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Chiefs v Bulls

Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, Friday 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting:
Round 11 2011 - Bulls 43 bt Chiefs 27 at Loftus Versfeld
Played 17 Chiefs 8 Bulls 8 drawn 1
In Hamilton:
Played 6 Chiefs 4 Bulls 1 drawn 1
Mark Lawrence (RSA)
Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet:
Chiefs $1.40 Bulls $2.80

Greg Growden writes: The pick of the overseas matches as the Chiefs are this season's big improvers while the Bulls know how to mix up their game - brutal one minute, a bit of ballet the next. This will be tight, so home ground advantage will be crucial.

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AAP writes: The replay of the 2009 final shapes as one of the matches of the season. In that final, the Bulls smashed the Chiefs 61-17, but things will be a lot tighter on Friday night. The Chiefs are looking to put an even bigger gap between themselves and the Crusaders at the top of the New Zealand conference, but even though the match is in Hamilton, it will be one of their biggest tests. The Bulls are just two points off the lead in the South African conference and have proven on their Australasian tour that they are hard to beat away from Pretoria. The Chiefs would have perked up after a timely bye last week and a bonus point win will see them increase their advantage over the Crusaders. The Bulls are on track for a playoff berth even if they don't top their conference, however this match is a crucial step towards gaining a valuable home final. Not much separates these sides, but the Chiefs have the inside lane.

CHIEFS: Andrew Horrell, Lelia Masaga, Jackson Willison, Sonny Bill Williams, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Kane Thompson, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (c), Ben Afeaki, Hika Elliot, Toby Smith. Reserves: Mahonri Schwalger, Arizona Taumalolo, Michael Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Brendon Leonard, Robbie Robinson, Maritino Nemani.

BLUES: Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, Johann Sadie, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morné Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies (c), CJ Stander, Dewald Potgieter, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Reserves: Willie Wepener, Rayno Gerber, Juandré Kruger, Arno Botha, Jano Vermaak, Louis Fouché, JJ Engelbrecht.