A load of bull has been uttered about the Bulls. So what if they rest up to 13 top-tier players for the final round match against the Stormers this weekend? That is the privilege of finishing well ahead of everyone else.
Greg Gowden writes for the Sydney Morning Herald that if they are able to rest 13 players, good on them, because it shows what incredible depth they possess. According to those in the know, the Bulls’ B team is almost as good as the Bulls A team, and could well win – in Cape Town, anyway.
This is nothing new. During their golden period, the Crusaders regularly rested players, and it didn’t do them any harm. It was all part of keeping their full squad motivated.
More importantly, those complaining don’t have a leg to stand on. As Peter Garrett sang in his Midnight Oil days: “Short memory, must have a, short memory. If you read the history books you’ll see the same things happen again and again. Short memory they’ve all got it.” They certainly do.
In 2002 the Waratahs did something very similar. Sitting pretty in second place with just one round to go, then NSW coach Bob Dwyer rested a number of key players for the match against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The tactic was a disaster. The Waratahs were belted 96-19 by the Crusaders, prompting the classic quote by Test hooker Brendan Cannon, who was demoted to the reserves. When Cannon took the field in the second half, he ran past the opposition bench and told them: “There’s 64 points in me.”
The next week, the Waratahs played a home semi-final against the Brumbies, and were again belted – this time 51-10.
But there is one enormous difference between the 2002 Waratahs and the 2010 Bulls. The Waratahs lacked depth and were not able up to the task. The Bulls, however, have an abundance of capable players who can perform at this level.
So, it would be wise for the Waratahs to stop being distracted by this guff. NSW have not yet qualified for the finals, so all the talk about how much money they may miss out on if they do not get a home semi-final is premature. It could prove distracting for the team during what may well be the most important week this season.
After all, the Waratahs could miss out on the finals altogether. They can’t afford to rest one player, let alone 13. Privately, some NSW players are admitting they understand the Bulls’ motives. They know first-hand the hard toil of the Super 14 tournament. They know rest periods are crucial in revitalising a team. You only have to see how each team looks forward to its one bye to realise that.
The Waratahs have suggested they are going to take the matter to SANZAR but what is the governing body going to do? Hit the Bulls with a feather duster? Any complaint would be filed in the “are you kidding?” basket. And so it should be.Tweet