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'Tahs bracing for Bulls' forward challenge

NZN 8/05/2016 Adrian Warren and Darren Walton

The surging NSW Waratahs are preparing to adjust to a third different South African challenge in as many weeks as they seek to maintain their mid-season Super Rugby momentum.

Three straight wins have propelled NSW back into Australian conference contention.

The Tahs are level on points with the conference-leading Brumbies and have a game in hand, with the Melbourne Rebels two points back.

After thrashing the Western Force, the Waratahs cracked the defensively strong Stormers and nullified the attack-minded Cheetahs.

They will face another style next Saturday in Sydney when the Bulls bring their forward-based power game.

The Bulls' three highest scores of the season were against Australian sides and they will be facing Aussie opposition for a fourth straight week after defeating the Rebels 45-25 in Pretoria early in the season.

Over the past three rounds they beat the Reds 41-22 at Loftus Versfeld and smashed the Force 42-20 in Perth before losing 23-6 to the Brumbies in Canberra last Friday.

"Good set-piece team, big, strong guys and we've copped a few injuries," Waratahs captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper said.

"The Bulls have had a great start to the year and are going to be a really tough outfit, especially after Friday night, not getting the points there.

"So they'll come out firing. They've had a few weeks in Australia and they'll be good to go."

The Bulls have always been renowned for an uncompromising and intensely physical approach and the Tahs expect more of the same at Allianz Stadium next weekend.

"The Bulls are a dangerous side and we definitely have to match them up front. They've got some big guys across the park," Waratahs five-eighth Bernard Foley said.

The Wallabies playmaker insisted there was still a lot of improvement left in the Tahs after they struggled to score against the Cheetahs in the second half.

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