Bulls moving into play-off mode

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 16 May 2011 at 11:07
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According to Bok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, the Bulls will be approaching each of their remaining Super Rugby games this season as virtual knock-out games, with even a single loss likely to consign them to the scrapheap in this year’s competition. With that in mind, Saturday’s crucial away clash against the Sharks has been identified as a must-win for the Pretoria side and their preparations and approach to the game will take that into account.

The three-time Super 14 champions have had a somewhat inauspicious start to their Super Rugby campaign this year, with back-to-back home defeats against the Highlanders and the Stormers setting the tone for a woeful overseas tour that saw them lose a further three games. They’ve won their last two on the trot, though and if last Saturday’s mauling of the Rebels is anything to go by, they’re starting to hit their straps. According to du Preez, racking up big score differences where possible is one factor they’ve identified as something within their own control when it comes to knock-out permutations. It was a tactic that worked well for them back in 2007, where they managed to move themselves from 4th to 2nd on the overall log simply by racking up a big enough score against the Reds in their final pool game.

The message for the Sharks is an ominous one. Don’t read too much into the Bulls’ early season form, because they’re on their way back up after hitting rock bottom on tour and have their sights firmly set on reaching the play-offs. With the Sharks due to play them twice before the competition finishes, for the Bulls to progress, it would mean, inevitably, that their coastal rivals would need to fall by the way side.

We all believe, of course, that the Sharks have both the personell and the gane to send the Bulls back to Tshwane with their tails between their legs. Putting that belief into practice on the field, though, against a determined and desperate foe, is a different matter entirely and for the Sharks it is crucial that any signs of lethargy after the bye week are shaken off during training, rather than left to linger on match day.

For like the Bulls, the Sharks also simply cannot afford to lose any more games – not if they aim to top the South African conference, a goal which is now firmly within their reach.


  • And the Sharks should do likewise if they want to win the tournament. Game on.

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.05.11 11:10:29 by waje Reply
  • Love beating the most by far. Really hope we pitch for this game. Bragging rights are at stake! πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.05.11 11:17:30 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • We are certainly not yet where we are supposed to be, but at least we are improving. This weekend’s game is going to be huge, whichever way you look at it.

    Obviously you’ll be favourites, but probably only because of home ground advantage and slightly better form.

    I am very happy that meisiekind is back in some kind of form before playing against bosman and stef, hopefully wynand watched them play against the stormers.

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.05.11 11:19:22 by bloubulblog Reply

  • @Ben (Comment 2) : Love beating the Bulls the most by far, I mean.

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.05.11 11:20:56 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 3) : I’m scared about that… will be bloody embarrassing if Wynand Olivier tears us a new one…

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.05.11 11:24:23 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Charl has a big role to play and I hope he knows that. We mustn’t be afraid to throw numbers into rucks. First three guys that there must clean and Mcleod needs to be there to pass the ball. It’s that simple actually! We are a momentum team!! Come on Mcleod, time for fun and games is over, this is the business end of the competition. Lambie, practise your kicking my boy, Deon gives a lot of penalties away.

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.05.11 11:28:47 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @Ben (Comment 2) : Don’t you get “bragging rights” once a trophy has been won? Did I miss the memo about mid-season bragging rights? πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.05.11 11:33:32 by diablo Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : i don’t want to open up a can of worms here, but when wynand is on song, like he has been these last two games, and was last year during Super 14, he really is one of the best.

    very few people outside of Pretoria will ever admit that. and i know he doesn’t always pass that much, but he can distribute the ball to both sides with the best of them. unfortunately its a skill that the bulls do not utilise enough.

    but all that said, he had a shocker of a season up to the chiefs game.

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.05.11 11:38:40 by bloubulblog Reply

  • This game should be interesting

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.05.11 11:49:34 by Poisy Reply
  • Can not wait till we send them back to loftus with no play off hopes!!

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.05.11 11:51:39 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 8) : Only when Wynand Passes does he have a good game like we saw this weekend. He played well against the Rebels but the Rebels gave the Bulls backline so much space it would be difficult to screw it up, even for Wynand. So lets hope we see a good outright battle in the midfield this weekend.

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.05.11 11:52:37 by Viking Reply
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 8) : He will have alberts and deysel on cross defense on his mind.

    Thus you will have wynand pre-chiefs. πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.05.11 11:53:57 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger
  • @Honey Badger (Comment 12) : I’m not so sure hey… Wynand is a confidence player an on his day, he’s sublime. Remember the Currie Cup game in Durbs in 2006?

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.05.11 11:58:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : Then all we need to do is get Alberts and Deysel to knock that confidence out of him in the opening minutes :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.05.11 12:04:33 by Viking Reply
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 8) :

    Most will agree with you that Wynand is a very decent Super rugby player BUT he often struggles away from home (overseas) and lets not get into his poor test performances.

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.05.11 12:04:38 by wpw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : True Rob,even when he is not playing his best he always plays good against us.

    But we all know he is delicate,so hopefully somebody can remember him on game day. πŸ˜€

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.05.11 12:07:20 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger
  • @Viking (Comment 14) : That is hopefully the plan….. πŸ˜†

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.05.11 12:07:53 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger
  • See Timotei’s on song again… πŸ˜†

  • Comment 18, posted at 16.05.11 12:08:14 by Charlie Reply

  • @bloubulblog (Comment 8) : wynand looks fantastic against punch-drunk teams who have been battered by the bulls pack…he is a FLAT TRACK BULLY.

  • Comment 19, posted at 16.05.11 12:27:29 by Megatron Reply

  • @bloubulblog (Comment 3) : Yeah but after his hattrick he won’t be passing for the next month. Timotei to play hero.

  • Comment 20, posted at 16.05.11 12:34:26 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @Viking (Comment 14) : I like the way you think πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 21, posted at 16.05.11 12:35:15 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • I’m bloody nervous about this game. Sharks/Bulls games are ALWAYS thrillers. I hope my nerves survive this game.

  • Comment 22, posted at 16.05.11 12:46:05 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • it’ll definitely be one of the interesting match-ups to watch on saturday.

    and i wouldn’t expect you guys to have watched our games very closely last year, but wynand was on fire. against all comers. and he has one quite a few occasions, shown up the stormers\wp centres.

    and while he might not have been electric in the bok jersey, you must take into consideration when he has gotten his chances. alot of his games, came when we fielded our less-than-perfect bok teams.

    but i would agree that he hasn’t done enough on bok level to start, or to be in the match 22. but if he plays out of the rest of the season in the form he is currently in, he deserves a chance to prove himself.

    i don’t want to draw parralels, or stir over here… but in my books one can, in a way, compare meisiekind’s performances in the bok jersey with a certain 8th man of your who have never convinced in the green and gold. and very few people would argue that this number 8 is not a very gifted player in his own right.

  • Comment 23, posted at 16.05.11 12:47:37 by bloubulblog Reply

  • @bloubulblog (Comment 23) : I would not say that Timotei is in form at the moment. Maybe if you look at his game the last 2 weeks you could say so but what about the rest of the season. Its easy to look good when your team dominates the game and bliksem the other team with a 30 point margin.

  • Comment 24, posted at 16.05.11 12:53:04 by Viking Reply
  • @Viking (Comment 24) : for sure. he is only getting into some form, he still needs to prove it this weekend.

    but as someone else also mentioned, confidence goes along way in determining form.

    and i am sure you saw some of the shocking knock-ons he had earlier this season, and it wasn’t always under pressure. so he certainly is alot closer to some kind of form.

    and doesn’t matter who your opponent is, if you score three tries then you are in some kind of form, although not close to his best form yet.

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.05.11 12:58:44 by bloubulblog Reply

  • @Viking (Comment 24) : @bloubulblog (Comment 23) : after how many matches does one say a guy is ON-FORM?

    form is temporary etc…

    if elton jantjies has another good performance next week against the Tahs, can we safely say he is ON-FORM?

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.05.11 13:02:11 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 26) : that’s a good point. i think it is a bit relative.

    but i would argue you can’t say that after one game, cause it might just be a bit of a fluke. two games a slightly better guage, three games probably enough for most people to judge that?

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.05.11 13:05:20 by bloubulblog Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 26) :
    Jantjies was really good.

    Butch at 12 could really bring his game along.

  • Comment 28, posted at 16.05.11 13:06:05 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 25) : imo, the game will be won by the pack that wins the physical contests at the breakdowns and scrums. Both sides like to use their big runners to gain a few meters and frontfoot ball, so if the sharks dish up the same commitment in the breakdowns as they did against the stormers and the brumbies first half, then were in for a LONG afternoon.

    the only reason the sharks won last years CC semi, was because we played a quick game on attack and won the breakdown battle.

    backlines should be a pretty even contest depending on who`s forward pack and scrumhalf gives them the better ball…

    all-in-all: its going to be a cracker. just hope the ref doesnt spoil the spectacle.

  • Comment 29, posted at 16.05.11 14:22:12 by VanWilder Reply

  • I am extremely nervous for this upcoming game…let’s hope it is because of it being so important for us to win…and not because I lack a bit of confidence in what our team can do. (I guess belief would come more easily if your team performed on a consistent level 😳 )

    At least this weekend I get to watch it on the new 42″ flatscreen in HD and with a PVR to do my analysis… πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  • Comment 30, posted at 16.05.11 14:23:25 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 30) : was the tv the first prize in the lady rugga competition? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 31, posted at 16.05.11 14:28:53 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 31) : Nope it was the “tough luck chick for not making it but here’s a tv to keep your trap shut”… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 32, posted at 16.05.11 14:33:06 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 30) : talking about bragging πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜†

  • Comment 33, posted at 16.05.11 14:43:40 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @diablo (Comment 7) : jeeez … dear management please do not exclude bulls’ supporters from memo mailing list πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 34, posted at 16.05.11 14:45:25 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @rekinek (Comment 33) : I am like a child about this one, Reks! Sorry! 😳 πŸ˜†

  • Comment 35, posted at 16.05.11 14:49:26 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @rekinek (Comment 33) : Uysie is a sper-braggart…

  • Comment 36, posted at 16.05.11 14:58:09 by Megatron Reply

  • @Ice (Comment 35) : don’t be sorry – i like bragging :mrgreen:

  • Comment 37, posted at 16.05.11 14:59:34 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 27) : Agreed, your strong point is exactly where it matters most right now.

    Ominous signs indeed . . .

  • Comment 38, posted at 16.05.11 15:16:23 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Considering that our lineouts will basically be Bulls lineouts we will have to make do with far less first phase possession than we might like. I reckon Steyn will be doing plenty of kicking into the corners for Matfield and Botha to have a field day on our throw.

  • Comment 39, posted at 16.05.11 15:53:23 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 39) : i`m with you on the high ball prediction. How i wish we had steady Pat Lambie at fullback to cover that.

    on the other hand, ludik is pretty safe under the high ball i guess.

  • Comment 40, posted at 16.05.11 16:25:09 by VanWilder Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 40) : No, I’m not talking about high balls. I’ll bet that the Bulls will put us under pressure by kicking the ball out and targeting our lineout, which has been one of our weaknesses for a while now.

  • Comment 41, posted at 16.05.11 16:30:36 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 41) : Any suggestions for a counter in that department?

  • Comment 42, posted at 16.05.11 16:51:11 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 42) : quick throw ins….

  • Comment 43, posted at 16.05.11 16:52:41 by VanWilder Reply

  • @Original Pierre (Comment 42) : variation is important when up against the likes of Vic, the All Blacks showed how to deal with Vic & Bakkies…Brad Thorn & Tom Donnelly switched constantly, they shimmied & shifted until they confused the Boks…

    they took quick lineout if there were no chasers, but that is tricky because your back three needs to be smart & in synch to exploit the counter-attack if it’s on or play it to safety if your strategy is to keep as much ball in hand – but having seen the sharks back 3, i’d advise that they kick for territory lest they isolate themselves and concede a turnover in a kickable position.

    that said, Vic is not on top form, hargreaves and them need to contest as much as they can, 32/33yr old Chris Jack schooled Vic just some weeks back, so it can be done!

  • Comment 44, posted at 16.05.11 17:39:53 by Megatron Reply

  • Sharks we better win this one over 100% and like Rob said send them packing with their tails between their legs

    :mrgreen: GO SHARKS GO :mrgreen:

  • Comment 45, posted at 16.05.11 21:01:58 by chaz Reply

  • Wynand can score another 3 tries against us,that would not say he is in good form,it is the sharks center combination and probably the worst in the comp?

  • Comment 46, posted at 16.05.11 22:37:03 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger
  • oh boy…..

  • Comment 47, posted at 17.05.11 07:48:43 by SharksRTB Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 43) : That would be an option, but I would prefer us simply sorting out our lineouts before the game.

    Why we haven’t been able to do this is a mystery, because both Bissie and Smit have been missing the jumpers and the jumpers have been a mix of Sykes, Mostert, Hargreaves, Skeate, Kanko, Daniel and Alberts.

    So pretty mystifying and rather difficult to pinpoint the problem from a spectator perspective.

  • Comment 48, posted at 17.05.11 08:47:12 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 48) : jip, that would be the perfect solution, but in general, i think quick throw ins should be used more often. even if your intensions are not to run it back, but with a quick throw in you have more space to do whatever you want to, run or kick.

    have a look at the crusaders. look how many players retreat once the other team kicked the ball…

    but i agree with you, with 2 brilliant hookers and great jumpers, something should be done to rectify the problem.

  • Comment 49, posted at 17.05.11 09:19:18 by VanWilder Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 49) : Good point regarding the quick throw-in and also exactly why it doesn’t really work for us. Our players are very lazy in getting back, unlike the Crusaders, and when we do get the numbers they are normally bunched up and easy to defend against.

    The successful counter-attacking sides are the ones with a hard working back three and loosies, but who are spread out the width of the field to scatter the defense and increase their attacking options, which they then utilise.

    Just how often do we see Kieran Read field the ball from a deep kick and have the luxury of close support and a wide out option for the long pass across field? Compare this to when Alberts gets the ball from the same position. Normally he has Ludik there and nobody else, so he will pop the pass to Ludik to kick or put his head down and run.

  • Comment 50, posted at 17.05.11 11:14:30 by rhineshark Reply
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