – both losses came in Perth - but they are always close contests. Six of the games were decided by 10 points or less. We're expecting another tight one this weekend with the desperate Bulls to sneak home. Bulls by five.

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