Vodacom Super 14

Can the Bulls be stopped?

2009-05-28 17:06
Recovered Wynand Olivier
Pretoria - It’s all systems go for Saturday’s Super 14 final between the Bulls and the Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld. The battle between the top two teams of 2009 gets underway at 17h30.

Two of the tournament’s stand-out performers, Bulls inside centre Wynand Olivier and Chiefs outside centre Richard Kahui have been declared fit and will make a welcome return to action.

Olivier, who missed last week’s semi-final with a hip injury, replaces Marius Delport in the Pretoria side’s starting XV and partners Jaco Pretorius in midfield.

Kahui, meanwhile, returns after a calf injury with versatile back Dwayne Sweeney moving from midfield to the left wing in place of the injured Sitiveni Sivivatu.

The Bulls will be confident at home after last week’s solid semi-final performance against the Crusaders.

Another encouraging factor will be their form against New Zealand teams during the 2009 competition. The Bulls have won four out of their six matches against New Zealand teams this season with three of these wins at home.

The two losses were league fixtures against the Crusaders in Christchurch in early April and the Highlanders.

The Chiefs meanwhile have had three wins out of five against South African teams during 2009, two of which were in South Africa against the Stormers and the Cheetahs. They also beat the Lions in Hamilton. They lost to the Sharks at home too.

The Bulls have won their last five matches in a row, a sequence which ironically began with their 33-27 win over the Chiefs at Loftus on April 25. That defeat was also the Chiefs’ last and they have put together an unbeaten run of four matches going into Saturday’s final.

With two teams in good form and clearly peaking at the right time the final could go either way. But the way both have played their rugby this season should make for an exciting and entertaining contest with the hosts starting as slight favourites.

The Bulls will be looking for a second title in three seasons and the Chiefs are chasing their first-ever title and there is everything to play for.

Loose forward Liam Messam will play his 50th game for the Chiefs in the final.


Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner; 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Jaco Pretorius , 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana; 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez; 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Derick Kuün, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp. Reserves: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Heini Adams, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Marius Delport

Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina (capt), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui , 12 Callum Bruce, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Toby Morland, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Kevin O'Neill, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 James McGougan, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Sona Taumalolo. Reserves: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Joe Savage, 18 Toby Lynn, 19 Serge Lilo, 20 David Bason, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Sosene Anesi.


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