KSA Shark ©

Thundering performance by the Bulls

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Bulls, In the news, Super 14 on 31 May 2009 at 07:02
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During the lull that followed the blitz that all but won the game for the Bulls, the scoreboard mocked the visiting Chiefs with the irony of it all.

It read 24-7, a metaphor for what was unfolding on the field.

Simnikiwe Xabanisa writes for the Sunday Times that leading up to the game, it was agreed that the Chiefs needed to adjust their game plan to suit finals rugby, while the hosts didn’t have to tinker with anything.

With 22 minutes gone in the game, it was the team that played the same way 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that was home and hosed.

During that period, the Chiefs’ profligacy at the rucks and failure to deal with the up and under resulted in three converted Bulls tries by Fourie du Preez (two) and Bryan Habana.

And just to show them that they were headed for a similar fate as the Crusaders, flyhalf Morne Steyn popped over the drop goal that took the hosts’ tally to 24 points.

That was the essential difference in a game that promised the world but was as lopsided as the final score suggested.

And to think that Lelia Masaga put the Chiefs on the board first.

Just how did a game billed as a potential classic end up an anorak’s dream?

The answer is one side were experienced at this finals caper, the other simply overawed by being in their first title match.

The result was eight tries to two and the biggest-ever winning margin in a final.

The Bulls’ experience told in little ways. There was a power outage at the stadium that led to the game starting three minutes late and the Vodacom Bulls Babes not titillating the crowd as they usually do before the match.

Then the Bulls had to put up with the even more unusual sight of being welcomed onto the field with fireworks, as if they had already won the game.

These little things were potentially distracting, yet when the game started they immediately started doing the things they always do well.

The kicking out of hand was spot on, the chasing well-choreographed and the aggression at the breakdowns bordered on assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

With the Chiefs enjoying a slight advantage at the scrums, Bakkies Botha wrecked their lineout by stealing no fewer than three of their throw-ins in the first half alone.

And the defence, led by flanker Dewald Potgieter, had obviously studied the Chiefs’ moves in minute detail, because the hits were so jarring they stopped the visitors’ devastating offloading in the tackle.

By contrast, the Chiefs — who repeatedly took the breath away with the outrageous nature of their play this season — simply froze on the big stage.

The capacity crowd at Loftus Versfeld (52000) is apparently almost half the population of Hamilton — so it was perhaps understandable that they were a little distracted by the sea of blue at the stadium.

This was a team effort by the Bulls, and flanker Deon Stegmann epitomised this best. The youngster was replaced as early as the 20th minute of the game, yet by then he had effected the turnover that led to Habana’s first try and had pulled off a try-saving tackle on Chiefs centre Richard Kahui.

That said, there were simply outstanding efforts from Du Preez, Habana and Steyn.

The former was responsible for the Bulls’ first three tries, sparing Zane Kirchner’s blushes with a quick-tap and score for his first, scoring the second from an Aled de Malmanche turnover, and kicking the grubber that led to Habana’s first try.

Habana, derided as being past it at the beginning of the season, turned in a determined performance and showed that the British & Irish Lions will have their hands full.

Steyn, for the umpteenth time this season, did not fold under the pressure, kicking all his goals when it mattered and remaining calm while directing matters from flyhalf.

He also scored 19 points to be the top points scorer in the competition with 191.

The Bulls’ second Super 14 title was an acknowledgement of the golden age they are experiencing and a warning to the visiting Lions of just how much harder South Africa will be to beat this time around.


Bulls 61
Tries: Fourie du Preez (2), Bryan Habana (2), Victor Matfield, Wynand Olivier, Pierre Spies, Danie Rossouw
Conversions: Morne Steyn (5), Burton Francis
Penalties: Steyn (2) Drop goal: Steyn

Chiefs 17
Tries: Lelia Masaga, Mils Muliaina
Conversions: Stephen Donald (2)
Penalty: Donald


  • Only three things to really say about this game. 😉

    1) NOBODY would have beaten the Bulls with this performance yesterday.

    2) The Bulls teams deserved this win after a damn good season.

    3) Congratulations.

  • Comment 1, posted at 31.05.09 07:22:21 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : i totally agree to that, well done Bulls. 🙂 i said earlier this week, that the chiefs have no idea what its like to play the bulls in a final at loftus, im sure that any other saffa team would have given the bulls a better challenge. Im a little bit sad about this though, imagine the arrogance to follow this result by the bulls supporters.

  • Comment 2, posted at 31.05.09 07:43:46 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 2) :

    I’m of the opinion that if any of the other sides in Sa had won the S14 is similar fasion then they would also have been bragging all over the place and that some people would have been seen as arrogant.

    But hey! Let them enjoy their time in the sun and let’s not be TOO harsh on them.

  • Comment 3, posted at 31.05.09 07:53:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • i just want to say well done to the Chiefs for making it this far.

  • Comment 4, posted at 31.05.09 08:04:17 by JarsonX Reply
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  • They have earned their bragging rights, but I know what you mean, sometimes as South Africans we say things which make us look very arrogant(Louis Luyt after the 95 cup comes to mind), but maybe with time, we have learnt that it is better to be humble, not sure this applies to Pretoria just yet, but they deserve their win, Well done to the Bulls!!!

  • Comment 5, posted at 31.05.09 08:19:40 by Whindy Reply
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  • Amazing game yesterday.

    The Bulls really deserved this title.

    What shone through was their confidence, Final experience, and willingness to back themselves to win.

    Unlike the Sharks, they did not kick the ball back and generally wait for the opposition to make the mistake that would lose the game, but they actively looked to make the moves that would win the game.

    The Chiefs prepared to counter the drop-goal, and then the Bulls took the game right to them – even taking tap kicks when awarded penalties – the Chiefs didnt know what to expect!

    A truly master-class performance – I hope the Sharks watched and recorded this game.

  • Comment 6, posted at 31.05.09 09:50:16 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Nicest thing about it is that this time it is totally fair-and-square.
    No resting All Blacks and no blinded refs.
    Top of the log and some very convincing performances in the semi and final. OOOOH that feels good.

    You guys will just have to endure the boasting for a bit. We are Bulls fans after all and have a reputation to live up to. 🙂

    But don’t despair too much, the boasting will be short lived, next time the teams meet the score starts at 0-0 in a new competition.

    Lets hope the Sharks make a few adjustments so next year the Bulls can beat them in the final at Loftus. 😆

  • Comment 7, posted at 31.05.09 20:45:50 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 7) : well done. It must feel good. Brag all you like. You deserve it and we’d be doing just the same if the shoe were on the other foot 🙂

  • Comment 8, posted at 31.05.09 21:16:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 7) : Well said Fyndraai, it was an awesome performance and a pleasure to watch no matter who you support.

    The atmosphere sounded incredible and the Bulls have got something special going at the moment. Congratulations for that.

    Sharks know we have a lot of work to do both on and off the field.

  • Comment 9, posted at 31.05.09 21:41:14 by Villie Reply
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  • And we all thought they were totally crazy when they appointed Ludeke as coach

  • Comment 10, posted at 31.05.09 23:12:04 by MysticShark Reply
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  • @MysticShark (Comment 10) :I think Ludeke took over a very well planned outfit, part of Meyer vision, for which he was nearly fired, but with hindsight, has made them the strongest and best prepared franchise in SA. The Bulls are going to be a strong outfit for quite a long time to come, its scary when you think a player like Danie Russouw is not even a regular run on, good depth and the fact that they have so few injuries. One wonders how long this will continue with the new Super 15 and extended season?

  • Comment 11, posted at 01.06.09 06:21:19 by Whindy Reply
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