Bulls should bank full house

2012-05-03 15:12

Cape Town - Rob Houwing, in his South African Super Rugby Week 11 preview, backs the Bulls to begin their overseas leg with a bonus-point win in Melbourne.


REBELS v BULLS, Melbourne

When: Friday, 11:40 SA time
Referee: Andrew Lees (Aus)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

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

This is the first time the “new-look” Bulls are touring abroad, of course, but at least they have been afforded what might be termed a dream start, as the modest Rebels await their first visit to Melbourne’s AAMI Park. To put it bluntly, an upset reverse here would be a near-disaster for the Bulls, leaving them potentially vulnerable in all three appreciably tougher, remaining fixtures in Australasia. But the Cheetahs have already shown the way in this city, winning 33-26 in a thriller a few weeks ago, and the Rebels only have wins over the Blues and Force to show for their troubles in eight outings thus far. The Bulls are on a three-game winning roll and really ought to stretch it to four.

Key head-to-head:
The versatile, ever-slippery Wallaby KURTLEY BEALE, who has had a stop-start kind of season through injury, is at No 10 for the Rebels (over-rated, over-hyped Danny Cipriani’s suddenly flown the coop) and probably represents the best hope of the underdogs doing some damage at the Bulls’ end of the park. He’s up against the visitors’ points machine MORNE STEYN in a duel likely to be keenly watched by Bok coach Heyneke Meyer as the England Tests draw much closer ...

Recent history:
Last year, when these teams met for the very first time at Loftus in mid-May, the Bulls had little trouble coming out on top 47-10. They ran in seven tries, three of them going the way of inside centre Wynand Olivier.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
This may well not be as one-sided as last season’s encounter in Pretoria, but the Bulls do enter it fresh off a bye and with front-five bruisers like Flip van der Merwe and Dean Greyling fit again. It may take some time for the floodgates to open, but I fancy the Bulls to complete a four-try job in the final quarter after a gradual softening-up process. Bulls by 12.



When: Saturday, 17:05
Referee: Steve Walsh (Aus)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Cloudy, mild, chance of rain, light breeze.

It’s now or never for the Sharks: lose another one at this point and it is almost certainly safe to say they will play out the rest of the campaign as also-rans. Having crashed to the Chiefs in Durban a fortnight ago – a game they might have won with a bit more gumption -- they simply cannot afford another home loss, even if they would just about remain “mathematically” in the picture if they also come a cropper at the hands of the Highlanders. Although the New Zealanders will be in good mental fettle after their remarkable escape act in Bloemfontein, you will see below that their modern record against the Sharks isn’t marvellous ... something in the erratic hosts’ favour?

Key head-to-head:
The Highlanders were a bit tardy in naming their side for the Shark Tank, but I expected them to station that tireless marauder ADAM THOMSON at blindside flank ... which puts him in an intriguing match-up with dynamic Sharks No 7 MARCELL COETZEE, who starts in a home loose trio (also comprising Messrs Botes and Daniel) certainly notable for its pace and mobility.

Recent history:
In 2011 these teams avoided each other, but a year earlier the Sharks snapped a horrible five-game losing streak from the very start of the campaign by winning 30-16 away. They can also boast victory in the last Durban meeting – 23-15 in 2009 – and have, in fact, not lost to these foes since 2005 when they suffered a home 43-7 embarrassment in a season where they ended last.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
I bravely tipped the Sharks to see off the Chiefs, and many people thought I was nuts. I guess they’ll feel justified in retaining that view now, though there were spells at advanced stages in that game when a Sharks win looked highly likely! After much teetering on this one, I’m going with Keegan Daniel’s men again, for my sins, in a nail-biter. Sharks to do it by two.


CHEETAHS v FORCE, Bloemfontein

When: Saturday, 19:10
Referee: Stuart Berry (SA)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Clear skies, mild, gentle breeze.

It’s pointless dwelling obsessively on poor Sias Ebersohn’s bang-in-front late penalty gremlin in the gut-wrenching loss to the Highlanders. But the fact remains that it was the game in which the Cheetahs probably surrendered any hopes of challenging cheekily for a playoffs berth. They may well be simply playing for pride henceforth -- though they’ve done that quite impressively towards the end of previous campaigns. Under the circumstances we may see a fairly loose, high-scoring duel with the innocuous Force, who come off a fairly resounding home loss to the Stormers.

Key head-to-head:
Not much need for head-scratching over this one: I think it’s safe to say the big match-up is between the foremost fetchers in South Africa and Australia. Yes, HEINRICH BRUSSOW encounters Force skipper DAVID POCOCK down where you get the fingernails really dirty! It’s a resumption of a World Cup 2011 quarter-final tussle that sadly couldn’t develop because of Brussow’s game-ending injury in the 20th minute. Let hostilities resume ... 

Recent history:
There was no 2011 meeting, but in 2010 the Cheetahs scored a comfortable 29-14 victory, also in Bloemfontein. It broke a four-year duck, the Western Australians having edged all prior matches since their introduction to Super Rugby in 2006.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
South Africans always wanting to see the enterprising Cheetahs do well will be hoping they take out some “anger” constructively on the visitors from Perth, considering what happened against the Highlanders after they’d done so many hard yards towards a triumph. I am fairly confident they will see them off at home ... Cheetahs by nine?


CHIEFS v LIONS, Pukekohe

When: Saturday, 09:35
Referee: Ian Smith (Aus)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Partly cloudy, cool, light breeze.

Having seasoned props JC Janse van Rensburg and CJ van der Linde ready to ease their way back into the mix is some consolation for the Lions at a time when otherwise there isn’t too much of that around! They embark on their overseas tour still deep in the basement mire (especially as far as the SA conference is concerned), and not having won for what seems an eternity. Can “tour spirit” come to their partial rescue, a la last year? It’s unlikely to kick in first-up against the log-leading Chiefs, who are happy to schedule this game at the relative backwater venue of the Bayer Growers Stadium in Pukekohe. The Chiefs are sure to target this as an easy-pickings game for a bonus point, perhaps even before the interval! It’s time for the Lions to recapture a semblance of self-respect, at the very least.

Key head-to-head:
Will a start for raw, 22-year-old ROSS CRONJE at scrumhalf give the Lions a turbo-boost they could so do with? The blond dynamo has looked energetic off the bench and deserves this start-out opportunity, but he’s up against a steely old campaigner in the Chiefs’ All Black-capped BRENDON LEONARD, who will no doubt use all his wiles to try to unsettle him. 

Recent history:
Last season this encounter took place in the Big Smoke and it was a close one: the Chiefs edged it 34-30 in mid-campaign and had to hold off a concerted late charge by the hosts. The previous year was also a Jo’burg affair ... that almost absurd 72-65 ping-pong also won by the Waitako outfit.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
Sadly the Lions’ season thus far suggests that it is simply a matter of: hmm, how much will they lose by? Even with a gutsy, resilient showing, I can’t see the visitors succumbing by anything less than 20 points.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • Stormkaap - 2012-05-03 15:34

    Well we all know and agree that SA's flagship franchise, the mighty Bulls, will win their 4th cup this year. 4 more than the Stormers

      Tokolos - 2012-05-03 15:45

      I agree Stormkaap. No stopping the brilliance of the Bulls now!

      jack.oosthuysen - 2012-05-03 15:48

      You know what will be great. To attend the final of the s15 in company with Isak, Saffas Sttormkaap, Tokolosh Rene Jan Johan and some other die hard supporters commenting here. Problem is will everybody watch the Bulls play the Crusaders.

      Lionel - 2012-05-03 15:53

      Isak,dus daai valse box van Kanada wat Saffa se profile gesteel,hy het nou Stormkaap sn gesteel!!

      Stormkaap - 2012-05-03 16:26

      @Lionel Moenie vir die mense jok nie man, dis nie mooi nie. Dis nou so goes jy se die Stormers is SA se mees suksesvolle span in die geskiedenis van Super rugby. Dis miskien baie snaaks, maar nie waar nie

      Stormkaap - 2012-05-03 16:26

      @Isak Ek weet dit maak seer Sakkie, maar ek kan nie enige iemand sien wat die Bulls gaan klop nie. Hulle bly maar net briljant

      Tokolos - 2012-05-03 16:39

      Sakkie & Lionel... Julle sien. Een van julle regulars het darem verstand gekry. Stormkaap het convert na Bulls toe!!!

      pieter.thefuture - 2012-05-03 16:59

      @fake stormkaap - Niemand kan die bulle klop nie? Hoe kort is jou geheue - Stormers het hulle geklop, en selfs die Blues wat heel onder op die punteleer is het hulle geklop, sommer daar by loftus.

      marko.miladinovic.52 - 2012-05-03 21:07

      My hemel Pietie, die swak STOMMIS het teen die Crusaders verloor en boonop gelukkig om teen die Bulle, Leeus en Sharks te wen. Maar wees gerus die tweede ronte kom en raai wat nig twee wedstryde teen die Cheetahs.

  • Tokolos - 2012-05-03 15:41

    What else do you expect from a Super side? Tokolos thinks Rob is a bit modest. Tokolos reckon the Bulls by at least 20 points and that vital 5 log points in the bag to rise to the top of the log where they belong. They will do it in style as well very very elegantly in pink! There is absolutely no stopping the Mighty Bulls!!! 4th Cup on the way (as well as Conference Cup) Greetings from the Republic of PRETORIA... Da Kingdom of Da Bull!

      Raymond - 2012-05-03 17:14

      voelmyhoring jou aap

      Tokolos - 2012-05-03 17:39

      Raymond... Met 'n van soos joune sou ek stil gebly het ou perd. Moenie jou skewe streke hier openbaar nie. Regte manne support die Bulls! Alles is nie verlore nie. (Al wat verlore is... is 'n beker vir die Stormpies). Vir jou is daar dalk nog hulp.

  • Jacobus - 2012-05-03 15:43

    gan maar sukkel gaan, go rebbelssssssssssssssssssssssssssss, make my weekend , rebelsssssssssss

      BlouMasjien - 2012-05-03 15:57

      Jammer jacobus, jy gaan n slegte naweek he^(soos die laaste 10 jaar)

      Tokolos - 2012-05-03 16:01

      Jacobus.... Jy gaan 'n bad res van jou lewe hê ou perd

      BlouMasjien - 2012-05-03 16:14

      Jacobus, die stormpies sal n trofee moet invoer as hulle iets in die trofeekas wil he^ amper soos "mail order brides" miskien moet jy hulle help?

      marko.miladinovic.52 - 2012-05-03 20:48

      Ja, hulle het twee seisoene terug met n moerse cheque book probeer om n trofee te koop en dit het nie gewerk nie. Al wat werk is vasbyt en jou junior stelsels reg hou. Van 1996 tot 2002 het die Bulle dit gedoen. N paar laaste plekke in S12 maar ons het aan gegaan, en raai wat? Ons het bo uit gekom. Ons is weer besig om te bou en raai wat? Ons sal weet bo uit kom. Geniet!!! Klom suurgatte.

  • shawn.esterhuizen - 2012-05-03 15:52

    Kurtley beale gaan soos n piesang skil deur die bulle hardloop haha rebels by 8 hier begin die swakste toer deur n sa span.

      BlouMasjien - 2012-05-03 16:00

      @shawn,Kurtley gaan net soos die stormpies op n piesangskil gly!

      Tokolos - 2012-05-03 16:01

      Spies gaan daai ding se kop van sy lyf afhaal man!!!

      Jacobus - 2012-05-03 16:06

      ek stem, gaan daai blou ape mak hardloop, go rebelsssssssssssssssssss

      Tokolos - 2012-05-03 16:42

      Stormkaap... Onthou dat ons nie dieselfde een gebruik nie asseblief tog!

      Blouvitrioel - 2012-05-03 18:13

      Daai girl kom van Kazakstan af. Bul groete.

      marko.miladinovic.52 - 2012-05-03 20:38

      Nee manne Jacobus en sy gabba Shauwn onderssteun die Aussie spanne, so hulle mail order brides is skaape. Ha ha twee simpel narre pleeg owerspel met skaape. Maar eers weer op n erinstige noot. Kan jacobus verduidelik wat n ape is. Droom seker maar van sy SKAAPE!

  • Bootman - 2012-05-03 17:09

    The Bulls cant get a full house because they have two queens. Spies and Olivier.

      Tokolos - 2012-05-03 17:42

      And you will be cheering when they run out for the Boks! Spies WILL be your captain!

      Bergelmir - 2012-05-03 18:45

      Spies? Daai ou wat elke keer teruggeduik word?

      Blouvitrioel - 2012-05-03 18:59

      Spies is die ou wat minder tackles as Peter Grant gemis het sover. Bul groete.

      Albert - 2012-05-03 19:43

      @Bergelmir, nee, Spies is daai ou wat meer steroids as al die super 15 spanne saam gebruik. Haal die was uit sy ore, en sy kop implode met n bang!

      marko.miladinovic.52 - 2012-05-03 20:21

      Snaaks hoe baie Spies en Olivier baie van julle STOMMIS so pla. As hulle so swak is hoekom maak julle die hele tyd so bohaai. Die selde ou verveelige storie dag in en dag uit. Amper so verveelig soos julle span. Maar gelukkig weet meeste van ons hoekom.

      marko.miladinovic.52 - 2012-05-04 06:24

      Ja ou Jan, daar se jy dit toe self ha ha ha. Jy kan maar ky ek het dit nog nooit op die blog gese nie. Toe gaan se jy dit sommer van self, gaan suip liewer nog van daai suur wyn daar in jou ou Assynland.

  • Johan - 2012-05-03 19:38

    @Isak - Jy behoort nou al teen hierdie tyd te weet dit is nou weer aandagsoekende "Fake Saffa" wat homself voordoen as "Stormkaap"...te bang om sy identiteit hier bekend te maak!

      Stormkaap - 2012-05-04 05:30

      @Johan Al bietjie gepoefies en piepie vandag en almal alweer vertel?

  • Ken - 2012-05-03 19:42

    There's a whole lot of low life bulls supporters on the forum again, which is a pity because surely not all bull supporters are like them? ........or am I wrong?

      Blouvitrioel - 2012-05-03 20:50

      Shame, geen Super rugby vir jou spannetjie volgende jaar nie. Bul groete.

      Priester - 2012-05-04 07:54

      @Ken, 10 out of 10 for your logical and thoroughly thought-out statement. The article is about the Bulls consequently there should be a lot of Bulls on the forum you idiot. Wat maak jy hier? Blou Bul Groete!

      bloedisblou - 2012-05-04 09:56

      kyk in die spieel dan sien jy n' lowlife you tandlose aap. waar is "simpel saffa" vandag, het haar baas haar gestuur om fish en chips te gaan koop vir die workshop mechanics?

  • Shaun - 2012-05-04 11:47

    Go Bulls, make SA proud! With the great standard of rugby from the youngsters in our teams, especially the Stormers, I think the bokke can take the next WC in 2015! If we do that I will not care who wins the next 4 super 15 trophies. Johan Goosen is going to be world class and I'm really bleak he got injured. Stormers groete

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