Bulls embrace Christchurch road trip challenge

02:00, Jul 16 2012
Blues v Crusaders
Blues centre Rene Ranger on the charge.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues loosehead prop Tom McCartney attempts to charge the kick of Crusaders first five Tyler Bleyendaal.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean dives over to score during against the Blues.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders captain Kieran Read is tackled by Blues fullback Isaia Toeava.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues first five Michael Hobbs is tackled by Crusaders second five Ryan Crotty.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders captain Kieran Read after a Blues try.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues captain Keven Mealamu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders captain Kieran Read loses his shorts against the Blues.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders first five Tyler Bleyendaal is scragged by Blues replacement Brad Mika.
Zac Guildford
Zac Guildord is tackled over the sideline by Highlanders first-five Lima Sopoaga.
George Whitelock
George Whitelock crashes into the Highlanders defence.
Robbie Fruean
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean makes the mistake of running at Nasi Manu and Adam Thomson.
Sean Maitland
Crusaders wing Sean Maitland skips down the sideline at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Luke Romano, Jason Rutledge and George Whitelock
Crusaders Luke Romano (left) and George Whitelock put the hit on Highlanders reserve hooker Jason Rutledge.
Tyler Bleyendaal
Young Crusaders No 10 Tyler Bleyendaal releases the ball to his outside backs.
Tim Nanai-Williams and Israel Dagg
Chiefs wing Tim Nanai-Williams passes the ball in-field as he is pushed to the ground by Israel Dagg.
George Whitelock and Liam Messam
Crusaders No 6 George Whitelock brings down a kick-off, under pressure from his Chiefs opposite Liam Messam.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Luke Romano of the Crusaders wins a lineout against the Chiefs at McLean Park.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs is tackled by Kieran Read of the Crusaders.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Aaron Cruden of the Chiefs gets a kick away while being tackled against the Crusaders at McLean Park.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
George Whitelock (L) and Corey Flynn of the Crusaders tackle Robbie Robinson of the Chiefs.
Crusaders gallery
Sean Maitland scores a try against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders gallery
Crusaders players Sean Maitland's try.
Crusaders gallery
The new AMI Stadium before the Crusaders' match against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders gallery
Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis crunched in a Cheetahs tackle.
Crusaders gallery
Fans at the new Christchurch Stadium in Addington.
Crusaders gallery
Israel Dagg is wrapped up in the tackle against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders gallery
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders crosses over to score a try against the Lions at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Alwyn Hollenbach of the Lions tackled by Robert Fruean of the Crusaders at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Israel Dagg of the Crusaders tackled by Jaco Taute of the Lions at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Kieran Read of the Crusaders wins the ball against the Lions at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Sean Maitland of the Crusaders catches the ball against the Lions at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Dan Carter of the Crusaders sets up a try against the Lions at Ellis Park.
Crusaders gallery
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders attacks against the Lions at Ellis Park.
Zac Guildford
Zac Guildford sends a pass out wide during the Crusaders' 32-30 loss in Pretoria.
Luke Whitelock
Luke Whitelock pulls down a lineout throw at Loftus Versfeld.
Morne Steyn and Matt Todd
Crusaders' No 7 Matt Todd attempts to charge down the kick of Morne Steyn.
Israel Dagg and Sean Maitland
Israel Dagg hops in the air to get a pass away in the tackle to team-mate Sean Maitland.
Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg is hauled down by Bulls first-five Morne Steyn.
Crusaders v Stormers
Corey Flynn during the Crusaders match against the Stormers at the AMI Stadium at Addington.
Crusaders v Stormers
Israel Dagg during the Crusaders match against the Stormers at the AMI Stadium at Addington.
Crusaders v Stormers
Crusader Matt Todd in action against the Stormers.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Dan Carter passes against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes gallery
Hurricanes' Jeremy Thrush and Crusaders' Kieran Read battle for the ball.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Wyatt Crockett hits out at Hurricanes' Chris Eaton.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Andrew Ellis passes against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Ben Franks on the charge against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Israel Dagg is tackled by Hurricanes' Ben May.
Crusaders v Waratahs in Sydney
Robbie Fruean takes time out during the Crusaders' defeat of the Waratahs in Sydney.
Crusaders v Waratahs in Sydney
Crusaders No 8 Kieran Read bursts into space against the Waratahs.
Crusaders v Waratahs in Sydney
Crusaders winger Zac Guildford gets a pass away against the Waratahs.
Crusaders v Waratahs in Sydney
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean bursts clear for his first try against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Crusaders v Reds
Israel Dagg tackled by Ben Lucas as the Crusaders take on the Reds in Christchurch.
Crusaders v Reds
Kieran Read leads out the Crusaders against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Tom Taylor lines up a kick against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Referee Bryce Lawrence sends off Wyatt Crockett against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Luke Romano on the charge against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Zac Guildford on the charge against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Thomas Tracey, 6, Tom Hearn, 6, Ben Strickland, 6, Tatsumi Konishi, 6, and McNamara Kane, 6 at the game.
Crusaders v Rebels
The Crusaders win a lineout against the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders v Rebels
Stirling Mortlock of the Rebels celebrates victory at the final whistle against the Crusaders at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders v Rebels
Nick Phipps of the Rebels scores a try against the Crusaders at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders v Rebels
Gareth Delve of the Rebels runs with the ball against the Crusaders at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders v Rebels
Luke Whitelock and Sam Whitelock make a tackle against the Rebels.
Crusaders v Rebels
Andy Ellis prepares to kick against the Rebels.
Crusaders v Rebels
Richie McCaw is tackled against the Rebels.
Hurricanes v Blues
Zac Guildford coming in for a try against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Zac Guildford is tackled by Angus Ta'avao (top) and Steven Luata of the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Robbie Fruean on attack against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Dan Carter cool under pressure against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Tom Marshall grabs a try against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Robbie Fruean on attack against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Richie McCaw covers a cut lip against the Highlanders.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Adam Thompson hits Andy Ellis into touch.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Kieran Read rubs Jarrad Hoeata's face in the dirt.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Wyatt Crockett scores for the Crusdaders.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Ben Smith and Andy Ellis have a punch up.
Crusaders v Highlanders
George Whitelock of the Crusaders gets a yellow card.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Kieran Read of the Crusaders on the charge.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders goes in for a try.
Hurricanes v Crusaders
Hurricanes players celebrate their win against the Crusaders.
Hurricanes v Crusaders
Crusaders' Richie McCaw gets up-ended going for the high ball.
rugby 5
Crusader Sean Maitland takes on Hurricane Tim Bateman.
rugby 5
Crusaders' Wyatt Crockett on the burst.
rugby 5
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders runs away to score a try against the Hurricanes.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Richie McCaw comes in to tackle Sona Taumalolo.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Israel Dagg takes a high ball in front of Aaron Cruden.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Luke Romano scores for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Kieran Read scores for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Hika Elliot fends of Israel Dagg.
Israel Dagg
DETERMINED: Israel Dagg just moments before scoring the first try for the Crusaders against the Western Force.
Crusaders v Rebels
Matt Todd scores a try against the Western Force.
Crusaders v Rebels
Crusaders' players celebrate the Matt Todd try against the Western Force.
Crusaders v Rebels
Two captains, Richie McCaw and Nathan Sharpe talk after the match.
Crusaders v Rebels
Israel Dagg scores first try against the Western Force.
Zac Guildford
Zac Guildford streaks away to score against the Bulls.
Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw is held in the tackle by the Bulls.

The Bulls have no fears about taking on the Crusaders in Christchurch in their Super Rugby eliminator on Saturday, backing their ability on the road despite a patchy travel record this year.

The Bulls completed a strong South African presence in the playoffs, beating the Lions 37-20 to join the table-topping Stormers and the Sharks in the tournament's business end.

Their reward is a tough assignment against their old enemy, the seven-time champion Crusaders.

Israel Dagg
STAMPEDE: Israel Dagg in action.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke believes his team has the game for the occasion, even if it means overcoming a long trip to New Zealand.

 "All that happened through the season is now irrelevant," Ludeke said.

"It is about teams that can handle the pressure - it doesn't matter if you play home or away.

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"We've shown that we can travel and we need to focus on our own game plan and we need to be accurate."

But Ludeke's confidence isn't matched by the Bulls' record on the road in Australia and New Zealand in May.

They squeaked past the Melbourne Rebels 41-35, edged the disappointing Waratahs 27-24 in Sydney before dropping their two game sin New Zealand - losing 16-11 to the Highlanders in Dunedin and 28-22 to the Chiefs in Hamilton

The Bulls, South Africa's most successful side with three titles in the last five years, can point to a victory over the Crusaders this year, winning a nail-biter 32-30 in Pretoria in May.

Ludeke concedes his team will have to lift their game in certain areas in Christchurch on Saturday night, against a Crusaders side that seems to be shifting through the gears at the right time of the season.

Ludeke wasn't happy with the scrum work his pack showed against the Lions and knows this is an area of strength for the Crusaders.

"I think in the scrums they (the Lions) really came at us and I think we weren't good enough and accurate enough there," Ludeke said.
"There were some unforced errors that broke our rhythm a bit, but the second half was much more clinical.
"We didn't allow the Lions to really get going especially from drives and penalties. We cleaned up our act discipline-wise as well.

"So it was almost like a good curtain raiser if you can call it that."

The Crusaders-Bulls clash on Saturday night will be immediately followed by the Reds hosting the Sharks in Brisbane.

The Stormers and second-placed Chiefs have byes this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Sharks face making their trip to Brisbane without the classy

Springbok pair of Patrick Lambie and Frans Steyn.

Lambie aggravated an ankle injury during the 34-15 win over the Cheetahs on Saturday, while centre Steyn was ruled out of the remainder of the competition due to a Sanzar ruling - he was signed by the union after the April 1 transfer deadline.

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