Vodacom Super 14

Bulls favourites - on paper

2010-05-26 15:23
Wynand Olivier appearing in his third Super Rugby final (File)

Pretoria - History and stats make the Bulls favourites to win their third Super Rugby title in four years when they host the Stormers in the final of the 2010 tournament at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.

The Bulls will be aiming to become the third Super Rugby franchise to win back-to-back titles after lifting their second trophy last season following their 61-17 victory over the Chiefs in the final in Pretoria. Only the Crusaders (2005, 2006 and 1998, 1999 and 2000) and Blues (1996, 1997) have ever won consecutive competitions.

Nine Bulls players - Wynand Olivier, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pedrie Wannenburg, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Derick Kuun, Gurthro Steenkamp and Pierre Spies - will be playing in their third Super 14 finals, while Francois Hougaard and Gerhard van den Heever are the only Bulls players in the starting-line up who have not played in a Super 14 final.

The Stormers, in contrast, are appearing in their first Super Rugby final.

The only Stormers to have appeared in a major final are Bryan Habana - who played two Super Rugby finals for the Bulls - along with Schalk Burger and Jaque Fourie who have all played in a Rugby World Cup final.

The Bulls have won five of the last six meetings between the two teams - the exception being the final round match two weeks ago when the Bulls fielded a side showing 14 changes from the previous week.

Matfield will lead the Bulls for a record 60th time and could join Todd Blackadder and Richie McCaw as the most successful Super Rugby captains of all time in leading a team to the title on three occasions.

The Stormers have the best defensive record in the competition, conceding only 17 tries, while the Bulls have the best attacking record in the competition, having scored 50 tries and setting an SA record for the most points in a Super Rugby season.

The Stormers have the best disciplinary record in the competition, having received only one yellow card.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has taken charge of the Pretoria franchise for the last three seasons and has a winning record of 69 percent.

Former Springbok assistant coach Allister Coetzee has a 71 percent winning record in his first year in charge of the Stormers.

South African Rugby Union referee Craig Joubert will handle his 50th Super Rugby game and his first final.

The match starts at 17:00.

Teams:

Bulls:
15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Jaco Pretorius, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Francois Hougaard, 10. Morne Steyn, 9. Fourie du Preez, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Dewald Potgieter, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Victor Matfield (captain), 4. Danie Rossouw, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Gary Botha, 1. Gurthro Steenkamp

Substitutes: 16. Bandise Maku, 17. Bees Roux, 18. Flip van der Merwe, 19. Derick Kuun, 20. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 21. Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 22. Pedrie Wannenburg

Stormers:
15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Jaque Fourie, 12. Juan de Jongh, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Francois Louw, 6. Schalk Burger (captain), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Adriaan Fondse, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Wicus Blaauw

Substitutes: 16. Deon Fourie, 17. JC Kritzinger, 18. Anton van Zyl, 19. Pieter Louw, 20. Ricky Januarie, 21. Willem De Waal, 22. Tim Whitehead

Read more on:    super 14  |  bulls  |  stormers
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