Original Pierre

Super Preview: The Bulls


Written by Pierre Teich (Original Pierre)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content on 18 Jan 2011 at 15:31
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I know, the people who really know me won`t believe this but here you go, my humble attempt at an unbiased Bulls preview . . .

From a South African perspective the Bulls are obviously the best candidate. They have the players, the management and experience to make it three in a row. More local derby`s also plays right into their hands. The Bulls have an incredible record in super rugby, the last time they dropped a match in South Africa was back in 2008, against the Hurricanes and the Sharks, at Loftus.

Yes they didn`t have an impressive currie cup season in 2010, having lost against teams like the Pumas, but they still managed to make it all the way to the semi finals. They have Fourie du Preez back for the super 15 and he will make the world of difference. Also bear in mind they are the team who adapted to the new law interpretations without so much as a glitch on the radar. Basson and Ralepelle`s hearings could be a slight worry for them. Ralepelle is a Bok hooker and Basson was the form wing in the currie cup last year. If the ruling does go against them, although that is highly unlikely, Francois Hougaard and Derick Kuun will fill in for them at wing and hooker respectively. No sleepless nights for Coach Ludeke then.

They face the Hurricanes, Crusaders, Reds and Force on their tour. Not exactly a walk in the park but you wouldn`t bet against less than two wins for them on the road. Of course I haven`t got the referee fixtures yet.

The Bulls will miss the Brumbies and the Blues this year. Neither one of these should be top contenders in their respective conferences but I would rather miss them than teams like the Rebels and Highlanders which should be easy bonus point victories for a team with the quality of the Bulls.
The bookies have them pinned as second favourite at 3.3 to one at the moment. The only reason the Crusaders are favourites above them is the fact that they actually face the bulls in Christchurch this year and are a shoe-in for the number one spot in New Zealand.

How can teams like the Stormers and Sharks possibly hope to finish above the Bulls then?
Despite the obvious task of winning all your home games, you`ll need the Bulls to slip up against three of their overseas opponents and then make sure you have a perfect tour. The stormers have an advantage since they face the difficult Crusaders at Newlands but they have a difficult encounter with their bogey side, the Brumbies in Canberra.
The Waratahs came close to upsetting the Bulls at Loftus last year and with a bit of luck and no Craig Joubert or Marius Jonker in sight they might pull off a surprise that could open the door for the Sharks and Stormers.
Also bear in mind the super rugby season is a lot longer, somewhere along the line the Bulls will have to tap into their reserve strength, the same reserve strength that couldn`t secure a home semi final in the currie cup last year.
.
Probable XV: Kirchner, Van den Heever, Watermeyer, Olivier, Hougaard, Steyn, Du Preez, Spies, Daan Rossouw, Matfield, Botha, Stegmann, Kruger, Botha, Steenkamp.

Prediction for the Bulls: 1st on the log, home semi final and their third straight super rugby trophy



56 Comments

  • The Bulls biggest advantage over any other SA side is they know who their best 22 are.

    They have a couple of depth issues but they are SA’s best hope.

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.01.11 15:37:28 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 1) : I have to admit, I had trouble with that starting XV. I just could not leave Groot Daan out.

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.01.11 15:44:55 by Original Champion Reply
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  • I hope to see Juandre’ Kruger back from injury and playing as well as he did before leaving us at the Northampton Saints ;-) He was also a very nice guy :smile:

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.01.11 15:55:37 by SharkyTaylor Reply

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  • @Original Champion (Comment 2) :

    Ndungane is back so he will be on the wing, Hougaard bench and cover.

    Potgieter at 7 I believe and Danie to assume the normal bench role.

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.01.11 15:56:07 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 4) : Lets hope you`re right. Daan and Bakkies on the field at the same time is just too much to handle!

    Not so sure about Akona`s longevity. Didn`t he have a leg injury?
    If the court decides against Basson and Ralepelle, Akona would come in handy if he is fit.

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.01.11 16:01:05 by Original Champion Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 4) : that’s my take too.

    Pottie 7, Ndungane 11 and probably Pretorius still at 13.

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.01.11 16:01:31 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 5) : I don’t really rate Danie any more

  • Comment 7, posted at 18.01.11 16:06:43 by robdylan Reply
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  • The only thing they don’t have is a backup flyhalf.

    Morne Steyn will be buggered come 3N and RWC time.

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.01.11 16:22:48 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : He’s a bit of a ball dropper at Bok level but if he gets regular game time he’ll be good.

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.01.11 16:23:57 by Butchie34 Reply
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  • Heyeneke meyer on the Super Rugby 2011

    “Two things will win this competition – depth and conditioning. But if your planning isn’t spot on, then you will have little chance as well. The way the competition is set up now that unless you get a home quarterfinal, the teams that have to travel away almost have zero chance of winning.

    “In the past you needed to finish first and second ensuring you had a good chance of winning the title. Now if you don’t finish in the top four, then it will be very difficult to progress.”

    This makes the stakes of winning your local conference so much higher. And with that, Meyer believes, it may even see teams resting players against overseas sides to ensure their chances are better in their own conference.

    “It will be tough and those derbies will be massively physical. You will probably see teams choosing their strongest line-ups for the derbies, but they will need to manage their players well, especially when the teams are overseas.

    “For a team like the Bulls, they only have Morne Steyn at flyhalf who has played Super Rugby. They will need to develop a new flyhalf there as he cannot play every week. It was tough enough when players had to play 13 weeks in a row.”

    deciding that the domestic conference games are more vital than foreign games is not such a good idea IMO.

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.01.11 16:27:11 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 8) : I guess Jaco van der Westhuyzen could slot in?

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.01.11 16:35:05 by Original Champion Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 11) : one tends to forget that he was once a very capable international flyhalf…

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.01.11 16:50:25 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 11) :

    Only if he defends as well as he did during the CC. ;)

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.01.11 16:53:06 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) : oh man… reckon he still has Lwazi’s boot prints tattooed on his chest :)

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.01.11 16:59:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • Losing ralapele and basson would be a huge blow..but don’t think that should happen.
    How good will their locks be this year?
    Will fourie du preez stay injury-free?
    Will m steyn stay injury-free?

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.01.11 17:11:31 by bergshark Reply

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  • Don’t want the bulls to slip up against foreign teams,need to continue their domination .
    I don’t want to see the sharks outperforming the bulls because of the latter having a drop in form or injuries,but because the sharks stepped-up their performance to not just match and beat the best the bulls can offer,but the best any other team in this comp can offer.

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.01.11 17:16:03 by bergshark Reply

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  • I don’t know guys I don’t think the bulls are gonna do that well in the super 15…

  • Comment 17, posted at 18.01.11 17:25:09 by Ben Reply
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  • I hope they do well..I hope they look invincible..except for three games versus the sharks ..

  • Comment 18, posted at 18.01.11 17:32:11 by bergshark Reply

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  • Don’t rate the crusaders higher than the stormers..the stormers have the skill to whack the ‘saders in sa and in nz..

  • Comment 19, posted at 18.01.11 17:34:05 by bergshark Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Rob to be honest I won`t select Daan ahead of Deysel or Alberts at flank but I would definately select him at lock for the Sharks if I had the option.

  • Comment 20, posted at 18.01.11 17:39:19 by Original Champion Reply
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  • I’m gonna be bold and a little biased and say sharks vs crusaders in the final.

  • Comment 21, posted at 18.01.11 17:41:32 by Ben Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 19) : Have to disagree with you there the saders have a brilliant squad.

  • Comment 22, posted at 18.01.11 17:42:44 by Ben Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 11) : Re Bulls back up no.10
    I’m at friendly loggerheads with a Bulls fan on another site coz he’s behind Francois Brummer and I’m backing Marnitz Boshoff to be the Bulls back up no.10 at the start of the season. He has assured me that Ludeke has stated that Brummer will get the S15 bench and that if I want to see Boshoff I’d have to watch the VC.
    Still hoping his wrong but this Yuck-o vdW option isn’t something we’ve considered.

  • Comment 23, posted at 18.01.11 17:45:18 by beet Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 23) : I just don’t feel that Brummer has managed to take the step up from Vodacom Cup yet…

  • Comment 24, posted at 18.01.11 17:47:16 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 2) : Also interesting to see you’ve slotted Stefan Watermeyer in at 13, when he’s done most of his “damage” at 12 in the past. Is he definitely going to play 13.
    They have established 13s in Dippenaar and Pretorius???

  • Comment 25, posted at 18.01.11 17:48:05 by beet Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 24) : Rob I agree that’s why you and I are behind Boshoff. Right?
    RIGHT???

  • Comment 26, posted at 18.01.11 17:48:54 by beet Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 25) : They might go with Pretorius you`re absolutely right.

    I just rate Wynand higher in the regional setup and tried to find a place for Watermeyer as well. I think it is a lot easier to move from 12 to 13.

  • Comment 27, posted at 18.01.11 17:53:59 by Original Champion Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 26) : right.

  • Comment 28, posted at 18.01.11 18:01:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 28) : Yay! Will there be an official Sharksworld press release to confirm this unconditional support?
    Warning: this may be a losing cause.
    Jokes. But you were right about Brummer. He was VC player of the year 2010 and then the wheels fell off his form wagon. I really don’t think the Bulls expected this decline and I’m sure they’ll really start sweating if anything happens to Morné Steyn, coz if you’ve noticed he is pretty much an 80min per game player. They don’t often sub him.

  • Comment 29, posted at 18.01.11 18:08:13 by beet Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 29) : Good to know. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 30, posted at 18.01.11 18:20:57 by Original Champion Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 29) : well – a rugby man whose opinion I respect a lot does rate Brummer highly, so I’m not going to unconditionally write him off. Let’s just say that I’m yet to be convinced.

  • Comment 31, posted at 18.01.11 18:31:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Ben:do you honestly think the ‘saders midfield of fruean and sbw is more dangerous than j fourie,jean div ,j d jongh?..
    The player in the stormers squad to watch imho this season is elgar watts.. playing with a loose trio of louw,s burger and vermeulen aon his inside and mentioned centres on his outside (plus habana lurking out wide),might just see him take gaps and half-gaps more often than peter grant..watts has a good eye for a gap,excelleration..and he isn’t that bad with his goal kicking..if opponents drift off him in degence,he has the skill to make them pay..

  • Comment 32, posted at 18.01.11 18:33:53 by bergshark Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 32) : you reckon Watts will get any game ahead of Grant and Cronje?

  • Comment 33, posted at 18.01.11 18:43:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 32) : this will be a huge step up for watts so not convinced he will be doing that well. Dude a team doesn’t consist of centres there are 22 players and I think the saders 22 is better than the stormers 22! What good is it to have world class centres if you’re team never has the ball?

  • Comment 34, posted at 18.01.11 18:46:40 by Ben Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 33) : where is W de waal?

  • Comment 35, posted at 18.01.11 18:49:53 by Ben Reply
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  • @robdylan:alistair coetzee has said that he has been very impressed with some of elgar’s touches in training..

  • Comment 36, posted at 18.01.11 18:56:39 by bergshark Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 35) : he fogolod off to italy or something.

  • Comment 37, posted at 18.01.11 18:59:19 by robdylan Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 36) : ja sure, but saying that to the press and actually picking him to start a super rugby game are two very different things.

    Plummo keeps telling the press how much he rates Mark Richards… but has he actually been picked yet?

  • Comment 38, posted at 18.01.11 19:02:16 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 37) : He will not be missed.

  • Comment 39, posted at 18.01.11 19:03:11 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 39) : Hold up. Wasn`t it Willem de Waal who kicked wp into the CC final?

  • Comment 40, posted at 18.01.11 19:08:23 by Original Champion Reply
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  • @Ben: the stormers don’t seem so out of depth in the forwards when playing aus and nz sides..their forwards didn’t look so bad vs cheetahs in the cc semi..
    Do you so soon forget how the stormers made the saders looked really average in last year’s s14 game @ct?
    There is no way that the saders have more flair from 1 to 22 when compared to the saders.
    And as for not getting hands on the ball.. Andries bekker in the line-outs (not to mention what he has shown himself capable of doing in broken play),schalk and f louw @ breakdowns(bit penalty prone,but ,hey,wish a ref would start blowing richie the way they blow other fetchers).
    Tiaan liebenberg looked like a bok in last year’s s14 and people were even saying the stormers have found some props!
    Don’t be overawed by the saders hype..the stormers can run them of the field.they have the skill and support play to do just that.

  • Comment 41, posted at 18.01.11 19:09:46 by bergshark Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 36) : Bergshark. I won’t be holding out for Watts to leapfrog Grant but he does have one heck of sidestep it’s really hard to read. He probably should have thrown his weight in with the Lions this year. I’m sure he would have at least been the benchwarmer up there. WP have invested a lot of game time into Cronje, can’t see them (WP/Stormers) backtracking to accommodate a Bolander now.

  • Comment 42, posted at 18.01.11 19:10:49 by beet Reply
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  • Meant compared to the stormers (comment re: flair vs flair)

  • Comment 43, posted at 18.01.11 19:11:05 by bergshark Reply

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  • @Original Champion (Comment 40) : Good point. He may have been one-dimensional but his contribution to WP’s cause shouldn’t be watered down.

  • Comment 44, posted at 18.01.11 19:13:50 by beet Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 40) : Actually the cheetahs were just utterly crap in the semi! If you’re talking about the whole season then yes maybe he helped wp but he will not be missed to SA rugby!

  • Comment 45, posted at 18.01.11 19:18:01 by Ben Reply
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  • @robdylan: imho elgar watts has some serious skill @10 ,and playing in a team that win good ball and being surrounded by other attacking threats

  • Comment 46, posted at 18.01.11 19:23:13 by bergshark Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 41) : Imo on paper the saders have a better team and I think they are gonna gel again this year but also not so sure how many all blacks will be rested with the wc this year but on this 1 I think hom advantage could swing it but with both teams full strength I’d have to go with the saders.

  • Comment 47, posted at 18.01.11 19:26:52 by Ben Reply
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  • Gotta go,guys!

  • Comment 48, posted at 18.01.11 19:35:02 by bergshark Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 48) : Chow bro

  • Comment 49, posted at 18.01.11 19:37:43 by Ben Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 46) : I`ll keep all this in mind for my Stormers preview. Watch this space ;-)

  • Comment 50, posted at 18.01.11 19:46:57 by Original Champion Reply
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  • “If the ruling does go against them, although that is highly unlikely, Francois Hougaard and Derick Kuun will fill in for them at wing and hooker respectively.”

    I do not know about this – I think that Chiliboy and Basson will both get 3 month bans and that means problems. When last did Kuun play hooker? He did a Smitty and lost the fat needed for front row grunt stuff long ago and if Botha goes down then the Bulls will have to just look deeper for a hooker.

    As for Hougie, I doubt that he will be happy playing wing because that means a step backwards in securing a world cup spot at scrumhalf.

  • Comment 51, posted at 18.01.11 19:58:24 by RL Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 46) : I also rate him highly. Should have gone to the Bulls

  • Comment 52, posted at 18.01.11 21:06:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • Its all about been a family n learning to trust one another..if the sharks can intergrate their new players in and everyone learns to trust one another then I can’t see why we can’t beat the bulls n crusaders…we have a flyhalf..prob the best front row in the world n great loosies..

    My prediction..watch meyer bosman n jlp do great things for the sharks

  • Comment 53, posted at 18.01.11 21:17:01 by shaniboi Reply

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  • 3.5 points per game (45 in S14) is normally enough for the top spot.

    That is 54 points from 16 games.

    Full score against the Lions and Cheetahs and half against the Sharks and Stormers makes for 30 points.

    Win the 4 home games against OS teams and they are on 48-50.
    Then they need only 4-6 on tour (one win).

    54 with room to spare.
    Go Bulls.

  • Comment 54, posted at 19.01.11 00:36:34 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 18) : Personally, I hope for the Bulls to become an all-conquering force, sweeping all and sundry aside, except in the games against the Sharks, where they suffer embarrasingly one-sided defeats.

    Furthermore, if I were allowed to indulge myself, I would want Pierre Spies to be largely anonymous and utterly outplayed by Ryan Kankowski in the games; for Wynand Olivier to be ineffectual in attack, and shown up in defence by whatever midfield combination we play, and for Jaco vd Westhuisen to have a completely embarrasing day at the office, regardless of position.

    Now just don’t ask me to explain my disdain for above players, it’s not a rational thing…

  • Comment 55, posted at 19.01.11 07:47:08 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song: not a big fan j vd w myself (although I can recall rating him when he was still down in dbn lol ).
    I’m worried about bulls midfield defence (for them ,when they have to play overseas teams).although w olivier does seem to tackle (and look world-class) in superrugby,but j pretorius just doesn’t make me feel comfortable when he must tackle(it is as if players can “ride” his tackles).
    Perhaps the kirchner @13 experiment to be continued @ sr level? But who do they then play @fb? J vd w?

  • Comment 56, posted at 19.01.11 09:23:19 by bergshark Reply

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