Bulls title defence on track

2011-06-14 15:23

Gary Boshoff

The Bulls have once again seized the initiative from the Stormers and Sharks as they head into the final weekend of Super Rugby. 

This display of mental toughness “under fire” against a team that all but overwhelmed them in all facets of the game barely 10 weeks ago, epitomises the Bulls’ success in Super Rugby. 

Their return into contention for their third consecutive Super Rugby title is as remarkable as the winning of the first two titles in 2009 and 2010!

While the very slim winning margin can be ascribed to an inexplicable slump in form by the Stormers on the one hand and the masterful hand of Victor Matfield on the other, it still required meticulous execution and loads of patience and discipline to outlast the Stormers on Saturday.

It was indeed worrying to see seasoned performers, many of whom who will go to the RWC, wane and totter when it mattered the most. 

Players like Gio Aplon, Bryan Habana, Ricky Januarie, Andries Bekker and Tiaan Liebenberg did not rise to the level that the occasion required - they succumbed to the pressure. 

The Bulls, on the other hand, were cool and calm and executed their game plan to perfection under the astute direction of Victor Matfield, who despite the absence of Bakkies Botha and Fourie du Preez, led his team with proficiency.

Outstanding performances by Francois Hougaard (who displayed his tactical kicking skills on more than one occasion), Morné Steyn, Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies, Werner Kruger, Bjorn Basson and to a certain extent, Wynand Olivier, have strengthened the arguments for their inclusion into the final RWC squad.

The Springbok selectors are spoiled for choice when it comes to scrumhalves, No 8s, flanks, locks, flyhalves and centres, an ideal position to be in ahead of the RWC. 

The main selection challenge will be to get the combinations right and to ensure that the team is mentally ready when they team up against the Welsh, Irish, Wallabies and All Blacks.

This time around the Springboks will most probably have to beat either the All Blacks or Wallabies to win the RWC - there will be no easy ride as in 2007 in France. 

They will have to be at their very best from the outset as teams like Wales and Samoa have improved their professional structures significantly since 2007 and beating them is no longer just a formality, but will require focus and 100% preparedness.

That is why the return to form of the Bulls and especially stalwarts like Matfield, Steyn, Spies and Du Preez has been critical in gauging the chances of the Springboks as a team.

Just by weighing up the comments from the top rugby scribes it seems that there is general consensus that coach Peter de Villiers has got it right with his squad selections and that as things presently stand, the strongest possible Springbok team will contest the RWC in September. 

This does not happen often in rugby and it is ironic that it should happen under the reign of De Villiers who has attracted a fair share of criticism for his selection choices since his appointment as Springbok coach.

De Villiers’s Springboks are on the verge of achieving yet another milestone: they can be the first country to successfully defend their RWC title as well as the first country to win three RWC titles. 

The recent performances of the Stormers, Cheetahs and Lions in New Zealand are proof that South African teams can win over there.

Given the occasion, there is certainly no reason why the Springboks cannot retain the Webb Ellis Cup on October 23, 2011.

Gary Boshoff is a former SARU player and current Afrikaans rugby commentator on SuperSport.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


  • watalife - 2011-06-14 15:32

    Ja like they kicked against the Saders and took away a great big 0 from it all, Now thats the result you will get in the WC with drop,skop & place. I really thought Lloyd,Dom Agent,Ace,Krugga were dumb but hell sir you have just gave the word a new meaning.

      Not2Seriaaas - 2011-06-14 16:06

      It really is a shame that you are unable to discern between stupid blinded loyalty to your team and the fact that they played like primary school boys on Saturday. Maybe you forgot, but the names Gary praised helped the Bulls win 6 in a row. I guess you think Habana is on top form JUST because he plays for the Stormers...or Ricky, Becker and so on. If you ask me, Brian still plays for the Bulls, just in a striped jersey (if you consider at all the mistakes made on Saturday!). I recon he’s still the Bull’s secret weapon.

      GraemeBB - 2011-06-14 16:07

      @watalife Stormers16 - BULLS 19 That is all I want to say to you!

      Frik - 2011-06-14 16:08

      @Get a life wat het met die stoffers en saders gebeur en waar? O en wat het laasnaweek gebeur? En jy weet net so goed soos ek dat julle net 2 games oor het die seisoen...

      watalife - 2011-06-14 16:18

      @Graeme Yes boet it was indeed 16-19 but what happend last week has come and gone so lets move along. I dont see the drop,skop & place thing taking the WC from teams that dont battle with the high ball like the Saders and that my friend was indeed the great downfall when the bulls played the Saders Not? Remember the big 0 on the scoreboard? Your bulls were deffinetly the better team Saturday against the Mighty Stormers.

      watalife - 2011-06-14 16:25

      @Not2Seriaaas... did I for one moment talk about my team? Maybe you should read my comments that I posted in the past week and you will see what i have to say about certain Stormers players. Habana in my eye was way overrated before he even joined the Stormers.

      Frik - 2011-06-14 16:29

      Miskien moet jy biekie lees voor jy kom? Dan kan jy vrae beantwoord...

      Kaapie - 2011-06-14 16:31

      Graemebb... you played so well and the Stormers so badly and only won by three points.. even Vic said the bounce of the ball favoured the bulls.. I think they(Bulls) spent too much time on botox treatment.. WO must have been in line first

      GraemeBB - 2011-06-14 16:36

      @watalife - we are in a different stage of the S15. The Bulls have put their losses behind them, and have stood up out of the ashes. I am proud of them! As I have said, time to worry about Saturday, and the last thying on our minds is the Saders. We may fall, but we get up - and that is what defines this Bulls team, as shown on Saturday. I am rubbing it in, but you know how it works here - I got my fair share of it this year.

      Disa2011 - 2011-06-15 07:15

      @Kaapie - for a sh*tty, 7th on the log, written off more than 6 weeks ago, 10 hasbeens and a girl in the team, beating the mighty, God's gift to rugby, 2nd on the log with the bes centre pair team, 3 points is not that bad. Is it?

      JJRR - 2011-06-15 07:46

      What happened to the SADERS last year you buffoon? In 2009 we lost to the Chiefs earlier in the year and what happened in the final! Bulls 61-17 Chiefs And your point is exactly what??

      Legend - 2011-06-17 13:02

      JJRR, Bulle bly bo! At least you and I won't be disappointed after the final. We is not dense. We is.

  • Sh@rks Fever - 2011-06-14 15:34

    2 lines on the Bulls performance then the rest on the Springboks. However I can't wait to see who the run on 15 for the Springboks first game is.

  • rugby_guru - 2011-06-14 15:39

    I really find this guys articles so 1 sided and boring *yawn*, you make no sense..

      rugby_guru - 2011-06-14 15:40

      And if we beat them, trust me we wont get an article by Gary saying Sharks on fire, he will just keep quite... typical idiot

      watalife - 2011-06-14 15:49

      Cant you see the blue glass in his frame?

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-14 16:35

      Guru and watalife - This (j)oke is not a journalists @ss. There are in fact very few of the idiots we call journos in this country that manage to stay objective.....Their bias is just tooooooooooooooooooooo ingrained.

      Marx - 2011-06-14 17:05

      And the "GENIUS" called Saffa, insults as usual. She's never "biased" on this forum. No one forces you to read a journo's article, and then slam them with your low class insults. To call someone a @ss and a joke cause he's not praising your boys, how mature is that?? Oh and don't forget her "side kicks" Can't make a statement without the "consent" of "Dumb and Dumber"

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-14 17:19

      @Marx - duh???? I am stating that 99% of the journalists in this country are biased in some way, manner or form. Did you read that bit? Didn't think so. I include the CAPE journalists in that. Now what was it you were saying?

      Marx - 2011-06-14 17:33

      The moment this guy said something good about a couple of Bulls players, he's a joke and a @ss in your opinion. Now you're justifying it by claiming all journo's are @sses and jokes. Wow !! Never heared you slam your buddies in CT when they are so full of praise for your boys. Or have you? NO you have not !!

      Brannas - 2011-06-14 21:03

      @Marx, well said mate, and she always have her two lap doggies following her, does'nt matter what she says, they always hoohaa yes SAFFA, tell them, pathetic to say the least

      Carl Muller - 2011-06-18 14:25

      Read the head line.... It is about the Bulls, most successful S A team. South Africa's most successful defending title team as well. Which other S A team has done what they have done, back to back....

  • gnus wakker - 2011-06-14 15:43

    Well written Gary. I think we all know and agree that this Bulls team will go down in history as the best rugby team that ever walked the planet. We should have them all, 1-15, running onto the field in the WC final. Go die Boele

      watalife - 2011-06-14 15:47

      Now thats great insight you have, They have only taken the Super Title twice and they are the best eva?

      wverrall - 2011-06-14 16:04

      watalife that would be 3 times not twice you idiot. if they win this year it will be 3 in a row. titles so far 2007, 2009, 2010

      watalife - 2011-06-14 16:08

      @wverrall...ok idiot calm down to a panic, they have taken the title 3 times are they the best Eva???

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-14 16:19

      Profile thief with his copying and pasting the same frikkin comments over and over and over again from his Android phone in Canada. Tosser.

      Oupa Uiloe - 2011-06-14 16:26

      @watalife Correction: They've taken it 3 times and well on their way to a fourth. You are so in awe with the Bulls you wanted to say "Two in a row" so i forgive you there.

      Oupa Uiloe - 2011-06-14 16:33

      @watalife How does 4.5 curriecups with another 2 finals in a decade sound, plus 3 Super cups with another 2 semis, plus 3 Vodacoms with another 2 finals/semi's. Not even the mighty Crusaders could win so many local competitions adding to their prior Super rugby success. And you know what's really funny, a team in SA has won 0/30 cups in that same time period. I'm not kidding you, ZERO!

      Lean - 2011-06-14 23:28

      3 Makes them the best? HAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAAHA. What about the Saders 7 Trophies? Guess they are just rubish, since They will win it for the 8th time this year.....

  • gnus wakker - 2011-06-14 15:45

    But MIKE@CAPET said on May 20th that the Bulls pose no threat to the Stormers whatsoever, so how can the Bulls still defend their title then?

      Frik - 2011-06-14 16:02

      Daar waai Ace se profiel ook...

      Oupa Uiloe - 2011-06-14 16:28

      @fake Ace Probeer dit net maklik maak vir al die Mycobacterium Tuberculosis ge-infekteerde meningitis outjies van die Kaap. Mediese navorsing het bewys dat herhaling die sleutel tot behandeling is vir verstandlike vertraging

      Ace Ventura - 2011-06-14 17:29

      My profile het al lankal gewaai.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-14 17:42

      @gnus Just ignore Mike, he's embarrassing everyone on here.

  • Spindoc - 2011-06-14 16:05

    "Gary Boshoff is a former SARU player "..yea..he was a mediocre player at best..enough said..get somebody who actually contributes some intelligent info.

      GraemeBB - 2011-06-14 16:37

      @Spin - were you a SARU player?

  • attie.basson - 2011-06-14 16:39

    I would be very happy if SA takes RWC third time but I think top four finish is more likely. Mr De Villiers (please listen to Mr Erasmus and other assistants's suggestions) does not seem to have the game plan insight some other coaches have although he has chosen in form players where as Mr White tended to stay loyal to players who brought him the title at u20 and 21 level or whom he knew will ignore pain to deliver what he asked. Super 15 has proven what top athletes have known some time: top form comes in cycles which could probably be stretched to 8 weeks. Athletes in their prime (like the bulls warhorses were in 2007) can reach their peak in 2 cycles in short succession (like the bulls stars did in 2007) but this year only the under thirties in the bulls team will be back at top form again by September (and not test positive for doping). Classy players or "voetballers" will never drop you but NZ will be fielding a younger squad then us. With Mr Carter in form and at home I don't see them losing in a final. The older Shark and Stormer boks who peaked in the early weeks of Super Rugby 2011 will have a better chance to peak again by September. Hope the Springbok conditioning team proves me wrong. Maybe some injuries to key players during Super rugby season will also help them peak when it really counts (hope Brussow is one of them).

  • Ambiorix - 2011-06-14 16:45

    To Gary i doubt you that read the user comments under these articles cos well, this is racist-and-let's-get-personal-and-insult-immediately Central. In any event i think you should check out a blog: There are some head-to-head comparisons re some senior boks including stats, of the bulls vs stormers game. I think your comments about Aplon, Habana and co are inaccurate, take a look and see what you think. I don't mean to do a sport24 and quote you out of context but re "teams like Wales and Samoa have improved their professional structures significantly since 2007 and beating them is no longer just a formality", i don't think that even in 2007 WC the Boks thought it was a formality to be such teams. Fiji gave us a scare of note, and if you read some literature of any of the senior boks at the time (as well as the coach), they make plenty of references to not underestimating opponents, pride in the jersey etc. One thing you can be sure of, whoever is praising Div's selections at the moment are simply waiting for him to fail. To call most of this website's journo's fickle, is putting it mildly to say the least. BIG UP YOURSELF PDivvy and BOKKE FOR LIFE!!

  • adrian.bruwer - 2011-06-14 16:47

    At least the Bulls supporters are loyal to their province! Unlike some people who ramp and rave about NZ Teams, but have never even been outside SA borders... duh! Your province's players are walking around with knives in their back from your ignorance and senseless lack of loyalty. Getting back to the Bulls. Once again they're starting to perform late in the season, but I also doubt it very much they'll get past the next 2 games. It will simply take an inhumane effort to take the cup again, travelling back and forth. And if you rate them on their performance against the Stormers this weekend, think again. They were better than the Stormers, but certainly not a class act. Stormers are only getting back their key combo 9/10 this weekend. The Stormers were simply their own worst enemy, Tiaan Liebenberg (as he did against the Crusaders) simply threw away the game when he missed the tallest lock in world rugby. Tiaan, and just how tall do you need your locks to be to 'find' them?

  • Northern Stormer - 2011-06-14 17:20

    Gentleman and ladies - talk , talk, talk and once again talk (all including bias comments, insults and whatever) will not win the S15 trofee. The business end of the competition starts this Friday and yes let's all and I mean all forget the past 17 weeks. Who ever peaked when and where and who nailed who means absolutely zero now. Lets focus on the future and yes the Bulls are currently great, the Sharks and the Stormers hot and cold whenever they do not need it !!! I am a Stormers supporter for ever but it would really be nice to have 3 teams in play-offs and an all RSA final - who knows maybe, just maybe at Newlands or Loftus again and the winner there will be ultimate champion for 2011 - no one else ! Calm down and regather yourselves there is a lot of good rugby ahead - don't miss it while posting silly comments !!! STERKTE VIR BULLS,SHARKS EN STORMERS DIE WEEK !!!!!

      Die Spier - 2011-06-14 17:31

      @Northern stormer Now you talking, I'm going with you. Do you think we can get jokers like SAFFA/ WPBEFONK/gooinat to make one interesting, mildly intelligent non-bias comment though?

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-14 17:41

      @Northern Stormer and Die Spier Agreed, lets make some intelligent rugby comments. Good luck for all 3 rugby franchises, let's hope for a all SA final where, as much as I love the Stormers, the Bulls will nail whatever come in their way.

  • flat bier - 2011-06-14 17:47

    Gary Boshoff, aangesien jy so slim is vertel gou vir my: in die Stormers vs bulls game op Nuweland, gedurende die laaste sekondes....die ref het sy hand uitgesteek vir voordeel aan die stormers nadat Habana grond toe gegaan het....toe blaas hy full time....hoekom is daai voordeel nie gegee nie. Gewoonlik gee die ref die voordeel tot en met die aanvallende span 'n fout maak... Jou bulle Gary Boshoff is hoer gelukkig om te wees waar hulle is. Ek hoop in my diepste dat die banana boys julle so hard trap die naweek....ek onthou so mooi 'n ou met die naam van Tony Watson wat julle so paar jaar terug laat snik het. Sonder SA refs is die bulls vo.all!

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-14 18:07

      @flat bier Siestog, nou nie juis 'n IK reus nie is jy? Bulls is vo all?? Mey 3 Super bekers en oppad na 'n 4e? Zero bekers is baie beter ne.

      Zip23 - 2011-06-14 18:11

      eerlikwaar die mees kinderagtige post van die dag, is jy die kinderduiwel?

      flat bier - 2011-06-14 18:26

      Wat braak julle 2 mofhare... met al die balbesit wat julle ''brekers'' gehad het en om net met 3 punte te wen se en wys hoe mak julle span is. antwoord liewers my vraag. My span het meer bekers in die geskiedenis van sa rugby gewen as enige ander span, so wies nou die IK reus jou snot snuiter.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-14 19:07

      @flat bier Ek het gewag vir daai een ou pofkop. Vir 'n span wat al 115jr in die CC speel is 32 bekers redelik pateties. Die Bulle is in 1938 gestig, so gaan tel wie het die meeste CC gewen van 1938 af, Bulle of WP en dan kom rapporteer jy weer aan die baas. En sommer nog 'n los vragie. Hoeveel Vodacom bekers het die WP al ooit gewen? Hoeveel Super rugby bekers het die WP/Stormers al ooit gewen? Siestog

      Oupa Uiloe - 2011-06-14 20:05

      Pure Ja wat, met taalgebruik en stellinkies soos daai weet mens wat in jou arme koppie aangaan. Naastenby dieselfde as in jou span se trofeekas

      Brannas - 2011-06-14 21:29

      @flat bier, Is Tony Watson nie die outjie wat ULI die BOELIE sy kakebeen gebreek het en sy rugby loopbaan net daar stop gesit het nie, ons praat van dieselfde wedstryd ne'.

      Disa2011 - 2011-06-15 07:24

      @flat bier - kyk die laaste 5 sekondes voor Kaplan die eindfluitjie geblaas het. Schalk Hamburger het met die ref argumenteer.

      flat bier - 2011-06-15 07:58

      Ja disa maar wat het daar gebeur?...dis so hush hush. Mens mag mos vo.all se oor skeidsregters nie, amper so heilig soos die anc. Maar anyway.... Ou saffa, jys 'n lelike eend hoor. Die currie cup is nog net 79 kere gespeel en nie 115jaar soos jy dink nie...fine, vat die vodacom cup maar dan sal ek die Varsity cup en die club spanne ook wil bysit. Maties en Ikeys is maar moer oud so kom ons tel nou die bekers. Jy sien, Danie Cryeven was nie van Pretoria nie, Oom paul kruger was. Hoe lank terug was jy by die Voortrekker monument? Daars niks rugby balle van staal nie. Van jou 3 super bekers en druk dit in jou hol op, dis die laaste bekers wat julle wen vir die volgende 15 jaar, tensy julle die wp se skole weer kom leeg koop.

      Tolerant - 2011-06-15 11:29

      Maybe the Stormers did not have the ball in hand when the final whistle was blown? A bulls player knocked on, but the Bulls regained the ball. If there was time left a scrum would have been given to the Stormers in my opinion.

      Carl Muller - 2011-06-18 14:27

      Watter ander S A span het al ooit die beker gewen? En dit back teen back.......

  • Tiger - 2011-06-14 18:17

    Geluk aan al die Bulls supporters met julle wen die afgelope naweek. Julle het BMT gewys wat ongelukkig ontbreek het by my Stormers. Maar my span sal opstaan...sommer van hierdie naweek al.

  • BardofAvon - 2011-06-14 19:17

    Rock-solid article, Gary, thanks. Respect.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-14 23:08

      Daar's gerugte dat ek dalk die grootste peester in mense heugenis het. Ek's algemeen bekend as "Die Tril van Belville" hoewel ek eintlik van Parow is

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-15 07:13

      Nee Effel jy is die C-nt van Canada

  • Gazza69 - 2011-06-15 09:50

    Gary, did you watch the game? The Stormers played their worst game of the season and still nearly clinched the win at the death......The Bull never won the game, the Stormers lost it! Bulls won't progress to the Final.....nuff said.

      Carl Muller - 2011-06-18 14:29

      Eat your words......... after the game.......... Bulls most successful S A team. Won the Cup twice already.... In fact the Sharks won it two years ago and gave it to the Bulls in the 82nd minute... I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT DAY>>>>hehehehehe

  • Tolerant - 2011-06-15 11:23

    I hope for a change the stormers keep playing good rugby at the business end of a competition, this is what was lacking the last 10 years. Bulls are playing well, but if they slip up once, they are out while the sStormers can slip up this Saturday and still possibly win.

      Carl Muller - 2011-06-18 14:31

      Apparently you are too young to know the Bulls character... So many times they have come from the back to won a title..... From the Currie Cup to the Super Cup.....

  • Steve Carsten - 2011-06-16 04:45

    Hoe herken jy n bulls supporter....hulle cell fone is groter as hul tottie maar kleiner as hulle snorre....

      Carl Muller - 2011-06-18 14:32

      Hoe herken jy 'n Stormer..... Jy kyk na hulle Supper Cup wenne........

  • MacRight - 2011-06-17 09:44

    What is he going to say after the Sharks derail them tomorrow?

      Legend - 2011-06-17 12:33

      That will and can't happen. We is not dense. We is.

  • Warren - 2011-06-21 00:05

    Dear News 24 Why hasn't your weekend "Delete King" deleted this article on Saturday evening. I'm sure Gary Boshoff wished you did! In fact... wait a minute... yes, he does work for news 24. Why am I not surprised after such a nonsensical article??? Ha ha ha!!!

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