The Dragons have been reinforced by Test players returning from Six Nations duty for Wales, and this is expected to provide a tough challenge for the Vodacom Bulls when the two sides meet in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.
Following the conclusion of the Six Nations, the Welsh side will have their internationals available for selection, and this will be a welcomed boost for the visitors who have had some close and good performances so far this season.
Among their most memorable fixtures so far this season will be their 22-35 away win over Connacht, their 13-all draw with Benetton, alongside some close defeats by some outstanding sides, which include a 6-7 loss to Leinster and a 23-27 defeat in their Welsh derby by Ospreys.
Dragons have taken an initial tour party of 30 players, that include Wales trio Ben Carter, Leon Brown and Rhodri Williams following their spell away during the Six Nations.
“The Dragons have put up some good performances – one against Ulster [a 0-12 defeat], where they were very good in that game. They were outstanding against Leinster the week after we played them, then they slipped up against Munster [a 64-3 defeat on 5 March],” said Bulls forwards coach Russell Winter ahead of the weekend’s game.
“They can be very unpredictable, and we don’t want to be complacent at all. We are preparing as normal, trying to make sure that we are ready.
“We don’t want to slip up against them. They will have their international players back after the weekend. We know that their Welsh side lost against Italy, but I’m sure that those guys are really good players.
“The Welsh are passionate rugby players and supporters. They will come here wanting to play very well. We are going to have to make sure that we don’t become complacent in any way or form.”
Despite having managed to secure back-to-back wins over Munster Rugby and Scarlets in the previous URC matches, the Bulls are expecting a tough contest this week against the visiting Welsh side.
A brutal battle looms between the two forward packs, who have both shown their capabilities so far this season.
“We have a lot of respect for the overseas sides, it must be said,” Winter emphasised.
“I know their coach, Dean Ryan, who was at Newcastle, where I also played. He is a tough man and I assume he is a tough coach as well. So, that pack will be a hardened pack, and they will definitely come at us, there is no doubt in my mind.
“We are expecting a tough game on Saturday. We know that their pack will be up for it. They are a big pack as well, so we are expecting a big battle up front.”
The Bulls will announce their team to play the Dragons on Friday.
The match will kick-off at 7:15pm on Saturday and will be televised on SuperSport.
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