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Bulls set sights on Highlanders

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018    Getty Images

The Bulls beat the high-flying Hurricanes in the first game of the season for the New Zealanders and went close against the Chiefs during their Australasian tour.

But they are keen to test their growth as a team under coach John Mitchell against the Highlanders.

Hooker Adrian Strauss has reminded his side that the Dunedin-based team will be a different proposition to those they have faced in recent weeks.

Guts and hard work would be needed by the Bulls to take their next step, he said.

"We can never get ahead of ourselves. We haven't achieved anything," he told Supersport.com.

"We've won a couple of games and we will use that confidence but like I said, we're more process driven and long-term driven that we get stuck in a moment. We are very happy for the wins and the win this weekend [against the Rebels] but it is in the past now and we've already started working hard for the next one," he said.

The Bulls had to cope with a different approach from the Rebels who had looked to slow ball down whenever possible and Strauss said it was important for the side to have to deal with that difference. They needed to understand how to win in every situation.

"It is a bit of a mental thing but I think it is important as a group and as a squad, because we are learning, to go through those frustrating games where everything doesn't go your way, because you will need that in the competition when things get tough.

"We were frustrated on the field but I think the guys handled it well, and fought through that, and learnt a couple of lessons," he said.

But the challenge from the Highlanders would be different.

"The Highlanders don't go away, ever. They play for the full 80, 90 minutes. So we expect a battle for longer than the 80 minutes and mentally we need to prepare well, but we also need to be smart physically, have a good week's preparation, rest and be ready for the weekend as well," he said.

Meanwhile, it has been reported in South Africa that Strauss may be set to reverse his retirement from Test rugby. He made his retirement decision at the end of the 2016 season but with Bongi Mbonambi out with injury and no-one else stepping in as a back-up for Malcolm Marx, new coach Rassie Erasmus is considering asked Strauss to return.

"With the Highlanders this weekend there is not a lot of space for anything else to think about right now," Strauss said.

However, he did say that if he was approached and felt he could contribute he would review his decision.

"It was a big decision and I took it very seriously when I decided to retire at the end of that year. So, to come back would be just as big a decision.

"I want to contribute any way that I can and if it is possible it is definitely something to look at, but to me it must be worth it. I must be able to contribute to SA Rugby and the team," he said.