Bulls: No panic button - yet

2011-04-12 09:26

Brenden Nel - SuperSport

Johannesburg - Don’t expect the Vodacom Bulls to be pressing any panic buttons this week, even though they were unable to score a single point against the Crusaders this past weekend in one of their worst performances in Super Rugby this millennium.

The defending champions may be in crisis mode at the moment, but they certainly won’t be letting it on to anyone outside the camp. There is no doubt that they would also have been shell-shocked by their own performance in Timaru this weekend, but the harsh reality is that bar one or two cases, there are little alternatives for them to try out.

To change course midstream would be suicide, and the Bulls will continue to bank on the same Springbok stars that have brought them success in the past few seasons. The big question though will be how to get certain players back into form.

There is no question that while they may be core players in the Springbok squad, the form of players like Wynand Olivier, Pierre Spies, Fourie du Preez, captain Victor Matfield, Morne Steyn and Bakkies Botha is a massive concern at the moment.

While young players like Werner Kruger, Dean Greyling, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann and Flip van der Merwe play their hearts out every week, there has been little support from the senior players in the squad.

Handling is an issue, composure – normally a Bulls trademark – is also missing and to put this just down to a simple few bad weeks would be to understate the problem at the moment. While the Bulls denied there was a problem when they lost two on the trot at home, if the Crusaders result doesn’t jolt them, then nothing will.

You can understand Frans Ludeke’s reluctance to change mid-stream. Like Allister Coetzee with Bryan Habana, the coach believes in his players, having seen them take the game to new heights, but the reality of the situation has to sink in at some point.

The Bulls have been written off before, and every time they have stood up and shown their critics that they are wrong in every way. But this time, in their biggest challenge in years, it will come down to the senior players to show the leadership skills they have, and pick up the tour and move forward.

Their match against the high-flying Reds is no redemption. After five wins on the trot the Reds have the momentum, and despite a hectic travel schedule back from South Africa, they must be red hot favourites at Suncorp Stadium – a place where the Bulls have never won in their history.

It must be remembered too that the Bulls came to Brisbane in a much more confident mood last year on their way to the title, lost 19-12 and looked poor against a Quade Cooper-inspired home side. Ludeke at least is admitting it was not good enough.

“We've learnt through previous years that we cannot give any excuses for our performance. We aren't happy and we know that it was not good enough. But we are looking forward to our next game against the Reds,” an optimistic Ludeke said from Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold coast.

“We made too many mistakes. We had a straight talk after the game and we know that we have a standard to keep up. It is still early days to go for the option of making changes.”

“I believe in the players I have and we still believe in each other so the win will come. A tour is never easy, that's the way the game goes. We must keep our heads up”

The Bulls know the mammoth task facing them now – not only against the Reds but against the wave of criticism they have received from South Africa.

Many back home are already saying they’ve past their sell-by date and that taking these stars to the World Cup would be suicide.

There is only one way to answer these critics – on the field.

Form is a merciless master, but somehow these Bulls need to find it, and find it fast.


  • mummford - 2011-04-12 09:32

    You right, no panic button rather just pull the plug-its over, bye bye Bulls, bye bye S15 ,bye bye Bulls i think im a gonna cry, bye bye bulls good bye.

      Marx - 2011-04-12 09:44

      Wishful thinking.....we will be back!!!!

      gooinat - 2011-04-12 09:48

      Plug not only needs to be pulled on the Bulls season but on some of the Bulls players as well,they are over the hill and its costing them,schoolboys can catch and hold onto a rugby ball bettter than them.

      gooinat - 2011-04-12 10:03

      @Marx,next season ja,once you guys clear out some of those oldtimers!!!!!

      JohnnyBB - 2011-04-12 10:35

      ....and bye-bye Stormers... .....again.... always....

      Marx - 2011-04-12 11:58

      Christine.....There's a huge difference between any Sportsmen running onto a sporting field and saying thanks for the abilty and the chance to be there, and you implying the rubbish you just uttered, grow up.........

      lafras59 - 2011-04-12 17:53

      Hey mate,what the hell is your problem? Your mouth is way too big for a snotkop behind his cheap laptop.Go and do your homework before your mum finds out you're playing around on her cheap laptop.Before you start enjoying the Bulls' lack of form,maybe your own pathetic team must try and win something for a change.How long has it been,Mummmmmmforrrrd, 10, 11 years. Wow, little wonder your smelly mouth is so big. You're a pathetic little boy.

  • Kaapie - 2011-04-12 09:37

    With the Stormers its Habana,, withe the Bulls its Victor, Spies, WO, Stegman, Pretorious etc....

      JohnnyBB - 2011-04-12 10:38

      ...and Baby Aplon... slow-joe Vermeulen, ... illegal scrummer Blaauw, ...overrated Flo Louw, ...and Fat Boy Januarie....

      JohnnyBB - 2011-04-12 10:38

      ...and Baby Aplon... slow-joe Vermeulen, ... illegal scrummer Blaauw, ...overrated Flo Louw, ...and Fat Boy Januarie....

      mummford - 2011-04-12 11:12

      Yes Poop String

  • Marx - 2011-04-12 09:37

    True, it's still early days, The Sharks have also lost 3, in a row!! I believe in this Bulls side, which soon will silence the Hyenas' down South who are praying week in and out that the Bulls will that they might just have a small chance of achieving something!!

      mummford - 2011-04-12 10:10 late for your granpa's to come back.

  • Willie - 2011-04-12 09:38

    Mense ek verstaan julle speel seker nie net rugby vir die geld nie, ek kan dit op julle gesigte gesien het na die game teen die Crusaders julle was gebroke, kyk maar ek onthou die dae toe die Bulle die hele Suid Afrika trots gemaak het, toe die Bulle die Crusaders getrap het en wie kan daardie Super 14 Final vergeet dit was soos n krieket score, Ek onthou die dae wat die Bulle voories oor die ander gedryf het en die skrums was ons kos, ek onthou die dae wat die agterlyn geloop het soos n goed geoliede masjien, manne speel vir jou nasie se trots vergeet die punte, vergeet jouself, dink aan jou nasie en dink aan jou span maats, gebruik mekaar se talente.

      Orca - 2011-04-12 10:19

      Die bulle is in hule moer in.

      JohnnyBB - 2011-04-12 10:39

      ....die Stormers ook.....

      JohnnyBB - 2011-04-12 10:40

      ....die Stormers ook.....

      JohnnyBB - 2011-04-12 10:44

      ....van die Bulle se Senior spelers, is net in die span vir 'n "easy ride"... .....hulle weet hulle sal nie gedrop word nie... ...Soos Matfield, Olivier, Fourie ..en Spies...

      Kaballas - 2011-04-12 11:22

      Willie, moet my asseblief nie insluit by die laeklas gepeupel wie die Bulle kwansuis trots sou maak nie...

  • Marius Swart - 2011-04-12 09:42

    Saterdag was hard vir almal wat die bulle ondersteun.Dit is nou waar ons agter die span moet staan en hoop Frans Ludeke kry die span weer in die regte rigting.Om nou hierdie span af te skryf sal die grootste fout wees wat ander spanne kan maak.Dit is egter dalk tyd om een of twee van ons springbokke van die bank af te laat speel en sodoende die jong manne kans te gee.Daar is niks so goed in die lewe as jy "gedrop" word uit n' span.Dit maak jou weer nederig en lus vir rugby speel.Sterkte bulle vir saterdag ons sal agter julle bly staan.

      GraemeBB - 2011-04-12 10:47

      @Marius - ek hoor wat jy se, maar dit is okk tyd dat die Bulle vir ons opstaan. Ek het nie my rug op hulle gedraai nie, maar ek wil nie meer verskonings hoor nie. Hulle MOET die "pressure voel! Ons weet hulle kan baie better speel. Ek kan sien hulle is negatief, en dit is n groot deel van die probleem. Die tyd is nou - hulle moet begin speel - vir ouens soos ons, wat week in en uit agter hulle staan.

      Marius Swart - 2011-04-12 12:29

      @GraemeBB.Ek sien daar is darrem in ander berig veranderinge gemaak.Hoop maar dit help.Rugby is snaakse ding.Seisoen moet saterdag omgedraai word.Ek bly in die kaap so ek sal dit baie geniet as die bulle die span kan wen wat die stormers op hul tuisveld gewen het of hoe.Nou gaan die stormers seker weer baie te se he.

  • haha - 2011-04-12 09:50

    I think Ludeke is also part of the problem.

      gooinat - 2011-04-12 09:54

      He"s gameplan is outdated!!!

      JohnnyBB - 2011-04-12 10:40

      ...bring back Heyneke Meyer...!!!!!!

  • Sofa King. - 2011-04-12 10:14

    Still in denial. Good luck.

      watalife - 2011-04-12 10:46

      that a complete under statement, big heads from all the steroids. bulls...suck

      Lloyd - 2011-04-12 11:17

      No Superrugby cups.

  • Bosduif - 2011-04-12 10:44

    That big fat zero kinda summed up everything for me.

      ZOLLIEZAP - 2011-04-12 12:45

      praat jy van die zero cups oor 10 jaar?

  • Effel - 2011-04-13 02:33

    Bosduif, Bootman, Saffa kan julle asb begin groepies van drie-drie maak, ek wil nie loop en soek na julle as ek julle kom bl!ksem nie. WAAR VAL JULLE UIT MAN????? Julle mag NIKS se op 'n blog of enige snot kwytraak voor julle nie ten minste 1 d@nnerse beker gewen het nie man. Julle is nie eers deel van die d@nnerse storie nie. Gaan weg man

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