News24

Bulls, Stormers to march on

2012-06-29 10:37

Cape Town - Rob Houwing, in his South African Super Rugby Round 16 preview, suspects the Cheetahs will be tamed up front in Saturday night’s big Loftus derby

SPORT24 PICK OF THE CROP

BULLS v CHEETAHS, Pretoria


When: Saturday, 19:10
Referee: Marius Jonker (SA)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD


Long-range weather forecast:
Clear, mild, light breeze.

Background:
The Cheetahs may be largely playing for pride, but the battlers from Bloem are pretty used to that and it doesn’t stop them from delivering some blood-and-thunder performances towards the end of Super Rugby campaigns – especially as the whiff of derby gunsmoke is usually enough to get their engines going anyway. My big fear for them is that, with enforcer and big ball-carrier Coenie Oosthuizen absent, the pack loses a fair bit of sting: Trevor Nyakane and experimental tighthead Marcel van der Merwe could have their hands full against the all-Bok front row of the Bulls, for instance. Still, the Bulls will be very aware of the fact that these opponents can sometimes cash in quite lethally on scraps, and with mercurial Willie le Roux busting in from fullback ... an upset is not entirely the stuff of fantasy.

Key head-to-head:
There are several important head-to-heads in this one, but I am particularly looking forward to seeing how JJ ENGELBRECHT (clearly rated highly enough by Heyneke Meyer to be in his broader Springbok group at present) continues his development as an outside centre. His defensive alignment has occasionally been found wanting, even if his long-striding acceleration is a known strong point, and he will certainly be tested to the full here by the arguably under-rated and eternally slippery and constructive ROBERT EBERSOHN. The latter may not have the luxury of as much go-forward opportunity, unless the injury-hit Cheetahs pack truly fronts up.

Recent history:
The Bulls humbled the Cheetahs 51-19 in their own backyard in early March, so the portents surely have to be good for them to prevail again at Loftus. Physical mastery played a big part in that thumping, and significantly Morne Steyn sported a 90 percent kicking record that day – how he’d love to return to that kind of stat this weekend! The Bulls won 32-21 in last season’s Pretoria meeting, and also edged the Bloemfontein fixture 25-23 so their recent track record against these foes is excellent.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
Having lost some vital ground in the weeks immediately preceding the Test window, the Bulls will be under no illusions as to the importance of winning this one – their playoffs presence could be seriously imperilled if they blow it. Most of their forwards will be reasonably revitalised after the break, considering that only Pierre Spies and Juandre Kruger were genuinely heavily employed during the England series, and they should set the foundations for a comfortable enough win. Bulls by 14!

SA GAME 2

STORMERS v LIONS, Cape Town


When: Saturday, 17:05
Referee: Mark Lawrence (SA)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD


Long-range weather forecast:
Partly cloudy, cool, gentle breeze.

Background:
The Stormers, lying second overall and bidding forcefully to win the SA conference again, still have a good shout at pipping the Chiefs to top place after ordinary season, and all the playoffs advantages that entails. So stepping off the pedal here (or being unceremoniously bundled into a ditch, if you prefer) is unthinkable from their point of view. There are ongoing, injury-enforced challenges for them in some positions, which gives the visitors from the Big Smoke at least a sniff. Nevertheless, their own front-row woes - they’ll especially rue Pat Cilliers’s absence - don’t help any quest to establish suitable supremacy in the engine room, and the Stormers remain wily enough to grind out the win.

Key head-to-head:
The battle between the open-side flanks could be influential, if not necessarily decisive, in determining the outcome here. It’s a no-contest, after all, from an experience point of view: the Lions’ Alberton-born DERICK MINNIE is in his third full season at this level, whilst opposing him in the battle at the breakdown will be total Super Rugby novice TYRONE HOLMES from rugby-unfashionable Fish Hoek! Nevertheless, some wise men around Newlands insist Holmes is made of stern stuff and will only further illustrate the depth of their loose forward factory (even if it is injury-jinxed right now).

Recent history:
When these teams met in the first-round clash at Coca-Cola Park on March 24, the Stormers cavorted into a handsome 18-0 lead after 25 minutes and seemed odds-on to hand out a grilling. But the second half, especially, saw the Lions produce an inspired turnaround as the visitors clung on, instead, to grab the spoils only by 24-19. In the equivalent Newlands match last season - in the second round, but the Stormers’ opening game - the hosts edged a forgettable affair 19-16. They were spared embarrassment by a late, clinching try from now-retired Pieter Louw.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
I would be surprised if the Lions, despite their lowly status, are walloped in this one. They probably even feel they have a puncher’s chance, what with a strong dose of squad harmony seemingly being restored with the sidelining of coach John Mitchell and the hosts fielding two complete rookies among their loose trio, which poses certain dangers to the title-seekers. Still, Stormers to get over the line reasonably comfortably (in the end) ... by about nine points?

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24

Comments
  • harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 10:47

    Bulls to march on. Stormers to choke. (Again)

      jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-06-29 10:59

      Like you choked on your last game against the Stormers... You bull supporters got zero dignity!!!

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 11:03

      If you lose a regular game, it's losing. If you forever lose in playoffs, it's choking.

      jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-06-29 11:04

      Like I said... Zero dignity!!!

      stephen.axtell.7 - 2012-06-29 11:10

      I just laugh when the arrogant Vlou Nulle from Moftus are changing there tune. Before the match the Vlou Nulle werre arrogant as usual saying the Nulls would win easily. But when they lost they come with these lame excuses.

      Tommy - 2012-06-29 11:22

      Harold, How many times were your wrong before about your predictions (especially Stormers vs Bulls). Seems like you don't learn from your mistakes, a common sign of a undeveloped brain. Shame.

      frans.vanderpoll - 2012-06-29 11:35

      Hope you guys don't take Harold Lloyd serious, he is/was after all a comedian. I can still remember him in that black and white movie dangling from Big Ben.

      rod.cramb.1 - 2012-06-29 11:38

      Harold, Harold, Harold. Obviously your rugby knowledge needs to be raised a notch or two!!!? Stormers to take it by at least 10 points.

      paul.sdoow - 2012-06-29 11:39

      so he you lose a round robin game its jus a loss and a semi you lose its choking . what do you call missing the play offs? o that's right its called vlou null syndrome

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 11:48

      Tommy, How many times were your wrong before about your predictions (especially 'watch us next year'). Seems like you don't learn from your mistakes, a common sign of a undeveloped brain. Shame.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 11:49

      No Paul, that's losing too many times. Common sense really.

      orrinf8 - 2012-06-29 12:10

      ai Herald, you are senseLESS .. shame, i pity your family for having to put up with the likes of you

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 12:13

      Most of my family died during the depression, of depression.

      Tommy - 2012-06-29 12:17

      Harold, show me he post where I predicted a win/loss. Copy and paste will do. Maybe, just maybe, I learned from your mistakes.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 12:23

      Ok Tommy, you first. Where did I predict a Bulls win over the Stormers? Copy & paste will do. I'll wait right here.

      John - 2012-06-29 12:54

      Focus on the Bulls game chump! Lose this one and the Bulls are gone. What started off as promissing season could all go horribly wrong.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 13:19

      Does anyone know where Tommy is? I'm starting to get a little worried.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 13:40

      It's gonna take a while.

      Allan - 2012-06-29 13:55

      Harold, please go and get some preperation H and dissapear

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 14:14

      Who wears normal specs on their head? Seriously Allen? Is that what you okes call fasson?

      Bossie - 2012-06-29 14:47

      Harold- Id rather be called a choker, coz atleast it means you played in the playoffs. Since choking is such a big issue- I can tell you the bulls wont be choking this year.. like last year..again!!

      Bossie - 2012-06-29 14:57

      and for records Harold..the bulls got beaten by the choking Stormers TWICE this year. Note the second time was at Loftus against a depleted Stormers B team!! Do you remember the feeling when your beloved bullerinas, at Loftus, lost to the depleted Stormers AGAIN??

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-06-29 14:58

      @bossie, "Id rather be called a choker"now that is piteous beyond despair!

      Bossie - 2012-06-29 15:12

      No Maakie, not really if you are able to read my post in context. More "piteous beyond despair" is the fact that the Bulls will not make it to the semis AGAIN

      frans.visserdsb - 2012-06-29 15:33

      Strange thing - the Stormers supporters mostly comment using their own real profiles. The Bulls supporters mostly have these fake made up profiles... makes you think. I am proud to support the Stormers.

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-06-29 15:56

      @bossie, As I said before .Don't set your expectations high an you won't be disappointed

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-06-29 16:09

      @fransie, Jy klink soos n gramefoon plaat wat vas gehaak het

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-06-29 16:33

      "Bulls will not make it to the semis AGAIN".. Bossie is that what your magic 8 ball told you ?

      frans.visserdsb - 2012-06-29 22:27

      @maakdie bulle... prove me wrong... you troll...

      Tom - 2012-06-30 09:16

      like being called a troll is hurtful

      Lance - 2012-06-30 11:26

      Hey Harold, the Bulls had an awesome game against the Blues a little while ago hey ??..pity they lost..(ouch !)

  • charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-06-29 11:04

    This is about right. Stormers don't score anymore, then just defend. Lions will run at everything.

  • vic.jablowski - 2012-06-29 11:32

    Watch Cheetahs upset the Bulls

      orrinf8 - 2012-06-29 12:13

      english lessons are needed bluebird .. your english ARE shocking !!

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 12:24

      You is right, orrin. He's English are shocking.

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-06-29 12:46

      yesterday orrin could not spell or count to save his life ! Today he's a Grammar Nazi

      anwar.addinall - 2012-06-29 15:39

      That wouldn't be an "upset". It's only an upset if it's unexpected.

      jm.hayes.96 - 2012-06-29 19:12

      " watch the cheetahs upset the bulls " ....with a full front row of that caliber? With the Potgieter Duo at Flankers and JJ at outside centre? No chance sunshine

  • Edward - 2012-06-29 11:51

    Shame blueraven, did you not read, Bash has highest kicking stats of all, 91%, unlike a mr Steyn from loftus! We like to rely on Bash!

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-06-29 11:54

      only from right in front , in the 22

      nick.spangenberg.52 - 2012-06-29 13:03

      wow what a clever comment difficult kicks whaha every kick is difficult for maureen steyn grant has no issue slotting them from all angles like he's done all season and will do against the lions

      John - 2012-06-29 13:07

      @Pinkraven - what is it with Bulls supporters ??? Do all of you suffer with some kind of a short term memory loss thing. (Bullsheimers). Go back to the beginning of the season when Grant sunk the Bulls & The Sharks with kicks in swirling conditions both from the touch line. Joe started as 1st choicce kicker & was replaced by Grant on a permanenet basis. Your boy has developed a hook and he can't get past it. Trying to berate Grant is not going to help. The last time we had a bok kicker with a 50% hit rate was never.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 13:09

      Maureen Steyn, omw Nick, you are just a hoot.

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-06-29 13:10

      @nick, Listening over the radio can be misleading.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 13:26

      He loves telling the stories, but nobody listens.

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-06-29 17:44

      Personally i think it isn't the radio.. i think more it is a case of "did you get that trucks number-plate?"... The one that dropped all that S**t between your ears..

  • springbokke - 2012-06-29 11:59

    Some chat........When a team has nothing to loose ...esp. a team like the Lions , they can realy run riot.....Stormers , you manna must look sharp.

      Izak - 2012-06-29 12:29

      I feel sorry for Harold and co, they seem to watch all the Stormers articles with much more enthusiasm than that of Flou pienk koeie! You guys are really really very immature and should consider Kindergarden as a seriuos option for you, perhaps the 3 year olds will understand your reasoning! What does the scoreboard say in the 2 matches between Stormers and the "pienk koeie" Please grow up and go and waste your blue bull mentality friend' s time!!!! Go STORMERS

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 12:36

      I'm way past kindergarten. I've been in grade R for 3 years already.

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-06-29 16:41

      @Izak " blablabla than that of Flou pienk koeie! You guys are really really immature and should consider Kindergarden" .. I lol'd .

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-06-29 17:46

      Sê IZAK met sy een vriend...

  • Jacobus - 2012-06-29 12:44

    go cheetahs go stormersssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-29 12:46

      You have a lisp?

  • mack.myburgh - 2012-06-29 13:54

    The BULLS must kill these okes by 15 points or more ,if they dont ,they might aswell call thier season over aswell.That said these are the CHEETAHS ! anything can happen .......GO BULLS !

  • maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-06-29 15:58

    @fransie, Jy klink soos n gramefoon plaat wat vas gehaak het

  • william.lehanie - 2012-06-29 17:28

    Super Cups: Bulls 3 - Stormers 0 , the Lions going to chrash you this weekend, please dont blame the Bulls or the ref for it. Stormers can only win the Bulls when they dress in pink...LOL

      Tom - 2012-06-29 18:13

      Dude did u also watch local wrestling. They going to crash them. I haven't laughed like that since that day on e when I saw local wrestling

      Tom - 2012-06-30 09:28

      its cheetahs not cheethas

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