Looks like Loftus could see yet another exodus of senior players come the end of the 2008 season.
Our friends over at Keo.co.za put up an article listing several key Bulls players whose contracts come up for renewal at the end of the year. This list reads like a veritable who’s-who of Bulls rugby, including loose forwards Pedrie Wannenburg and Wikus van Heerden, as well as outside centre JP Nel. They mention Wynand Olivier’s name as well, although his departure seems less likely.
Now we all know that Nel is a liability, known far more for his illegal tackling technique than he is for his hard, straight running at outside centre. His departure would certainly improve the Bulls’ woeful disciplinary record, yet would do nothing for their backline otherwise, as they have no replacement lined up. The Bulls have a plethora of young centres in their ranks, but none have yet been given any opportunity to develop their game at the higher level; as such, blooding them in the Super 14 represents a sizable risk.
In Dewald Potgieter, Hilton Lobberts and Deon Stegmann, the Bulls have a trio of young, up-and-coming loose forwards. Add Derick Kuün to that list (should he revert to his rightful position) and you have a potent-looking unit, although again it’s a case of potential over experience.
Bakkies Botha, Wynand Olivier and Bryan Habana all signed five-year extensions to their contracts in 2006, meaning that all three should in theory remain with the Bulls at least until 2011. We have already seen Bakkies doing his level best to get out of his contract, though and persistent rumours linking both Olivier and Habana to Narbonne casts at least some doubt on the willingness of this trio of Bulls stars to stay at Loftus as a part of the Frans Ludeke circus.
All-in-all, the signs are starting to point to serious rebuilding-time up in Tshwane. The post-Heyneke hangover is in full swing and the Bulls Union need to do some soul-searching. A new coach is a must, plus a rebuilding phase that starts with the Currie Cup, emphasising young up-and-comers over stalwarts whose hearts are no longer in it.
We have heard the hype about the Bulls age-group supremacy. Time for that to translate into senior dominance again in a season or two’s time.Tweet