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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 

Super 14: Silverfern rates the Bulls


Source: thesilverfern.com
Written by True Blue


The Bulls are the current powerhouse franchose on the SA rugby scene. They have won three out of the last four Currie Cup titles and are certainly among the most physically imposing franchises in world rugby today. They were the best performing of the SA franchises in last year's tournament finishing third, but losing out in the semis to the Tahs


With a fan-base bordering on fanatical and Loftus Versveld as a home ground, the Bulls are a tough nut to crack at home, but have been woeful on the road. These big men from the farm get homesick when they travel more than 50 km from the loving arms of Loftus...

Changes

The biggest change for the Bulls will be the loss of their iconic captain Anton Leonard, who has retired. He was the glue that held the team together and he certainly was a leader that lead from the front, carrying the ball up and making crunching tackles all round the park. His absence will be felt when the Bulls travel...

Ettienne Botha was the Bulls top try scorer in 2004 and a certain future Bok but was tragically killed in a car crash last year. Ettienne was a key member of the squad and the it was plain to see the drop off in performance subsequent to his death last year. Dealing with Botha's death will be a key performance aspect of the Bulls game this year.

Strengths

The Bulls have a tremendous physical presence and are completely adept at bludgeoning opposition sides off the park. Their front row is strong and their locking combination is the strongest of any franchise side in the world when both Botha and Matfiled are fit. The Bulls are the side that oppo players hate to play most because they know that everytime they run out at Loftus, it is going to be a very physically battering contest.

The Bulls have large and intimidating loosies who carry the ball up well and offer additional options in the lineout to hooker Botha.

The half-back combination of Steyn and du Preez is experienced and they work well together. Steyn doesn't miss many shots at goal either.

The wingers have speed to burn and Habana is one of the best finishers in the business.

Weaknesses

The Bulls loosies give away quite a bit of speed for the bulk that they carry, and this can be exploited by swifter, smaller oppo flankers.

The Bulls midfiled has alwys been somewhat porous, but with different personel in place this year, that may have been rectified. Time will tell.

The biggest problem with this team is that they are very bad travellers and have earned the 'easybeat' tag on the road. If they can overcome this and win away from Loftus...

Draw

Not a particularly good or bad draw.

Questions

Can the Bulls win on the road?

How badly will the loss of Leonard's leadership be felt?

Look out for

Chiiliboy Ramaphele at hooker

Prediction

Bull will bludgeon enough sides in the competion into bloody submission to finish amongst the semi-finalists. However they will need a home semi to progress to the finals... 4th
Comments:
I think it is an honest enough assesment

I hope that the Bulls will pulverise the kiwi & roo teams as well as the Stormers-

But I think that we will be in a better situation to judge them after the 10/2 game :-)

Hopes Aldo comes to town on this
 
OO,

Now why the sudden animosity towards the Stormers.
 
I think its a fair article. Still believe they need at least one fast loosie to be competetive at the point of breakdown.

Will be interesteing to see how they fare against the loose, fast type of play of the australians. Fortunately the Aussies sides are looking weak this year (except the Waratahs).

I also hope that either Steyn or Hougaard make the step up to S14 level otherwise they will battle, but that is a problem all the SA sides have at the moment.
 
I must say, out of all teh articles, the stuff that True Blue wrote on teh SA teams is very fair in my opinion.

Some of the stuff written on teh NZ teams were damn biased IMO
 
Bulls to sort their travel problems.....

Kiwis to discover theirs!!!!

seeing as how they have an extra travel game now?
 
APOLOGY TO ALL STORMERS FANS

What i meant was that the Bulls should not keep their best pulverising jobs for the Stormers only, but extend that courtesy to especially the Kiwi 7 Roo teams- if it is on the road it is even better.

So Donner I hope that rectified my 8:34 post

On the WP, I am not a closet mountain goat fan- but it does not bother me when they are successful

Seeing that I am a Cheetah fan I do not have a second team- but if I had to choose , it would probably be them.
 
hehe OO.

StP,

through all the banter and 'love' we share for one another, nothing would please me more than to see the bully boys clap the kiwi and aussie teams this year. i will be rooting their every game, except on the 13th of may...

anton's absence does worry me though, not so much ettiene, but anton definately
 
OO,

OK now I see your point. :-)
 
OO,

OK now I see your point. :-)
 
PA

So you will be wearing blue on 10/2?
 
hell no OO - just for kiwi and aussie teams  
Put a bit on the spot there PA

Anyway, my view is that PA's article was better.
 
The only reason the Bulls did well last year is because they managed to win all their home games, while the Crusaders and Brumbies were slow out the blocks and the Bulls started the overseas leg of their tour. They still lost most of their overseas games.

This year they start at home and then face the strong teams away from home.

The travel bug will hit again.

They won't get anywhere near a semi.
 
Must say,a very good piece!Are we sure a Kiwi wrore this!All the points raised are valid,and the positive thing is that the Bulls have basically just 1 or 2 problems that are preventing them from winning!

Travelling,Leonard and the absence of EB........

But,still believe the Bulls are in for a grab at the Cup,or at least the finals!!!!! :-)
 
eish, you have no idea.

vleis,

i hope they do, but the anton factor is big for me
 
Good Day Gents.
How do you like my pic?
 
PA,for me too,I dont think the people realise just how big the impact will be this season with him not playing.  
This is a rugby site wpw.......not Teasers!  
robd,I know,but comparing the Bulls problems with the problems of the rest of the SA teams,it seems that theirs are not the greatest!(Thats the Bulls)  
vleis - howzit boet. Not being able to travel counts as a BIG problem in this competition, ou mater!  
When Ras pitches- please look into the 1922 question- I have posted a PA-esque like opstel there

A BETTER GAME FOR ALL
 
wes - keep up the good work!  
The Cows will look good until they enter an antipodean bound airplane lowing like their bovine brothers on an abbatoir truck  
Good enough article, actually not as one eyed as I would've thought. Agree that the travel bogey is a big issue, but with a new pshycologist in the midst, things might look better this year. Only real problem I see for the Bulls this year, is if neither Steyn, nor Hougaard have a good season. Loosies are sorted, I think Dlulane helps us out a lot. So I don't foresee any problems there. Oversees tams are in for a surprise if they think all the Bulls loosies are slow.  
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