Bulls cash in on Reds’ woes?

2012-03-20 10:44

Cape Town – Whilst it could be fatal for them to suddenly believe they have an easy task on their hands, the Bulls have a wonderful opportunity to cash in on the backline chaos currently being experienced by Super Rugby champions the Reds.

These teams meet at Loftus on Saturday (17:05), in a keenly-awaited match-up between the 2011 winners and the hosts, who earned the title in both of the two years before that.

Tuesday’s news that ace left wing Digby Ioane has been suspended for five weeks for a dangerous tackle on the Sharks’ Marcell Coetzee last weekend comes at the worst possible time for the Queenslanders, who are under pressure to grab a win from their South African leg after frittering away a 17-0 lead to lose 27-22 in Durban.

It leaves a team who pride themselves in their ball-in-hand fluidity at sixes and sevens behind the scrum, where they are currently left for the Pretoria clash with only inspirational scrumhalf Will Genia of the trio of “X-factor specialists” who masterminded their maiden trophy success last year – slippery flyhalf Quade Cooper is a long-term casualty recovering from a cruciate ligament injury, and Ioane’s suspension adds to the woe.

In addition, capable No 10 contenders for Loftus in Ben Lucas and Mike Harris have both flown home after suffering hamstring injuries in the rain-lashed defeat to the Sharks.

Wallabies flyer Ioane had just begun to rediscover his best form in the new season against John Plumtree’s charges: Jim Tucker of The Courier-Mail in Brisbane rightly noted that “until that point (the tip-tackle on Coetzee) Ioane had played his best and most involved spell of the season”.

Some consolation for the Reds is that Genia looked pretty close to lethal every time he touched the ball in Durban, and his personal battle with Springbok livewire Francois Hougaard (back after his own short ban for a dangerous tackle of his own) could be a game-swayer on Saturday.

But with the Bulls showing an encouragingly clean bill of health after their bye weekend, it would seem they have a golden opportunity to exploit the Reds’ unenviable staffing disorder and claim their first win over these opponents in three clashes.

They did win the last Highveld meeting, 33-20 in 2009 when the Bulls went on to claim the trophy.

But since then the Reds have won twice on the trot in Brisbane: 19-12 in 2010 and 39-30 last season.

The last-named game was deceptive in that the Reds would have ensured more daylight had Cooper’s place-kicking matched the near-customary excellence of Morne Steyn that day – the home team ran in six tries to three.

But twinkle-toed Cooper was hugely influential in all other facets, so his absence this time would have come as a relief to the Bulls even before latest developments surrounding Ioane.

 You would imagine that even if Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is reluctant to say so, he will know deep down that the Reds have lost a fair bit of their “sting” with Ioane and others now joining Cooper on the sidelines ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • Rene - 2012-03-20 10:48

    and I'm sure they will 'cash in'. Go my beloved Bulls, make your supporters proud! A weekend without the Bulls playing sucks big time. Go Bulls!!!!!!!

      Penny - 2012-03-20 10:59

      Isak you sound like a bitter and twisted Province supporter. You'll be shouting Proooooooooovince even if you lost the other half of your brain. Says a lot about Western Province supporters....

      Lionel - 2012-03-20 11:14

      @Rene,not much to do in Pretoria over weekends??Dont you support SA sides???

      Hanjo - 2012-03-20 11:34

      Isak, as a Stormers supporter myself, I sincerely hope the people reading your comments don't associate all Stormers supporter with the lunatic that you clearly are.

      hvanderlinde - 2012-03-20 11:49

      Penny: Moet asb nie al die Stormers ondersteuners onder dieselfde kam skeer nie. And what Hanjo said

      Rene - 2012-03-20 12:47

      @Lionel, plenty to do my friend, in fact so much I actually missed the Sharks and the Stormers game last weekend!! However when my beloved Bulls play, I plan around that 90 minutes of fun!! But gathering the amount of time you spend on the blogs, maybe you should ask yourself that question regarding your own life!

      Lion - 2012-03-20 12:53

      ISAK!!! Dis alweer jy. Ek het gesê... SHUT UP!!!

      Lionel - 2012-03-20 13:34

      @Rene,you will find me from Monday to Friday from around 07h30-16h00 when I am at work on this blog,weekends and after hours not at all, I have a life!!!!!

      Bames - 2012-03-20 13:48

      Rene, Lionel lieg, he doesnt have a job.

      Rene - 2012-03-20 15:06

      @Lionel, No Wi-Fi, no laptop????

      Lionel - 2012-03-20 15:13

      Better things to do over weekends,wonderful beaches,wine farms,the list goes on.........

      Jack - 2012-03-20 21:05

      @Isak - as a fellow Stormers fan, I'm cheering for the Bulls this weekend because the Reds are a bigger threat to our title hopes. The Bulls don't pose much threat this year and it would be awesome to see the former title holders leaving our shores after a very dismal tour...can't believe I'm saying this, but go Bulls!!!

  • Lionel - 2012-03-20 10:58

    To most Bulls supporters out there,I will and always will support a local team against an overseas team unless it effects my beloved Stormers in the play offs etc but I will LMAO if you lose Saturday!!!!

      Penny - 2012-03-20 11:01

      At least your attitude is better than this 'Isak' baffoon.

      Lionel - 2012-03-20 11:10

      Raven,a loss to this very depleted Reds side would be better and two losses in a row for the Bulls would go down fairly well:):):)Go Cheetahs,Go Stormers,Go Sharks,Go Bulls/Reds(only because of some of there supporters heheehe)

      Penny - 2012-03-20 11:14

      No but I know how to spell the word. It's - I S A K

      Saffa - 2012-03-20 11:16

      @Raven - it wasn't Morne's fault the captain, Spies didn't change the 'rules of engagement and gameplan' after the first 30 up and unders didn't work......

      Saffa - 2012-03-20 11:17

      and PSSSSSSS: the Bulls should slaughter this depleted/down and out Reds team....they really should - anything less would be (dare I mention it) hysterical.

      Saffa - 2012-03-20 11:45

      lol @Raven. Itchy scratchy again? lol. So according to you, the Bulls won't lose another game this season - because Morne won't have another off day with the boot ever again (and here is silly old me thinking rugby is a team sport......) So the Bulls play one man rugby and not 10 man rugby as I always thought. Anyhoooooooooooooow, have a good one - and enjoy the holiday.

      Lion - 2012-03-20 13:00

      @Saffa. The same goes for you. If the Stormers cannot win the "depleted" Lions this weekend the same goes for you my dear. You'd better find a whole to stick your head into if this don't happen! GO LIONS... GO BULLS

  • Melt - 2012-03-20 11:25

    Strongs to the Cheetas, Bulles and Stormers. Sorry Lions you are playing against my team. It will be great if the Bulls and Cheetas beat the no 1 and 2 teams in the Super 15. To all the guys supporting the overseas teams, come on it's like your younger brother loosing a fight against the nabours son??? For every lost the SA teams should take revence the next weekend. Stormers, Sharks and Cheetas did it last weekend ......revenged the Bulls lost to the Blues. Go boys make SA proud of you.

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