Vodacom Super 14
Deans: Bulls made a mistake
Robbie Deans (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – “The Bulls made a mistake by resting their top players on Saturday.”
That is one of the reasons why Wallaby coach Robbie Deans, who won five Super rugby titles as coach of the Crusaders, believes the New Zealand side will beat the champions in this coming weekend’s Super 14 semi-final at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Deans believes that the Crusaders, who are now coached by Todd Blackadder, will also benefit from the Bulls’ move from Loftus Versfeld to the unknown Orlando Stadium.
He also has a sound reason for arguing that the Bulls erred with their decision.
Eight years ago Deans’ Crusaders beat a weakened Waratahs side 96-19 in their last league game, after which the Waratahs lost their semi-final against the Brumbies a week later.
“I think it was a mistake to get off the horse,” Deans told rugby365.com about the Bulls.
“But the decision will be judged by how they progress.”
Even so, the Crusaders have a mountain to climb to beat the champions on Saturday.
No team has been able to win a semi-final or final outside its home country since 2000.
Therefore, the Crusaders and Waratahs have to try and manage something extraordinary at Soweto and Cape Town respectively this weekend.
On top of that the Crusaders are still hoping that star fly-half Dan Carter will be able to train fully at Fourways in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Carter and prop Ben Franks are both nursing ankle injuries that they sustained in the win over the Brumbies, but should be given until Friday’s captain’s run in Soweto to recover.
Carter again proved how dangerous he can be in the Bulls’ nailbiting win over the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld.
Blackadder told the Crusaders’ website that the team had taken encouragement from coming close at Loftus.
“The Bulls should be fresh after their players got a rest. Was it a good move? Who knows, it all depends on who plays better on the day.
“Our players have a lot of confidence after they came close to beating the Bulls in Pretoria two weeks ago. Our game has gone up a gear and you could see it against the Brumbies,” said Blackadder.