Bulls to miss Cup semis again?

2012-09-17 17:08

Cape Town - The Blue Bulls, traditionally one of the powerhouse outfits of the Currie Cup, are flirting dangerously with the rare scenario of failure to qualify for the semi-finals of the domestic competition for a second successive season.

They ended fifth last season, just out of the playoffs zone, when the tournament still comprised eight teams, and in this leaner, six-team year face the possibility of being the most significant Test union franchise to fail to make the cut again.

After completion of six of 10 weekends in the 2012 round-robin phase, the Bulls lie bottom of the standings, the fighting talk of coach Pine Pienaar and captain Dewald Potgieter ahead of the trip to giant-killing Griquas in Kimberley having failed to be matched by a rousing performance on the bare, rock-hard surface there.

The Bulls worryingly conceded another six tries in an unexpectedly clear-cut 49-34 reverse, which seems to be their Achilles heel at present as they slipped to a third loss on the trot.

Admittedly it has been a ding-dong tournament for most teams thus far, with room still for plenty of changes to the key top four berths before the initial phase winds up on the weekend starting October 12.

But suddenly memories of the vibrant 42-31 triumph over the Sharks at Loftus seem very distant after a 42-6 thrashing by arch-rivals Western Province at Newlands, and also home defeat to Highveld neighbours the Lions before the latest hiccup in Kimberley.

The Bulls have only nine points (two wins) from six matches and have plenty to do if they wish to make up enough ground to crack the semis.

Minor consolation for them this weekend is that they tackle, at Loftus, a Cheetahs side also a little dishevelled from three defeats in a row and only two points ahead of them in fifth place.

An incentive for both teams in this relatively unlikely “wooden spoon” meeting is that Pote Human’s rugged, spirited Griquas charges, presently occupying fourth place, have perhaps the toughest run-in programme of the lot - three of their four remaining games are away from their intimidating platteland headquarters.

All the other teams have at least two home fixtures still in the bank, and third-placed WP are best placed in that respect with three of their four run-in obligations in the shadow of Table Mountain.

But the Bulls’ current form - or rather lack of it - will be a worry for the Bulls hierarchy and their hard-core supporters, with pressure sure to be mounting, whether it is admitted from the boardroom or not, on Pienaar and his assistants to stabilise the ship.

Say what you like about the absence of many senior players on international duty, and a catalogue of injuries as well (the fate also of most big rival teams, mind), the Pretoria side pride themselves on being a modern talent factory and the Currie Cup is still a fair enough indicator of depth for the now significantly more important and expanded Super Rugby.

Even the staunchest of their fans are likely to be thinking: we ought to be faring better.

The four games left for the Bulls to turn their campaign around are: Cheetahs (h), Sharks (a), WP (h) and Lions (a).

The Bulls last won the Currie Cup in 2009, when their ranks still included a truck-load of seasoned Springboks including Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana (now WP), Gurthro Steenkamp and Wynand Olivier.

Although their 2012 Super Rugby season was solid enough, are they suffering something of a delayed reaction to so many departures at once at the end of last season?

This weekend’s fixtures (home teams first, all Saturday):

Western Province v Griquas, 15:00; Blue Bulls v Cheetahs, 17:05; Lions v Sharks, 19:10.


  • lablue.phoenix - 2012-09-17 17:17

    Now that's a shame.

      lean.sadie - 2012-09-17 17:24

      Very much so.

      JaredVN - 2012-09-17 17:43

      What was extremely worrisome on Saturday against the Griquas, was the complete lack of commitment on defense, not to mention an apparent lack of defensive organization. Several Griquas players ran right through the Bulls and broke multiple tackles on their way to score. If the Bulls' commitment in defense doesn't improve, they will be in the relegation play-off.

      ReneMuller.XOXO - 2012-09-17 17:50

      @Jared, the fact that we don't have a 'forward or defense' coach shows. But what on earth are these guys thinking? Going into a competition without all the relevant coaching staff? No, no, no, this nonsense cannot continue. Mr van Graan & kie must man up for this rubbish our supporters must suffer week in and week out.

      frigo.donnerweer - 2012-09-17 18:44

      Wouldnt it be nice, if they dont make the semi's...

      nick.spangenberg.52 - 2012-09-17 19:14

      so the excuse is no backroom staff....interesting that means that the guy that speaks to the media is not the coach since there is no coaching going on no wonder white had to hire an extra bus for all his support staff gone are the days where you had a coach and if lucky assistant

      dowwe.duane - 2012-09-17 19:38

      @Isak Dis nie lekker om 'n volslae alkoholis te wees nie ne! Jy die CEO van 'n company?! BWA HA HA

      lesbeen - 2012-09-17 21:40

      I would love to be happy about it... But since the Bulls and Sharks we're the only unions to vote for the Lions to remain in superrugby... I could never rejoice in either team's misery! And the thought of them making way for the Southern Queens? Is just nauseating!! Atleast if there is a promo/relegation game, the 6 current unions will not be kicked out... Wonder how SARU will manage to wriggle the Watson's into a CC spot without winning it fairly? Either just kick the bottom side out or increase the amount of teams?

      deon.meyer.752 - 2012-09-17 22:17

      Looks like their problem is they bought so many under 20 players that they don't have any senior ones.

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 04:47

      @dowwe nurse spiertjies. Ons praat nou oor 'n baie groter euwel as alkoholisme. Hier word oor die loser cupless joker pink pansies van Tswane gepraat. Gaan jy nog my vraag antwoord of is jy te skaam?

      jaco.groenewald.731 - 2012-09-18 11:59

      @isak die capie, my maat ons is ver van stukkend af, nader aan die m@er in. Ons speel nie net swak rugby nie, maar maak die domste foute denkbaar. Wat my pla is dat daar GEEN karakter in die span is nie, die dae van speel vir mekaar en speel vir die trui is ook lyk my verby. Ons roep vir n nuwe afrigter en n nuwe kaptein. Jammer CJ gaan weg, sou n goeie kappie kan wees. Maar wat die ergste van alles is.... dit lyk nie of die manne worry nie!!!!!!!!!! Blou Bul Groete Geluk aan die Lions, Sharks en Griekwas!!!!

  • ReneMuller.XOXO - 2012-09-17 17:28

    Well mr Houwing, what have you been doing (besides eating) the last couple of weeks??? That's a given! Serves them right, you want to play like palookas, you do not deserve to be in the semi's. Sorry my Bulls, but enough with this craziness already!!

  • nicolette.louw - 2012-09-17 17:41

    Ag, that would be so lovely! :p

      dowwe.duane - 2012-09-17 19:27

      Ag Nicolette, get a life u sad sack. You so bitter cuz your team is 11yr cupless?

      nicolette.louw - 2012-09-17 21:18

      Hey dowwe.duane...seems like your the bitter one for taking a stab at my team because your team is at the bottom of the log. 42-6 anyone?

      dowwe.duane - 2012-09-17 22:06

      @nicolette 11yr cupless 75-14 anyone?

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 04:51

      Ou dowwe nurse spiertjies moet nou wild ver in die geskiedenis gaan om beter te voel. En hy het dit nie eers self onthou nie, een van sy blou maatjies moes hom herinner. Dis maar 'n sad lewe, ne spiesie? Die enigste dinge wat jou die afgelope twee jaar bly gemaak het was dat 'n WP speler uit die Bokspan geskors is vir twee weke en dat 'n ander span as jou eie cupless pink jokers die WP/Stormers wen. Arme klein mannetjie.

  • ettiene.esterhuizen.7 - 2012-09-17 17:42

    Nevermind semi's my team is in danger of being relegated to the first division!!

      macziekpk - 2012-09-17 17:46

      We might be starting a rebel league with the Lions

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 04:52

      Rebels are generally good for something, though.

  • brandon.stephenson.946 - 2012-09-17 17:50

    Pine must go ! Bring P Div instead ! Seriously ...... it can't get any worse ........ can it ?

      ReneMuller.XOXO - 2012-09-17 17:53

      No need for PDivvy, Nolis Marais, Serfontein are two very capable coaches - Or at least get Pine his supporting staff (that HM took with him)

      rodney.louis.7 - 2012-09-18 08:05

      P Div will be a great coach for the Bulls . He will for sure bring back the flair !

      francois.v.eeden.3 - 2012-09-18 09:02

      oh god no

  • andre.terblanche.5 - 2012-09-17 17:51

    Ek is ook groot Bulls ondersteuner. Die Bokke of die Bulls aanvaar ek gaan die jaar nie 'n beker wen nie. So ons probeer volgende jaar weer. Dis net jammer dit werk so dat die S15 spanne nie in die CC speel nie. Met respek gese is die Lions 'n voorbeeld van die gehalte van CC.

      lean.sadie - 2012-09-17 19:27

      Hou oud is jy? Vra maar net, want lyk nie of jy ooit skool klaar gemaak het nie. En jy is glad nie n bok ondersteuner nie.

      dowwe.duane - 2012-09-17 19:31

      @lean Coming from an inbred. BWA HA

      lesbeen - 2012-09-17 21:21

      Die Lions herstel nou eers van die vlaag beserings wat hulle in die super reeks belemmer het... So dis nie die gehalte van die kompetisie alleen wat die Lions laat goed lyk nie, dis ook die feit dat ons ou staakmakers terug is en hulle meer kontinuiteit het! Die Haaie en WP speel steeds goeie rugby?

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 04:54

      Julle kan nie volgende jaar alreeds weer probeer nie. Julle moet eers volgende jaar die 1st division wen om weer in die CC te kan deelneem en dan kan julle eers weer probeer.

  • charlvdb - 2012-09-17 18:12

    They are pretty bad nowadays, not surprised.

  • dowwe.duane - 2012-09-17 19:26

    Dis die Bulls se 3de span wat speel, die eerste 2 is in die Bokgroepie. Totaal afgewaterde CC diejaar

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 04:55

      Ou dowwe nurse spiertjies try alweer met die verskonings. Face it nurse, jou span is pateties. Selfs die pink losers in die Bok span is besig om die Bok span af te trek. Hoeveel bekers op Moftus nou weer?

  • gary.hendrickse.5 - 2012-09-17 19:39

    May well be the Bulls 2nd team but its still a very good team, on paper at least. Again, it gets down to coaching and game plan. I do not accept that any player at this level has not got character, skills and passion. Its about creating an environment where players can execute their inherent rugby skills. Its not about the coach seeking celebrity status. By the way, hats off to Griquas and Pote - pulled a bunch of third-stringers together into winners.

  • - 2012-09-17 22:52

    Wys ook net dat die spelers nie in Pine as afrigter glo nie. Daar is ander spanne met veel minder bekende name as die Bulle, maar hul speel baie beter as n eenheid en met trots. Die Bulle se bestuur is nou soos HM met Morne..hulle hoop hy doen beter en vind sy ritme met die tweede been van die reeks. Pine is n volslae mislukking. En andre.terblanche jy moet bly wees dat die Super 15 spelers van al die unies nie kan speel nie, want kan jy jou indink wat veral die Haaie en WP met ons span sou doen? Duane jy is reg, dit is die Bulle se 3de span. Die helfte van die eerste span het hul naam krater gemaak in die Bokspan, en die ander helfte rus of met n rooi kaart. So wie sou jy dan nou nog in die span wou sit? Kyk vir n slag na feite ook.

      dowwe.duane - 2012-09-18 02:11

      @ivan Hoekom support jy nie maar die WP van nou af nie, jy't absoluut niks goeds te se oor die Bulle nie. So f@#$ of

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 04:57

      @dowwe nurse spiertjies. Hierdie is nie die Bulls se fanclub nie, so as mens niks goed oor die Bulls kan se nie, dan is dit maar reg so - daar is niks gfoeds om oor hulle te se nie. As jy in jou pink droomwereld wil lewe waar almal onder die illusie verkeer dat die pansies 'n goeie span is gaan dan na hierdie website: bluebullrugby@bottomofthelog.cry - 2012-09-18 07:25

      Dowwe.duane...ek ondersteun WP. Ek ondersteun ook Griekwas, Cheetahs, Haaie, en enige ander span. Want dowwe.duane, ek is eerstens n sportmens, dan n Bok ondersteuner, en dan n Bul ondersteuner. Dink jy mens moet kritiek weerhou net omdat jou span pateties afgerig word? In daai Bulle span is regtig talentvolle spelers, MAAR hulle word verkeerd aangewend en bestuur, wat afrigting insluit. Hulle koop en koop spelers, maar wie van hulle het nog iets beteken by die Ligbloues? Ons hoor elke keer van die sogenaamde Blou Bul Maatskappy se strukture wat goed is...waar is al die klubspelers en Varsity ouens wat so goed speel? Hoekom word gekoop? Daaroor kan ek n hele debat voer. Eks baie erg oor my Bulle, maar mens moet met realiteit en oopkop kyk na alles.

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 07:49

      @ivan. Baie goed gese. En dis 'n probleem in die hele SA Rugby. Waarom dink jy WP is Currie Beker loos nou al vir hoeveel jaar? Die spelers is daar. Kyk na al die kwaliteit spelers wat uit die WP gekom het, maar wanneer dit by bestuur kom val die hele ding plat. Daar is te veel ouens wat politiek speel in die gange van die verskillende unies en nie die spelers en spanne se belange op die hart dra nie.

  • chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 04:48

    "fighting talk from Pienaar and Potgieter, before the trip to Kimberley". That is so typical bulls mentality. Very windgat before the game, but not delivering anything. Their supporters are the same.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-09-18 05:28

    Relegate them to the Currie cup A section they suck!!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!! Bwahahahahaha LIONS!!!!

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2012-09-18 06:30

      At least you can expect the Kings to fare much better. They deserve to swap places with the Pink Pansies in the CC, unlike their undeserved promotion to the S15.

  • francois.v.eeden.3 - 2012-09-18 09:01

    it's a joke...but he (PP) will be shown the door after the currie cup no doubt...

  • craig.wright.5059 - 2012-09-18 09:34


  • Corne Cunningham - 2012-09-18 10:52

    im not blinded of the troubles the bulls are facing and the under achieving, but judging by these comments you would swear there is only 2 bulls supporters here.. so lets make that 3.. I AM A BLUE BULL 4 LIFE, always have and always will BE!!!!

  • Eddie.Minora - 2012-09-18 15:29

    o yes they are!, bottom of the log team, playing in no Currie Cup next year, hahahaha!!

  • anton.vonvielig - 2012-09-18 16:04

    toe die wp supporters die snert lees van houwie toe staan daai totties soos tent pale regop. shame, wil so graag die bulle uit die pad he maar hulle vergeet dat hulle ou spannetjie n' klomp vuilgat chokers is. en hierdie rob ou laat my dink aan n' handicapped forrest gump.

      hoffjw - 2012-09-18 22:08

      soos jou paal regop staan vir steve hofmeyer....TSK

  • hoffjw - 2012-09-18 22:04

    really who still care if they dont make it.....3yrs and counting.............TSK

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