A Loftus hoodoo – or a Bulls hoodoo?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 16 Mar 2016 at 15:35
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As Sharks fans, we tend to have a rosy notion about Loftus Versveld being a happy hunting ground for our team and while this may be the case in Currie Cup rugby, looking at the history between the Sharks and Bulls in Super Rugby, nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, since the franchise era kicked off in 1998, the Sharks have managed just 4 wins in Pretoria in 12 starts there, a paltry 33% success rate.

Overall, the sides have played each other 24 times since that first outing (a 12-8 win for the Bulls at Loftus in May 98) and as one would expect, given their pedigree as three-time tournament winners, the men in blue hold a significant advantage in games won (14-9 with 1 draw) and competition log points (62-53). Perhaps most damningly of all, they have beaten the Sharks 7 times in Durban, against just 5 wins to the home side. That’s right – the Bulls win more of these Super Rugby games in Durban than we do…

An interesting fact that comes up is this: despite the clear superiority on the results side of the house, the Sharks have actually scored more points (521-464) and significantly more tries (53-37) than the Bulls over the course of these fixtures and yet have managed to win only 37.5% of the match-ups.

Recent history is even more depressing, with the 2007 Super Rugby final result seeming to cast a bit of a spell on the Sharks. Since that horrible day, the Durbanites have managed just 4 wins over the Bulls, with 9 results going the other way. Two of those Sharks wins, admittedly, have come at Loftus, but we need to go back nearly five years to 18 June 2011 to find the last Sharks Super Rugby win at Loftu and back two years and a day (15 February 2014) to the last time the Sharks beat them anywhere.

In other words, the Bulls are on a 3-match unbeaten streak against the Sharks at any venue and a 4-match streak at home.

Still feeling so confident, fans? I’m not sure I am.


  • But this is a new year with new players and coaches and when the game starts history means nothing. Sharks by 6!

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.03.16 15:41:05 by JD Reply
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  • Let Keagan do the business in the last 20 minutes 😉

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.03.16 15:46:07 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 1) : Yea, sharks by 6 is a good call

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.03.16 15:50:31 by the ko Reply

  • Keegan has scored 3 tries against the Bulls in Super Rugby, but only 1 of those was at Loftus. We won that game.

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.03.16 15:51:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • Until circa 2010 the wins were actually equal to each team (just like we roughly have with the Stormers). But the Bulls have started to make it very one sided this decade – with the Sharks only winning something like 3 from the last 12 Super games (don’t have access to the stats at the moment).

    So the one sided nature of the results has only been something of a recent trend. It is an abnormal trend and something we should start putting right this Friday.

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.03.16 15:54:19 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • In 2014 we were one of 2 unbeaten teams going into R6. We lost to the average Bulls then, we can’t get complacent now.

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.03.16 15:57:10 by David12246 Reply

  • @David12246 (Comment 6) : wasn’t that also the year we lost to the Lions in Jhb in the penultimate game for the first time in yonks, and lost out on a home semi as a result?

    Complacency seems to have been an issue for the Sharks that year. In fact it’s something which has always haunted Sharks teams of the past. I get the sense this team is hungry though. I hope I’m right.

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.03.16 16:01:00 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • Fortress Loftus, maybe thats why 3 of my favourite all time games were played there, – our first CC win, the Johan Ackerman red card game and then in 1995 a game I was lucky to at, we came back from something like 21 points behind to draw 36 all with the Bulls. Joost scored a hatrick before halftime in that game and we had 2 Frenchies (Roumat and Lacroix) in our team. That was a great day.

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.03.16 16:08:58 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • That stat is frightening. But I still feel this team is hungry for success, has shown great character 😆 (yes, Sharks_have_Character that was for you) and think we should see a determined team take the field on Friday. Sharks by 12…

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.03.16 16:17:13 by Hulk Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 8) : I was in the Cartoria Toyota box with my dad that day (95) as the only two guys wearing Natal colours in a sea of Blue Bulls.

    One of the ooms bought me a Natal flag – I think he did it hoping I would just look like more of a tit once we’d lost. Jeez, did he only get grumpy in those last ten minutes. “Hou op daai blerrie vlag waai, seun!” 🙂

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.03.16 16:17:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 8) : I believe Cabous scored two of ours? The one that clinched the draw came after a frankly insane chip through from Lacroix

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.03.16 16:18:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : Jeepers but there were many morbid, suurgat Bulls fans in the stands around us. Natal were dead and burried with no time on the clock. We celebrated at some outdoor venue in hatfield and at sometime the Natal team showed up looking dapper (and superchuffed) dressed in their blazers and in a great mood.

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.03.16 16:53:33 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : I remember us getting a penalty, Putt taking a quick tap and I think he scored it himself. Who was taking the shots at poles that day – he was perfect. Luke Smith?

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.03.16 17:00:12 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • There’s some quality players in that Bulls side and they’re a union not to be underestimated at home. I’m backing the Sharks though.

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.03.16 17:21:12 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Given a choice, which game would I rather see the Sharks win: Bulls at Loftus or streamers at newlands?

    This year, I guess thumping the streamers on their home turf was pretty sweet.

    But losing to the bulls, and I’ll hear the in-laws again.

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.03.16 17:47:35 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 7) : losing at home to the stormers via a taute dropgoal(last action of the game), cost the sharks the home semi.

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.03.16 18:08:08 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • “c” for complacency seems to be the letter and word of caution for the game against the bulls.

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.03.16 18:18:27 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • Not happy reading to be sure. I don’t know what the bulls have when it comes to beating the Sharks…luck? referees love? Its high time that new history is made, but I don’t know that it’s going to be this week. There is a non-negotiable…revenge for the Crusaders. No equivocation on that.

  • Comment 18, posted at 16.03.16 18:47:31 by SeanJeff Reply
  • @SeanJeff (Comment 18) : That crusaders game last year was the most painfull game of rugby that I’ve ever watched…seeing our once proud Sharks devoid of any self respect….this year however, these boys are oozing pride and hunger.

  • Comment 19, posted at 16.03.16 19:46:13 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 16) : arguably both did? We finished third by a single point.

  • Comment 20, posted at 16.03.16 20:04:55 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • That Crusaders game last year was the lowest I’ve ever seen the Sharks. Incredible to think we beat them with 13 in Christchurch just the year before.

    Gold will carry that with him for a while yet (despite what Keohane now says).

  • Comment 21, posted at 16.03.16 20:07:11 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 20) : the loss to the stormers was at home.can’t lose at home.

  • Comment 22, posted at 16.03.16 20:35:25 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 22) : we also didn’t (use to) lose to the Lions home or away in Super rugby.

  • Comment 23, posted at 16.03.16 20:42:08 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 8) : @robdylan (Comment 11) : I still have the highlights of that game on vhs! I was in a pub in Stellenbosch and we went mal!! Cool hand Luke (Smith) nailed some tough conversions to make the draw happen…

  • Comment 24, posted at 16.03.16 21:03:18 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 13) : Yup…Luke Smith…

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.03.16 21:04:09 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 24) : Ah, memory lane…it is one of my golden rugby memories!!!

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.03.16 21:06:24 by pastorshark Reply
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  • I am hopeful that we will not underestimate the bulls or lack focus and intensity on Friday…

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.03.16 21:08:03 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Duh. I’ve got my years mixed up. The shock loss to the Lions was in 2012.

    We’d just won 4 in a row, and had just beaten the conference topping Stormers who were on 50 points to our 49 points.

    The Lions game in Jhb was the last game before the month long June test window (with only two league phase games left). A bog standard 5 point haul against the Lions would have seen us take top spot in the SA conference. There were plenty of reasons why a 5 point haul against the Lions in Jhb was ‘bog standard’ back then – we hadn’t lost to the Lions in Super Rugby in 13 games going back to 2001…

    We completely underestimated the game and lost 38 – 28 (with the Lions scoring 4 tries).

    We eventually squeaked into the play offs in 6th place while the Stormers finished 1st on the combined log.

    Of course we beat the Reds away in the quarter and the Stormers away in the semi so the strongest SA team did eventually make it through to the final but what a difference a home final may have made.

    That’s why in 2012 it all came down to that shock loss to the Lions in Jhb.

  • Comment 28, posted at 16.03.16 21:13:35 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 28) : I remember that game too…I was in another pub, this time in Dalton…and this was NOT one of my golden rugby memories…

  • Comment 29, posted at 16.03.16 21:17:00 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 29) : I think I remember there being Bok training sessions in the week before that game and reading somewhere after the loss that our Boks (who then made up the bulk of the Sharks team) had their heads elsewhere. Unforgivable if true.

    Stay tuned for a game I remember as one of the other ultimate low moments of under estimating the opposition. I need to find it.

  • Comment 30, posted at 16.03.16 21:28:34 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • 2004 when we lost 6-5 to the Reds at home! We’d beaten the Highlanders and Hurricanes away on our tour and had recently beaten the Crusaders at home for the first time since 1996. We were looking hot for a semi final place in the top 4 with a run of home games to play.

    Lost that game then went on to lose to the Blues and Stormers at home to bomb out of semi contention.

  • Comment 31, posted at 16.03.16 21:33:30 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 30) : I remember the Sharks losing to the cheetahs after returning from tour…we won all our games on tour (or lost only one game) and the cheetahs were complete rubbish up until that game.

    We got completely hammered that day…never even saw it coming.

    We also lost our unbeaten run to the Western force in 2007.

  • Comment 32, posted at 16.03.16 21:39:17 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 32) : I remember that Cheetahs game! I think you’re thinking of 2014? We had topped the log for almost the entire season, and had won 3 out of 4 games on tour (including the Crusaders). We came back home in 1st spot on the log hving won 10 from 13 with 4 games in SA to contend with, 2 at home, to finish in top spot and bag a home semi and final.

    We lost to the Stormers in Durban 21-19 (I think this was that Taute drop goal game) but all was not lost then. The following weekend we travelled to Bloem and lost to the Cheetahs 12-6.

    We then spanked the Stormers in CT to finish 3rd (by 1 point) – this meant we had an away semi final to the Crusaders after we beat the Highlanders in the quarter.

    The Sharks have been their own worst enemy over the years.

  • Comment 33, posted at 16.03.16 21:49:38 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • *with 3 games in SA to contend with, 2 at home

  • Comment 34, posted at 16.03.16 21:50:36 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • We really should have finished 1st on the log in 2014 but that was the infamous Jake-gate or Senior player-gate year, whichever party you want to believe.

  • Comment 35, posted at 16.03.16 21:52:07 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 33) : Sheesh, that’s another one, I’m thinking of ’08 or ’09 – Heinrich Brussouw single handedly dismantling all our possession. The next week the Cheetahs beat the Crusaders, and we lost to the Crusaders the week after.

    Seems to be an entire chapter full of games where the Sharks thought they merely needed to arrive.

  • Comment 36, posted at 16.03.16 21:53:46 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 36) : that was 2009! 31-6 and 4 tries tonil!

  • Comment 37, posted at 16.03.16 21:55:52 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • That’s right! in 2009 we were top of the log after 8 games having only lost to the Reds on tour (3 from 4 on tour that year). We had a game against the Cheetahs in Bloem and 4 home games to finish the regular season off with and we were favourites to top the log.

    We got smashed in Bloem and then lost 3 of the 4 last home games to plummet from 1st to 6th on the log.

    Jeez this is all reminding me how hard it is to support the Sharks in Super Rugby. Very temperamental team.

  • Comment 38, posted at 16.03.16 22:00:06 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 38) : all this sounds like not a bit but a lot of complacency.

  • Comment 39, posted at 16.03.16 22:07:05 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • Makes we wonder how the Sharks have not won Super Rugby when 8 other teams have…

  • Comment 40, posted at 16.03.16 22:12:59 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • They’ve had/blown enough chances

  • Comment 41, posted at 16.03.16 22:13:23 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • Sorry to say but the Sharks have a kak habit of losing to weak sides. At one stage I almost feared playing the bottom two sides more than playing the top two sides.

  • Comment 42, posted at 16.03.16 23:25:54 by JD Reply
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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 38) : Damn that made for horrendous reading…there honestly is no excuse for the Sharks not to have hosted more than on home SR final.

    That’s one of the major reasons why I believed a complete clean-out of Sharks management was required….that kind of complacency does not simply start and end with the players.

    Hopefully the Smit regime will start to pay dividends now. (admittedly, it has been rough going thus far)

  • Comment 43, posted at 17.03.16 06:35:58 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 43) : at least they’re showing some improvement!

  • Comment 44, posted at 17.03.16 08:14:51 by JD Reply
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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 40) : Still believe a lot of it boils down to mental strength. A tough blow was dealt to the union in 2007. We would have been a different team in terms of self-belief had that final gone our way. But it’s far in the past now and it’s high time we move on from that hoodoo.

  • Comment 45, posted at 17.03.16 09:44:53 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 44) : True. We beat a kak side at home last Saturday.

  • Comment 46, posted at 17.03.16 09:56:52 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • Comment 62 on the post 6 change for sharks

  • Comment 47, posted at 17.03.16 12:31:08 by duncanbetteridge Reply

  • This post is a lot like mine about the team announcement

  • Comment 48, posted at 17.03.16 12:32:34 by duncanbetteridge Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 45) : the sharks still managed to make the play-offs in 2008.and win the cc that same year.the big thing in 2008,the year after the final,was the loss of bj botha,john smit (captain),butch,and percy.that is the team’s tighthead prop,captain, flyhalf,and fullback (and 1st choice goalkicker).also was first year of s14 and sharks were given 6home 7away draw.but even considering the draw,if the sharks had managed to retain only bj botha,smit and butch,think we would’ve been hosting a home semi.

  • Comment 49, posted at 17.03.16 12:45:01 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 49) : Still no getting across that final SR hurdle though and that’s the point I commenting on.

  • Comment 50, posted at 17.03.16 13:06:45 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 50) : I agree. That 2007 final knocked the union back significantly. I think the Sharks would have gone on to be multiple dynastic winners (instead of the Bulls) had they just won it in 2007. It was so close.

  • Comment 51, posted at 17.03.16 13:16:36 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 51) : The mental issues seem to be a Sharks thing, because the Chiefs won two titles after getting a record hammering in a final against the Bulls at Loftus.

  • Comment 52, posted at 17.03.16 13:46:32 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 52) : I think the point is – mental scars are more damaging when you’re favourites, ahead all game at home, fuck up the kick out after the hooter and lose on the last play of the game deep in injury time.

    A one-sided hammering is much easier to brush past and put behind you.

    I mean, I’m only relaying how the respective results make me feel as a fan. I imagine if you’re a player it’s just the same.

    That 2007 final is making knots in my stomach even now.

    By contrast that 50 point hammering at home to the Crusaders last year in no way has the same effect and in no way influences my belief that the Sharks can beat those same foes next week.

  • Comment 53, posted at 17.03.16 16:18:18 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 53) : Spot on.

  • Comment 54, posted at 17.03.16 16:31:29 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Wow! Planet Rugby have picked the Bulls.

  • Comment 55, posted at 17.03.16 17:14:12 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 53) : That’s true. One of the most disappointing moments in my life EVER has been that 2007 final. 9 years on and it still hurts. I’m now chronically allergic to the “How does one get the cork back into a champagne bottle” joke. A bunch of us talk shit on a Whatsapp group (10 Sharks and a Bulls supporter) and the only topic off limits is THAT game. 😆

    Having said that, the Sharks has had a mental issue playing as favourite and seem to flourish when labelled the underdog. Hopefully that’s changed.

  • Comment 56, posted at 17.03.16 17:41:07 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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