• Preview: Waratahs vs Bulls

    The Waratahs will be looking to beat the Bulls for the first time since 2005 when they meet in Sydney on Saturday.

    The home side hope the returning fullback Israel Folau will provide the same attacking flair he did in the solid start the side enjoyed at the start of the season. Prior to Folau's three-week injury  absence, the Waratahs were far more accurate in the opposition 22, with the code-hopper dotting down eight tries in their first four outings. His return could not have come at a better time and should bolster confidence in the side.

    Interestingly enough, the Waratahs are yet to take on a New Zealand opponent and have a 50% success rate against South African sides this season while they have not lost a match at home this season. Victory will ensure that they remain in the top six.

    While the Tahs welcome back their first-choice No 15, the visitors suffered a late injury setback in the same position when Jürgen Visser sustained an ankle injury in training. Visser's place in the side will be taken by Ulrich Beyers and this change could have a huge impact on the match.

    Leading up to the contest both sides made it clear that they are desperate to return to winning ways following disappointing losses, but will need their forwards to make a step-up as far as their discipline at the tackle area is concerned.

    The battle up-front should be an intriguing one with the Wallabies-laden Waratahs well aware of the threat Victor Matfield is set to pose at lineout time.

    Watching Jacques Potgieter face-off against a side that let him slip through their system due to poor wage negotiations should be equally entertaining. Potgieter breathed fire in his team's victory over the Stormers and, when considering the losses in personnel they have suffered at flank, the previous inefficiencies of the Bulls' contracting policy could come back to haunt them.

    Despite losing their first two matches on tour, the Bulls have improved in many aspects of their game and word from the camp is that the tough times they have experienced has had a galvanising effect on the team.

    Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
    Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Pat McCutcheon, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro.

    Bulls – 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (c), 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
    Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Morné Mellett, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 William Small-Smith.

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    Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

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    Simon Borchardt