Bulls preview 2013
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 12/02/13 11:22am
Having flattered to deceive for large parts of last season, the Bulls will be keen to set the record straight this time around.
The Pretoria franchise might have made the play-offs but that was largely down to their early season form and a healthy dose of bonus points.
A run of four defeats in their final six games of the regular season (and two scraped wins over the Cheetahs and the Lions) meant that they entered the play-offs woefully out of sorts, so their loss to the Crusaders was not wholly unexpected.
The squad, though, will be older and wiser as a result of their trials and tribulations - especially as coach Frans Ludeke has opted against making wholesale changes.
The arrival of promising South Africa Under-20s lock Paul Willemse, talented back-rower Grant Hattingh and former Blitzbokke winger Lionel Mapoe from the Lions will add some depth to a squad already packed with class.
The pack looks as strong as ever with Juandre Kruger, Pierre Spies and Chiliboy Ralepelle, while the pressure will be on Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn and Zane Kirchner to deliver.