Super Rugby Preview: The Bulls

Firstly I would like to say a massive Maverick thumbs up to the Blitz Bokke for winning the Las Vegas leg of the Sevens Series. To be able to win in a city so full of temptation, strippers, gambling and good old fashion drunken marriage takes some skill and dedication. Well done team!

Back to Super Rugby though and continuing on from last week’s Cheetahs preview, we now take an intimate leer at the South African favourite (unless you are a Stormer’s fan), The Bulls.

The Bulls have dominated Super Rugby in the last few years and will be hoping for their third Super Rugby titlein a row, having smashed, kicked and pillaged their way to victory in 2009 and 2010. They of course ruined the Sharks pants party in 2007 with a uber late Bryan Habana try, sparking mass celebrations in Pretoria and the futile attempts at putting corks back into champagne bottles in Durban.

The Bulls know how to win; they have a reasonably simple game plan… Smash it up in the forwards, let Morne kick for field position, swing to super fast wings, score tries. Easy! They play to their strengths and thrive on aggressive play. They have vast experience in captain Victor Matfield and vice-captain Fourie du Preez (back from a long injury lay off). Not to mention Bakkies headbutt Botha, Gary no relation to Bakkies Botha, Gurthro Steenkamp, Akona Ndungane, Jaco van der Westhuizen, Morne Steyn, Zane Kirchener, Pierre Spies and Wynand Olivier. Quality all across the park.

Looking at their squad it is hard to imagine them not finishing at the top of the Saffa conference. Their first choice 22 is incredibly good and with the addition of Currie Cup record try-scorer extraordinaire, Bjorn I swear I didn’t take drugs Basson, they will be very hard to beat, especially at fortress Loftus.

A possible weakness may be their depth. They have lost the services of Pedrie Wannenburg, Tiger Mangweni, John Mametsa, Jaco Engels and Wilhelm Steenkamp, all sesoned campaigners. The ‘2nd’ team has not been as impressive, as evidenced in last year’s Currie Cup. Whether their back up players can take the necessary step up, may well determine whether they can achieve the elusive hat-trick, last achieved by the Crusaders in 2000.

It looks like this may well be the swan song of Bakkies, Gary Botha, Matfield and Du Preez, all expected to leave the Bulls after this year,  so expect huge committment and passion from these legends of the game. Look out for tries a plenty to Basson and for Chilli Boy and Francois Hougaard to take further strides to cementing their places in the WC Bok team. The Bulls first game is against the resurgent Lions team and by all accounts, should be a cracker!

Prediction: Semi Finalists

Shock prediction: Lions to win first game. You heard it here first, Rennton.

~ by bowlphilosophy on February 15, 2011.

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