The Vodacom Bulls are bracing themselves for another tough Vodacom United Rugby Championship encounter when they face the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The cross-Jukskei rivalry will be reignited as the two sides come face-to-face for the first time in the Vodacom URC, with both looking to claim the bragging rights.
Vodacom Bulls prop, Jacques van Rooyen, indicated that the side will be looking to bounce back from their nail-biting but “disappointing” 26-30 defeat to the DHL Stormers last weekend.
“We were obviously disappointed with the performance from last weekend,” Van Rooyen said.
“The Stormers really played well and started well. We took a good, long, hard look at ourselves and the way we wanted to play. We obviously did not get to do that in that game.
“We just have to try to get back to basics and make sure that everyone is on the same page. We have to make sure that for the upcoming games we are up to standard, that we start well and not make life difficult for ourselves, unnecessarily, by having to find ourselves chasing games.”
The 35-year-old Van Rooyen, who had started his career at Emirates Lions and spent his first five years of professional rugby at the franchise, will be most familiar with what to expect from the Johannesburg-based side.
“We know that the Emirates Lions, for the past few years, have had a good scrummaging pack and they like to attack you on your own ball as well their own feed. We know very well that every single scrum will be a battle,” he said.
When the two sides meet at Emirates Airline Park, the battle is always fierce. Van Rooyen expects the same on Saturday and also remains confident that the work the Vodacom Bulls have been putting in ahead of the derby will come to fruition on game day.
“Since I have been at the Vodacom Bulls, we have not had one easy game against them,” the burly prop said.
“[Emirates Airline Park] has been a tough ground for us to go play at. Obviously, their style of play, the tempo they play at, and now the coaches that they have brought in – you can see they are a lot more aggressive on defence. So, we know that is coming – they are very organised on defence.
“We have been working hard on what we want to do better. We want to make sure that we come to the party to ensure that we secure our ball and put them under pressure on their own feeds as well.”
Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, will announce his squad to face the Emirates Lions on Friday.
The match between the two sides will kick-off at 15h00 on Saturday.