Bulls capable of bounce-back

2012-04-05 12:16

Cape Town - Rob Houwing, in his SA Super Rugby Week 7 preview, tips the Bulls to take out some anger on the Crusaders at Loftus.



When: Saturday, 17:05
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SA)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Sunny, mild, light breeze.

Both teams for this spicy Highveld clash currently sport a record of three wins and two losses, suggesting that while they’re certainly “contenders”, they also haven’t truly convinced just yet. The Crusaders, especially, are struggling to get into power-fifth gear – as evidenced again despite their win over the Lions. The Bulls may just be chastened enough by their narrow loss at Newlands last weekend to hit back with strong intent here before their Loftus faithful ... and back in more customary blue jerseys, too, which could be a spur of its own. Mind you, if Dan Carter has brushed off enough cobwebs, the visitors are well capable of finally producing a charm offensive, even at this venue ...

Key head-to-head:
The Crusaders have confirmed that the brilliant CARTER will resume place-kicking duties for them this week, a further signal of his progressive rehabilitation from injury and vital role in this game. Up against him will be an old foe at both Super Rugby and international level in MORNE STEYN, who produced another unusually mixed kicking bag off the tee and out of hand against the Stormers and will be seeking old levels of precision against the ‘Saders. The Bulls also weirdly opted to shun a shot or two at goal at Newlands; that may change if this is a ding-dong affair!

Recent history:
Last year, the Crusaders rather humbled the touring Bulls, unusually keeping them scoreless in a 27-0 outcome. But in 2010, the last time the men from Pretoria won the title, they did a Loftus double over these opponents, beating them 40-35 in round-robin play and then again a fortnight later 39-24 in a semi-final.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
Many pundits agreed that even in defeat by a whisker in that thunderous derby to the Stormers last Saturday, the Bulls showed enough quality at times to suggest that they can restore winning ways pretty quickly. Maybe the Crusaders aren’t ideal next opponents, considering the physical demands of Newlands, but I believe Pierre Spies and company will come out snorting. Bulls by five.



When: Saturday, 09:35 SA time
Referee: Chris Pollock (NZ)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Enclosed stadium.

On and on grind the overall- and conference-leading Stormers ... impressively in many ways, but also without yet really showing great attacking sparkle. The funny thing is that when they go abroad, they tend to find some lustre in this regard – even sometimes in relatively high-scoring defeat. But this is a tough ask: a top-of-table clash so soon after gruelling derbies against the Lions and Bulls and then the marathon travel from Cape Town. It is not beyond them, but the Highlanders are enjoying this atmospheric venue, shut out as it is from the frigid local elements, and will offer particularly staunch resistance up front. 

Key head-to-head:
There’s a quality battle in the offing at hooker, where TIAAN LIEBENBERG is starting to play his best, barnstorming rugby again to join the impressive list of candidates for Springbok duty later in the season, and the Highlanders’ ANDREW HORE is a takes-no-prisoners sort of customer himself. The former Hurricanes No 2 had a rest last weekend and, although the line-up had not been named at the time of writing, was expected to come back suitably refreshed into the front row.

Recent history:
Last year the Stormers beat these foes in relatively dour fashion 18-6 at Newlands, fairly early in their campaign. The previous meeting was also in Cape Town, in 2010, when the hosts were more emphatic in clinching it 33-0 (with a Bryan Habana bonus-point try smack on full-time). The Stormers also won the last away clash – 18-11 in 2009.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
I suggested last week that the Stormers would do enough to beat the Bulls, despite the herculean efforts required to hold off the Lions a week earlier, and was proved right. I’m afraid I see this fixture as a temporary bridge too far for Allister Coetzee’s charges, who could labour for “legs” in the second half. Highlanders by six?



When: Friday, 09:35 SA time
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZ)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Partly cloudy, mild, moderate breeze.

The Sharks have the incentive of knowing that half their overseas programme is complete, with them reasonably handily placed both in broader and SA conference terms and awaiting a rosy run of matches back in Durban pretty soon. If they beat the erratic ‘Canes here, they will really be in fine log fettle! As for the hosts, there are bound to be lingering mental scars from that astonishing surrender to the Cheetahs from a position of 32-11 supremacy, aren’t there?

Key head-to-head:
Yes, I know I had CORY JANE featured in this slot last week for the All Black right wing’s duel with the Cheetahs’ slippery Willie le Roux. But I couldn’t resist naming him again, as this time he comes up against another electric, in-form opponent in the shape of LWAZI MVOVO. The Bok flier scored a breakout ripper of a try last weekend against the Brumbies, and is the senior wing for the Sharks in many respects now, after seasoned Odwa Ndungane went home injured this week.

Recent history:
The Sharks pulled clear in a handsome second half after a 13-13 prior deadlock to prevail 40-24 in Durban last season, including two tries from the afore-mentioned Mvovo. But they will also be buoyed for the latest challenge by the knowledge that they won 29-26 away in 2010.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
They have finally given a breather to the superhuman Bismarck du Plessis, who nevertheless might offer some oomph off the bench, but the Sharks might just have enough in the tank away to leave New Plymouth with a win – especially if their defensive game doesn’t have fits of ineptitude here. Sharks by eight.


CHEETAHS v LIONS, Bloemfontein

When: Saturday, 15:00
Referee: Mark Lawrence (SA)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Partly cloudy, warm, gentle breeze.

Perhaps the best hope the struggling Lions have is that the Cheetahs succumb to complacency and/or travel fatigue after their refreshingly stellar tour of Australasia. There was also the chance that the rare, initially-scheduled “second home” of Welkom for Adriaan Strauss and company might boast a fair bit of travelling support for the visitors, as it is only a couple of hours’ drive from Joburg, but then the game was switched back to Bloemfontein at short notice. Momentum seems firmly with the Cheetahs, especially with the Lions jittery about possible “relegation” issues with only one win from five starts. 

Key head-to-head:
As I featured the Johan Goosen v Elton Jantjies flyhalf duel in this slot for the first-round encounter, I’ll desist from doing so again, however influential it may be once more. Instead, how about the scrum match-up between the Cheetahs’ rolling-barrel loosehead COENIE OOSTHUIZEN and the Lions’ No 3 PATRIC CILLIERS, who has suddenly become that franchise’s most experienced prop? How the latter holds up to the sheer bulk of Big Coenie at the set-piece could be crucial to the Lions’ hopes of go-forward ball, although expect the Free Stater to be a handful again in driving play ... ask the blown-away Hurricanes about his menace here! 

Recent history:
A good tonic for the Lions is that they edged the first-round conference encounter 27-25 on the opening weekend of the season, thanks in no small measure to a record nine penalties off the boot of Jantjies. Strangely, in each derby meeting between the two last year, the away team won, so that could be a wee applecart-toppler here!

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
When the Cheetahs get a head of steam going, they are a dangerous proposition and I don’t see them easing off the accelerator too much here. The Lions aren’t being slaughtered whenever they lose thus far, so that’s something to take heart from, but I foresee a fifth loss on the trot nevertheless. Cheetahs by 10.


  • jean.rossouwsa - 2012-04-05 13:00

    Blou Bul opskrif sou "Blue Bulls WILL bounce back". try weer~!!!!!

      Pierre - 2012-04-07 01:46

      Go the BULLS!!

  • Riaan - 2012-04-05 13:27

    I hope the ref is to the Bulls liking this time out. I couldnt stand it if they get shafted by the ref again. LOL. Shame. Stormers by 7 Bulls by 3 ( If Morne Steyn pitches up ) Sharks by 9 Cheetahs by 10

      Riaan - 2012-04-05 13:54

      @ Blueraven. I tipped the Bulls to win. Whats the problem?

      Riaan - 2012-04-05 14:29

      Good luck Saturday.

  • Saffa - 2012-04-05 14:59

    Ek sien ons Stormer ystertjies reken hulle is die beste verdedigende span in die kompetisie, ek het my weer laf gelag vir die klomp se totale wanpersepsies. Points against: Bulls: 89 Stormers: 91 Tries against: Bulls: 6 Stormers 7 En dan sommer vir die lekker, die Stormers se mos hulle score tries en die Bulls skop net: Tries for: Bulls 19 Stormers 8 Maar anyway, hulle reken ook hulle is SA se mees suksesvolle Superrugby franchise met hulle ZERO koppies.

      Riaan - 2012-04-05 15:03

      @ Saffa. Boring. Copy and pasting now? Next!!!

      Riaan - 2012-04-05 15:06

      @ BlueRaven. Aren't you also bored by fake Saffa. The day he has a original thought his head will explode. Let's hope.

      Saffa - 2012-04-05 15:08

      @Crapdetector Yes, i found out how to c&p. And want to make dead sure all the Stormers see how off they are with all the crap they believe. There are at least 4 other teams with better defence record so far

      Riaan - 2012-04-05 15:40

      Here are some more interesting stats for you from this season. Stormers played 5 won 5. Bulls played 5 won 3. If I may borrow from my buddy Bulldozer RIP. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA and so on and so forth. Your a knob!!!

      Riaan - 2012-04-05 16:01

      @ BlueRaven. Rather on yours than mine ;)

      Saffa - 2012-04-05 16:24

      @crapdetector Stick to the topic, you just like the rest of the toothless brigade. Stormers claim they have the best defence in the competition, I think the stats show otherwise, please explain

      Riaan - 2012-04-05 16:44

      @ Saffa. Come on now. The topic is if the Bulls can bounce back. You decided to insert your comments in all the articles so I think YOU should stick to the topic. God help us! Ps. on another note I want to apologize to Saffa for some of the references I made. I did not mean to attack your character. I am sure some people like you for something.

      Lion - 2012-04-05 17:16

      Crapdetector... You are BORING.....Yaaaaawn!!!! You know what... I have been sitting back this week and thought I will just read all the articles and comments thereafter, just to see if my point of view regarding Stormers supporters won't change. Guess what. It's worse now! You are so full of yourselves and you really don't have anything to brag about at this stage. There is 11 weeks of rugby left and if you knew a little about rugby you should know how much an change in a week or two, especially in Super rugby. Just like every year for the past decade or so you have won the "Cup" by game 4, just to choke in the end. You are really a sad bunch. No wonder Saffa gets into guys like you all the time. Get over yourselves and WIN a cup of some sort and then boast about how good you actually are. Maybe then people will congratulate you and take you serious. I apologize to the general Stormers supporter who has brains and who is objective. This comment is directed to the idiots that make other rugby lovers go against the Stormers who are actually a good rugby team.

      Riaan - 2012-04-05 17:42

      @Lion. If you read carefully you will see my comments were reserved for a few specific people that seem to get stuck on the same thing day in and day out. I never slagged off the Bulls team nor have I ever denied that they are the most successful super rugby team in the country. Nor have I painted all the Bulls supporters with the same brush at any stage. I say again, If people make stupid remarks why do I just have to sit here and take it. I would love if this rugby forum was actually reserved for rugby. If you look at the first posts I made today you will find it was all rugby related and only when I was provoked I reacted. As a example a person posted he would like to see how awesome the Stormers are when they finally get a fair ref insinuating that the Stormers have by some dubious means gotten all the ref's in all the games so far to favour the Stormers? WTF? Must I just take it? This spesific article is about whether the Bulls can bounce back then Saffa out of the blue comes with his defensive record post. What does this have to do with the article? Where did his post relate to the article? Today I have had a lot of friendly banter with Bulls supporters who actually comment about the topic at hand and it all ended cordially. You should maybe broaden your perception and look at both sides. Whatever dude.

      Lion - 2012-04-05 19:24

      Crappie... You started it. Let me remind you..."I hope the ref is to the Bulls liking this time out. I couldnt stand it if they get shafted by the ref again. LOL." You provoked people on here and was looking for a reaction of some sort. Knowing very well that you will get one, most likely from Saffa. Very mature just like I said in my post to you. When Saffa hit you back with some stats you whinged like a biatch. Get a life.... Oh, I am not your "dude" and I don't have perceptions. I call it as I see it. REALITY..... Cup less AGAIN this year I think!!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-06 04:49

      @crapdetector Reserved for a few specific people you reckon. I'm quoting what you said on the "Stormers prop" : Bulls supporters are the most sour bunch of conspiracy theorists I have ever seen! Go play elsewhere crap, your gray matter doesn't allow you much unfortunately

      Riaan - 2012-04-06 06:00

      @ Saffa. If you read the post carefully you would have noticed that I did make a CLEAR distinction between the conspiracy theorists and "well informed educated Bull supporters". Let me then just to put your mind at ease make a further distinction by saying the conspiracy theorist bulls supporters that post on this forum eg. Saffa claiming foul play by the ref. I hope this is to your liking. Have a nice day.

      Riaan - 2012-04-06 06:28

      @ Lion. Saffa's post was copied and pasted from the "Stormers prop" article and was not posted as a reply to the "Bulls bounce back" article. It was not even relevant to what I posted. You have a pre-conceived bias that is clouding your judgement. Look at EVERYTHING posted from BOTH sides and then make fair judgement. However this would not be possible for you as you are not impartial due to your bias. Later dude. Good luck for the Lions on Saturday.

  • Keith - 2012-04-05 18:13

    The Bulls certainly has the potential to bounce back.As South Africans we must learn to appreciate what we have despite our provinciale/franckise differences.I also want to concur with some guys on the issue of staying with the topic at hand. Lets stop with confusing issues. Can we also stop being so nasty in our comments and be more constructive.This is really our chance to assist our coaches with our inputs from the couches.

  • Chris - 2012-04-05 19:13

    Ek sukkel 'n bietjie om te verstaan waarom die Bulls so sukkel om hul eie spelers te ontwikkel. Iemand het vroeer genoem van hul wonderlike ontwikkelingstrukture en hul ongelooflike Akademie... Moet bieg - sien geen resultate. Van 'homebreed' spelers is daar weinig sprake. Weet hierdie sulkes dat hul Bull-span eintlik 'n Stormers B-span is met huurlinge van elders? Die volgende spelers (in die Bulls-squad) het of matriek in die Wes-Kaap geskryf of verlede jaar nog vir die Stormers gespeel: Lionel Cronje; JJ Engelbrecht; Johann Sadie; Francois Hougaard; Binnekort Liefling Hougaardt; Wilhelm Steenkamp; Stephan Dippenaar; Juandre Kruger; Jurgen Visser. Huurlinge: Morne Steyn; Zane Kirchner; Bjorn Basson; Willie Wepener; Daniel Odongo; Flip van der Merwe; Jano Vermaak; Francois Venter; Rossouw de Klerk;; Akona Ndungane; Jacques Potgieter. Neem kennis: Ek sluit nie enige spelers van Noordelike provinsies soos Luiperds; Pumas; Limpopo en die Valke in nie want dit is sekerlik billik om te aanvaar hulle sou Bulls word net soos spelers van die Boland wat goed genoeg is, vir die WP/Stormers sal speel. Gaan kyk gerus na waar die meerderheid Stormers hul wortels het (Google Stormers) en ploeg dan asb. met jul eie kalwers!

      arraz911t - 2012-04-05 19:39

      @Chris Jy confirm maar net wat almal gedink het. Die vraag is dan nou is die Blou Bulle n sterk unie of n RYK unie. - 2012-04-05 20:07

      Baie vars komende van n ou wie se span selfs buitelanders kontrakteer

      Chris - 2012-04-05 20:21 Jy mis my punt: Almal weet in hierdie proffessionele era sal spanne spelers koop om hul swakplekke reg te dokter, maar waaragtig...jy kan darem nie 'n hele squad elders gaan werf nie! Terloops: Na watter buitelander verwys jy?

      Jco - 2012-04-05 23:19

      Chris dankie vir die comment oor waar spelers gebore is. Ek wonder nogal waar die ouens gebore is wat hier skryf? Waar het hul groot geword? Ek dink dit is 'n bietjie kortsigtig. Ek weet van baie ouens wat in Pretoria of Thwane gebore is wat Stormers skree. Moet ons ouens nou wat in die ou Oos Kaap of Suid Oos gebore is nou vir wie support? Nee man, ons is in 'n professionele era, ouens studeer in die Kaap van uit die Vrystaat en gaan bly in New Zealand.

      Chris - 2012-04-06 05:29

      @Jco: Let wel: my inligting bo is nie gebasseer op waar hul gebore is nie, maar waar hul gematrikuleer het of verlede jaar gespeel het. Dus stem ek 100% saam met jou dat hul geboorteplek nie kan tel nie. Dit gaan hier oor waar hul as spelers ontwikkel is en vir die eerste keer regtig van kennis geneem is. Dus: 'n Grey, 'n Affies, Boishaai, Paarl Gim, Paul Roos, Shimlas, Tuks, Maties en so meer. Onthou dit is waar die manne met die vet tjekboeke rondloop en hul werfwerk doen. My punt weereens: Die Kaap is tans die voerplek vir SA Rugby! - 2012-04-06 14:56

      Ok Chris nie die jaar nie maar in verlede Chris Jack en daai vleuel Siriveti of so iets vav Fiji. Ouens soos JJ en Hougaard is as gevolg van hom nie kans gegee. Terloops Hougaard is by Bulle eers deur die range voor hy vir die Bulls gespeel het. Ek gee wel toe dat n groot hoeveelheid baie goeie spelers van die Wes Kaap kom.

  • Keith - 2012-04-05 21:03

    Chris met alle respek rugby is nou 'n beroep/werk en elkeen gaan werk waar jy die beste salaris sal kry.As 'n Stormer supporter wil ek jou maar net inlig dat ons die ouens laat gaan het.Raak nou groot en geniet die rugby ongeag wie waar speel. Van die ouens gaan aan die einde van die seisoen na die Southern Kings toe vir kontrakte. Dit is ma soos dit werk.Sterkte aan al ons franchises vir die naweek.

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