The ghost of try time

A Lot of Bull

Written by cheers had fun (The ghost of try time)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 12 Feb 2008 at 08:11

I am confused. I have been reading all the so called experts predictions for Super 14 and I am amazed at their view that the Bulls are stronger than the Sharks this year. Over the last year I have valued the so called experts advice and viewpoints less and less. Their decisions seem to be made on a lot of bias towards sponsors or favourite teams rather than facts. The current thing that irks me is the view that the Sharks will finish sixth while the Bulls will finish second. I understand the bookies having the odds in that bias as Bulls supporters probably gamble and bet a lot more than Sharks supporters so they add this to the equation, as well as Bulls supporters’ euphoria after getting a lucky Super 14 title, meaning a lot more supporters betting on their team. But the facts are plain to see that the Bulls are in for a torrid season.

So here is my biased opinion on the South African sides. Let me eliminate Stormers, Lions and Cheetahs out of the mix early. The Stormers have a great coach, but your coach doesn’t make a forward pack, and the Stormers don’t have depth at tight five to get the loosies and backline on the front foot. The Lions have the depth, but do not have the class of player required to last a Super 14 tournament. Cheetahs lost too many players and important players to be a force. That leaves the obvious contenders, the Bulls and the Sharks.

The main and only reason the Sharks can be written off is their draw. The Bulls had a similar draw last year and made second position on the log, so why will a more experienced, stronger squad of players not overcome the odds this year. People may mention the loss of key players. But my opinion is the replacements are far better suited to the new game than the old guard were.

Now the mighty invincible Bulls…. They are in trouble. They start the tournament with three big matches. They play the Stormers, Crusaders and then the Sharks. Not that difficult for the Titans of South African rugby… if you had the 2007 squad. But simply put they don’t. They have lost too many big guns: Danie Thiart, Ruan Vermeulen, Wessel Roux, Gary Botha, Victor Matfield, Francois van Schouwenburg, Cliff Milton, Hottie Louw, Neil Powell, Frikkie Welsh, Dries Scholtz, Johan Roets, and Johan Wasserman. That is a lot of depth and experience to recover from. Add Heynecke Meyer’s departure, doubtful Spies (who seems to keep being put on hold) and a Bakkies that doesn’t want to be in the team. They start with a hooker that hasn’t played rugby for over a year, and with his injury history probably won’t play much this season. They have a crisis at lock and are hoping for Danie Roussouw to get fit and the biggest obstacle is a new coach that on his last outing in Super 14 he split a team into two. How can the Bulls supporters hope their coach will get their team bonding and playing with confidence when he was unable to create unity and a team spirit in the Cats. Simply put I would say this is not a team I would bet a lot of money on.

This is my humble opinion, but remember I am not a paid “expert”.


  • Be afraid, very afraid… 👿

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.02.08 08:21:16 by Charlie Reply
  • Let’s add the ongoing fiasco around the appointment of a backline coach to the mix and a first-choice midfield that includes Wynand Olivier and JP Nel… You may just be onto something, TT.

    Charlie 🙂

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.02.08 08:31:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • rob i didn’t want to totally blow the bulls out the water. they do have some decent players that deserve support. stupid fools shouldn’t have signed 5 year contracts for a sinking ship though.

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.02.08 08:36:55 by try time Reply

  • yeah… look, you can never write them off

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.02.08 08:44:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • Experts? Hahaha – i haven’t met a journalist who is an expert in anything other than talking shite !

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.02.08 08:48:03 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • Good point Sauce.

    However, i would still be very careful in writing off the Bulls.

    The one massive advantage they have is that their game plan is so brutally simple: knock ’em, sock ’em and f%k ’em.

    They are always gonna pick and drive hard at you, kick for territory, look to give Habana the occasional space to run, and defend hard, and dare I say it, dirty.

    That gameplan is not gonna suffer from having new personnel tasked with playing, while other SA teams, who have more involved gameplans might suffer more from adapting to both the rule changes and personnel changes.

    I think the biggest adjustment the Bulls will have to make is going to be in the lineout. Other than that, they will hope that they can dredge up big boys to keep on doing what other players have done sucessfully for the last 10 years.

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.02.08 08:53:58 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Fish – i think the Bulls will consider this season a success if they are competitive, I just cannot believe Ludeke has turned around his ability in a year or two. The Bulls also had a decent backline coach in Louden last year, i have always felt that Meyer was a good coach but he needed someone to round his game off so to speak. Louden did this. It was plain to see.

    And to couple that i don’t see the Bulls repeating their overseas success. Which got them to the finals last year

    They will be a mid table side and Ludeke will be looking for employment from week 6 or 7 😀

    But they will probably still smash the Stormers 😕

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.02.08 09:03:20 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • Sauce, I dont rate Ludeke at all, but i do think that Rossouw will probably do a good job as backline coach.

    Louden did well, but he didnt introduce anything truly innovative – the gaps that tries were scored from were usually still created by stampeding Bull forwards, so in my opinion, I dont think that his loss will be massive – Pieter has a good rugby brain too.

    I think they will finish 5 or 6, and I think that in the circumstances, its not a bad finish.

    I think the Sharks will finish in the same region, unless the boys really outdo themselves. I think we will probably get a semifinal, and with our draw, that would be superb.

  • Comment 8, posted at 12.02.08 09:19:17 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Bulls finished second with the same draw, as tt points out

  • Comment 9, posted at 12.02.08 09:26:53 by robdylan Reply
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  • with all the players having left the bulls, shouldn’t the stadium be called “not so securanymore leftus vir vervelde”.

  • Comment 10, posted at 12.02.08 09:30:57 by try time Reply

  • They need two good, strong locks….

  • Comment 11, posted at 12.02.08 09:54:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • Nice article tt, as usual. 😎 The Sharks do have the better chance of winning it this year as opposed to the other 13 teams. However most people are forgetting that a large number of NZ players have also left which leaves the 2nd, 3rd and 4th spots wide open this year. It’s a question of, who wants it the most ❓

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.02.08 10:00:51 by shark-tank Reply

  • with you there shark tank. although the we cannot discount the fact that kiwi teams love space and the new elvs will open the field up for the kiwis. we have seen that kiwis dislike strong defences, so the sharks are going to have make sure they have enough at the back to stop any line breaks. personally i would like to see the sharks employ a four three defensive line. scrummy fly half and centres charge and drift with the loosies filling the inside gap, and the wings and full back wait for any breaks in the defensive line.

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.02.08 11:04:02 by try time Reply

  • tt – see you taking a bit of flak from across the boerewors curtain 😆

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.02.08 11:22:47 by shark-tank Reply

  • Speak English… that always confuses em!

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.02.08 11:45:01 by robdylan Reply
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  • Okay lets do a simple review on the bulls of the last few years.

    Strengths? Best line-out combination in the world meaning they can kick the pill all day long.

    Now they’ve lost their hooker and their best lock… so best weapon down the drain…
    Tehn they’ve lost a plethora of big beefy players up front. There goes weapon number 2.

    Eish, they mgiht actually need to use Habana to score poitns this year…

    Problem with the bulls is that they;ve been carrying 7 backline players for years now and they migth actualyl need them to fire this year if they have any chance of success.

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.02.08 12:01:49 by VinceChainSaw Reply
  • nice theory, but their 10-12 axis is broken.

    Bulls need to get Adams in at 9, move du Preez to ten, play SOMEONE at 12 (really not sure who, but maybe Steyn) and get Habs in at 13. Creative axis established, so it doesn’t matter who plays on the wing.

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.02.08 12:07:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • VCS…..what you are saying is slap tjips has his work cut out for him then ❓ 😈

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.02.08 12:10:00 by shark-tank Reply

  • Problem is they’ll still be playing leifling at pivot this year.

    And, despite his skill with the boot, he simply cannot play behind a pack that isnt absolutely dominating their oppo.

    Reckon slaptjips is the last guy that the bulls need.

    What they really needed was a specialist, experienced backs coach.

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.02.08 12:12:49 by VinceChainSaw Reply
  • Gysie Pienaar…..anyone know what he is doing now? Last I saw he was coaching Griquas….

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.02.08 12:20:38 by shark-tank Reply

  • Gysie had some personality issues at the Cheetahs… apparently that’s why he went into hiding in Kimberley. Part of the reason Ruan came to Durban as well.

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.02.08 12:24:28 by robdylan Reply
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  • Same here st, Griquas dont have a website so i cant dig any further

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.02.08 12:24:35 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • For me the key for the bulls is the pack in everything, and the backs mainly for defence.

    Unless I have forgotten something, the only real personnel loss they had amongst the backs was Roets, and Kirchner is an able replacement, though he might lack Roets’ searing pace and variations of the up-and-under.

    The forward squad, from IOL is as follows:
    Loose forwards: Wikus van Heerden, Pedrie Wannenburg, Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies, Deon Stegmann, Dewald Potgieter, Hilton Lobberts.

    Locks: Bakkies Botha, Fudge Mabeta, Hendrik Roodt, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Wouter Moore (new signing), Juandre Kruger (new signing).

    Hookers: James van der Walt, Derick Kuun, Bandise Maku, Chiliboy Ralepelle.

    Props: Richard Bands, Gurthro Steenkamp, Rayno Gerber, Sangoni Mxoli (new signing), Werner Kruger, Rassie van Vuuren (new signing)

    Obviously problems amongst the hookers, but now that Bakkies is staying and they have signed Wouter Moore from the Sharks, the locks are good, they have 3 top props, and the loosies are still very good.

    So I think they could well do pretty well in the context of things.

  • Comment 23, posted at 12.02.08 12:26:36 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Have a feeling Gysie left Griquas…
    Wonder if the bulls ever considered him to coach their backline ❓

  • Comment 24, posted at 12.02.08 12:29:12 by shark-tank Reply

  • big fish as far as i am aware wayne julies is still injured.

  • Comment 25, posted at 12.02.08 12:43:43 by try time Reply

  • Julies is out for the duration of the S14, yeah

  • Comment 26, posted at 12.02.08 12:49:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • Thanks guys.

    In that case there are 2 backs missing – and its not like Julies was ever gonna start.

    i still think they will do ok – but the Sharks have the best squad in SA without a doubt.

  • Comment 27, posted at 12.02.08 13:06:39 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • I am still worried about the Sharks. Until Epi arrives, we are short at 7. If Bis gets injured, we are in trouble at hooker. Also, what happens if the plan with Ackers/Sykes backfires?

  • Comment 28, posted at 12.02.08 13:12:30 by robdylan Reply
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  • imo bakkies is key to the success of the bulls, looks like they’ve retained him just. their success depends on how quickly he, Spies and Botha/Ralapelle recover from their injuries and can join the S14.
    1. Steenkamp 2. Botha/Rallepele 3. Gerber 4. Bakkies 5. Rossouw 6. Wickus 7. Pedrie/Lobberts 8. Spies – not too shabby bad at all.

    the sharks have the most depth esp in their frontrow, but i’d be suprised if any of the SA teams make the semis. Ackerman and AJ are just past it imo which is a huge loss, as well as the lost exp of Butch, Smit as Captain and Percy the kicking machine. not the same team for prime balance to win, but an exciting one nevertheless. they should have and deserved to win last year, but that is history.

    the stormers and force would be my dark horses. the stormers under rassie will at least have a totally different attitude, tho they also seem to still be missing that grunt in their pack. compare that to Bakkies and Rossouw, tough to overcome, but great coach, who knows.

    the cheetahs pack looks very very good indeed and can match anyone, also younger players like vermeulen have a S14 under the belt. Problem with the cheetahs is as good as their pack is, as bad as their backs seem.

    the lions, hope they do well, but with the injuries building up and players being sold, see them at the bottom regardless of loffie’s skills.

  • Comment 29, posted at 12.02.08 13:20:26 by cab Reply

  • Is Gary Botha coming back to the Bulls cab?

    Or is that another Botha I dont know about?

  • Comment 30, posted at 12.02.08 13:24:59 by VinceChainSaw Reply
  • rob, deysel and blignaut can handle 7. also if the bis is injured both skipper and burden can step up. skipper got a lot of criticism levelled at him last year about his line out throwing, but the games i watched it was more a case of catchers not doing their job. burden is also a good guy to have at 2 as his speed will counter act the slowness of blignaut (not saying blignaut is that slow, but he is a bulky guy). so don’t worry robdylan. the only thing that worries me about the sharks is their song is crap. it ruins a good day out.

  • Comment 31, posted at 12.02.08 13:25:00 by try time Reply

  • Vince,
    sharp, forgot he’s left, bit of a loss there too. not the same depth. they also not sure if Spies can even play. Reckon he can take the tournament by storm this year.

  • Comment 32, posted at 12.02.08 13:29:38 by cab Reply

  • cabbie!

  • Comment 33, posted at 12.02.08 13:33:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • we need a new song!

  • Comment 34, posted at 12.02.08 13:34:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • howdy Roberto, just stopping in for a minute or two.

    it must be said thaough that the sharks have an amazing frontrow for the ELV’s in carstens, bismarck and jannie. wonder who dick will pick between BJ and jannie?

  • Comment 35, posted at 12.02.08 13:37:05 by cab Reply

  • 02.12.08 13:33:13 – robdylan

    Thats the first time in a long while that someone other than cab screamed out his name like that.

  • Comment 36, posted at 12.02.08 13:38:14 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • ha. sal jou kry Fish.

  • Comment 37, posted at 12.02.08 13:42:48 by cab Reply

  • I suspect Jannie will be preferred in 3, BJ to play a more running game coming on after an hour.

  • Comment 38, posted at 12.02.08 13:59:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • 😈

  • Comment 39, posted at 12.02.08 14:04:43 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • where did everyone go?

  • Comment 40, posted at 12.02.08 14:53:38 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • siesta ❓

  • Comment 41, posted at 12.02.08 14:57:55 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • clearly

  • Comment 42, posted at 12.02.08 15:09:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • ok which one of you is gavin rich. i post this then go onto superrugby and i see he writes basically what i did. not that i am complaining. it means i just might be onto something. but he got paid for his article. hang on maybe i am gavin rich and i re-worked my article for supersport. oh curiouser and curiouser.

  • Comment 43, posted at 12.02.08 19:08:42 by try time Reply

  • cleanup on aisle 3… we have a poster with an identity crisis!

  • Comment 44, posted at 12.02.08 19:13:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • 🙂

    One confused Puppy.

  • Comment 45, posted at 12.02.08 19:24:19 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Rob are u there?

  • Comment 46, posted at 12.02.08 22:34:44 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • I am indeed!

  • Comment 47, posted at 12.02.08 22:36:47 by robdylan Reply
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