Bulls: Easy ride out of peril?

2012-10-09 15:52

Cape Town - Defending champions the Golden Lions are likely to be the most “chilled” outfit on a closing weekend of Currie Cup round-robin activity which will otherwise be mostly tension-filled for the remaining five teams.

That is because, unless Griquas manage to upset a Springboks-infused Sharks side in Durban on Friday night, Johan Ackermann’s charges will enter their Highveld derby clash with the Blue Bulls in Johannesburg the next evening knowing that second place on the log is their assured finish, regardless of what happens at Coca-Cola Park.

Should the admirably tenacious but not exactly star-laden visitors from Kimberley pull it off at Mr Price Kings Park, the Lions will suddenly have something significant to play for - the opportunity to seize top spot from the Sharks and potentially set up a second successive home final should they make it past the semis.

But don’t count on it: Griquas tend to be at their giant-killing best when playing a few stones’ throws from the Big Hole and have only won once away from home this season.

So if the Lions, as expected, have little at stake on Saturday, it ought to only aid the Bulls’ quest to win and move off the dreaded bottom spot on the table.

Coach Ackermann has already hinted that he may do some “rotation” if the game becomes a largely meaningless exercise for them.

Less affected by Bok call-ups than most other sides, the Lions have fielded reasonably settled combinations for the bulk of the Currie Cup campaign and been plugging away solidly for nine weeks, so any opportunity to give a break - or only partial game involvement? - to core players like JC Janse van Rensburg and Franco van der Merwe should be gratefully grabbed.

Whether he decides to rest regular first-teamers or not the Lions may, consciously or subconsciously, lack fullest urgency against the Bulls, which plays nicely into the hands of opponents with not only the opportunity to avoid a promotion/relegation scrap but also climb enough places by winning to sneak a semi.

The likeliest scenarios for the three matches are as follows:

Sharks v Griquas, Durban, Friday 19:10:

Sharks win, and clinch top place, with four-try bonus point not even necessary. Griquas probably end fifth (no semi but, importantly, also no need for promotion/relegation matches against EP Kings.

WP v Cheetahs, Cape Town, Saturday 17:05:

Especially boosted by returning Boks, Province prove too strong for Free Staters and condemn them, in turn, to probable finish in sixth and spectre of having to meet Kings.

Lions v Blue Bulls, Johannesburg, 19:10:

Significantly stiffened by Boks to give them more of a “Super Rugby” look once more, Bulls see off opponents who have little and stake and one eye on home semi a week later. If all three results pan out as suggested, Sharks host Bulls in one semi-final; Lions entertain WP in the other.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • jaco.groenewald.731 - 2012-10-09 15:58

    Gaan die Lions ons nou help om in die kompetiesie te bly?

      liesure.larry - 2012-10-09 16:35

      No they going to help the Bulls to win the CC... who ever wrote this article must be totally mad... Lions will play for a win as they already sufferd against the Griekwas...

      goyougoodthing - 2012-10-09 16:54

      The Lions would do well to remember who voted for them with regards to the S15 next year. ONLY the Sharks. Give no quarter to the Bulls' escape from the bottom.

      nico.pretorius.946 - 2012-10-09 17:17

      @goyougoodthing, actually, it was the Sharks AND Bulls that voted for us, WP and Cheetahs is the two that voted against us. So will be awesome if any one of the two loose their CC status next year. GO LIONS!!! Keep the cup in JHB :)

      jacobus.rautenbach - 2012-10-09 19:50

      go lionssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-10-09 22:37

      En weereens het die Bulls nodig om ander spanne te support om in die semi's te kom.

      luke.watskots - 2012-10-10 09:09

      Thank you WP for Voting for US the MIGHTY KINGS ARE COMING!!!!!!!

  • Eddie.Minora - 2012-10-09 16:04

    bottom of the log and staying there, 2013 BB Looooossers!! maak maar reg vir 'n uitspeelwedstryd teen die Kings.

      jaco.groenewald.731 - 2012-10-09 16:15

      Dit sal hartseer wees as WP daai een moet verloor!!!!

      Priesterb - 2012-10-09 16:20

      MMMMMM Eddie, once a Bull always a Bull!! Even if they play a relegation match and loose I will support them. Blou Bul Groete van 'n mede Mosselbaaier!

      jan.parraman - 2012-10-09 16:25

      Shame Kaptein, maar moeilik om die realiteite raak te sien. Hoop maar vir jou part Sharks wen anders mag jy dalk 1ste divisie kyk. Groete daar in Tswane

      jaco.groenewald.731 - 2012-10-09 16:29

      Well said Priester!!!

      jan.parraman - 2012-10-09 16:45

      Jy weet dit beteken Griekwas, Vrystaat en Bulle moet wen. Maar in jou wereld is enigeiets seker moontlik

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-10-09 22:40

      Ou dowwe nurse het 'n intense vrees vir die WP. Ek dink daai vrees het moontlik bygedra tot sy opname in Riverview.

      kaptein.spies - 2012-10-10 03:21

      @chrissie Absolute angswekkende vrees se ek jou, veral as ek so na hul rekord kyk die laaste dekade

  • pieter.brown1 - 2012-10-09 16:08

    Hoekom le die Bulle onder die Cheetahs op die log maar het meer wenne en hoekom tel punte verskil meer as wenne ?? wie kan help !!

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-09 16:37

      Dis seker omdat Bulle se punteverskil swakker is.

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-10-09 22:46

      Pieter ek kan ook maar net spekuleer, maar ek dink omdat die span reeds punte kry vir wenne, is die volgende kriteria nie wenne nie, maar punteverskil. Dalk om nog vinniger, "meer aanskoulike" rugby te promote.

  • trevor.jooste - 2012-10-09 16:44

    Ja they need to get rid of that pine jell boy pienaar fast and somer Fran's too

  • werner.n86 - 2012-10-09 17:20

    The bulls must remeber what happend last year when the boks came back. They still lost. Ask the sharks the lions will win again this year. The bulls will be out. that is a bigger joke then the kings in super rugby. The bull must just get it in there heads they wil not win a currie cup with pine pienaar. Worst coach ever I think. Lions 4 life.

  • robert.reeve.7564 - 2012-10-09 18:29

    "What's new pussy-cat." We've all got contaminated Bokke crawling home.

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-10-09 22:48

      Hopefully the respective unions' kicking coaches got to the Bok kickers quick enough to remedy some of what Louis Skoen damaged.

  • michael.verreynne - 2012-10-10 00:03

    No match is ever easy. Not even that one. Even the Soweto test did not mean much, but it wasn't easy for both sides. Good luck Bulls! Give it your all! Also good luck to the other teams in the other matches!

  • chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-10-10 04:43

    I am so glad to see the Bulls supporters are all so overconfident. I just hope the team is overconfident as well. Keep underestimating the Lions. I like that.

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