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Brumbies bracing for vindictive Bulls

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Update: 3:55PM THE Brumbies are bracing themselves for a Bulls side hell-bent on revenge for last year's Super Rugby semi-final upset.

The Bulls had one foot on the plane to Hamilton for a grand final against the Chiefs until Wallabies playmaker Matt Toomua sliced through to put Tevita Kuridrani over for a last gasp match winner.

It was the first time the Bulls had lost a home final - and it stunned the 37,000 strong Loftus Versfeld crowd into silence.

Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham knows neither the Bulls players, nor their famously hostile crowd, will be rolling out the welcome mat for his side in Pretoria come Saturday morning (AEST).

He said the Brumbies spoke about getting revenge on the Chiefs just a few weeks ago for beating them in the grand final, and he had no doubts the Bulls were doing likewise.

"We certainly spoke about revenge. We wanted to get one over the Chiefs," he said.

"I'm sure the Bulls will be the same.

"They missed an opportunity last year and we were the reason for that."

However the Australian-conference leading Brumbies will have to overcome more than just a vindictive atmosphere to salvage their South African tour after last week's 27-21 loss to what Larkham described as the "easier" Cheetahs.

Players found out whether they made the 32-man Wallabies squad for the June internationals against France on Thursday.

Pat McCabe and Sam Carter were two fringe players selected, while backs Jesse Mogg and Robbie Coleman were overlooked.

However Larkham said it was important the whole side remained focused on the Bulls - not whether they made the cut.

"There's going to be a few distractions with the Wallabies," Larkham said,

"The focus should stay fairly strong.

"After the game we'll either celebrate, or commiserate (selections)."

The ninth-placed Bulls will enter the clash after two straight wins, and are unbeaten in all six of their home matches this season.

Coming into the match off a bye, the Bulls have made three run-on changes following a 28-12 victory over the Stormers, with captain and lock Flip van der Merwe, prop Werner Kruger and flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter starting.

The Brumbies aren't announcing their team until Thursday evening, but lock Leon Power is tipped to start, Scott Fardy shifting to blindside, and Fotu Auelua to the bench.

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