Heyneke’s derby nightmare

2012-04-02 12:14

Cape Town – The follow-up Super Rugby derby between the Bulls and Stormers at Loftus on June 2 looms ever more greatly now as a date from hell for new Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

These two franchises continue to be the pace-setters in the SA conference, despite the Bulls’ desperately narrow loss to their southern rivals at Newlands on Saturday.

The match was played with all the intensity and passion of a Test -- and that very fact may well have secretly worried Meyer the most as he soaked it in, while keeping a beady eye on his maiden task over three consecutive Saturdays as Bok series mastermind against England from June 9.

Certainly revenge will be firmly on the minds of the Bulls team and supporters after running the ongoing leaders in the conference – and overall – so close on enemy terrain.

There seems absolutely no chance, if the prospect ever feasibly existed anyway, of either team wishing to give an inch in selection or “attitude” terms for the crunch encounter in Pretoria on the first Saturday in June.

Both teams have shown enough over the first six weeks of the 2012 competition to suggest that they will be strong play-offs contenders, but the traditional derby factor itself will ensure that they go at each other with guns blazing all over again even if one or both unexpectedly drops off the title-challenging radar in the interim.

Factor in the Stormers playing the Sharks away in another bruising all-SA duel just a week ahead of the Loftus rematch, and Bok contenders from the Cape, in particular, could be said to be virtually playing five Tests in as many weeks without a break if they crack the nod for all three showdowns with England.

The Test window period has already been controversial anyway, given that it didn’t include a break weekend in its lead-up despite coming after as many as 15 weeks of Super Rugby bump and grind.

For all the perfect-world talk of desired “co-operation” between the Bok management and the various Super Rugby coaches, it remains desperately hard to envisage people like Allister Coetzee, Frans Ludeke or John Plumtree being either willing or able to rest any of their brightest stars in the week or two preceding the England visit (featuring respective Tests in Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth).

Perhaps Meyer’s best hope – and it speaks for itself that he will want to open his Bok account in impressive fashion – is that the Boks do enough to get ahead 2-0 in the Test series and then he could play some slightly peripheral cards in a PE dead-rubber affair: certain of his troops are likely to be close to dead on their feet by then.

Whilst squad depth is increasingly going to be tested, and reserve options deployed, in this longest-ever Super Rugby season, thus far few teams across the three SANZAR zones have been inclined to “sit out” key customers to any noticeable degree.

The Sharks, for instance, know the priceless value of having ever-robust and dynamic Bismarck du Plessis on the park as much as possible; ditto the Bulls for someone like Morne Steyn or the Stormers for an Andries Bekker.

Meyer has rightly spoken of his insistence on pride in the Bok jersey being an automatic spur, but even he will know deep down that he is going to be preparing some knackered troops, to a good extent, for battle against England.

He may have to box clever in selection terms, even as he contemplates the strong logic in wanting to choose the best possible names for the task.

These are the Super Rugby fixtures (home teams first) for all South African sides in the fortnight immediately ahead of the England Tests:

Friday May 25: Chiefs v Bulls

Saturday May 26: Force v Lions, Cheetahs v Waratahs, Sharks v Stormers

Saturday June 2: Lions v Sharks, Bulls v Stormers (bye: Cheetahs)

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • Sbuda - 2012-04-02 12:35

    Given the past weekend's display, I think it's kinda misleading (or even cheap promotion/marketing) to single out the Bulls and Stormers derby. The Sharks have put great performances on tour and were their own worst enemies in the first match against the Waratahs. The Cheetahs my, my, oh my! What a gutsy performance on Saturday. And if the clashes of the Bulls vs Sharks, when the meet late in the season with both teams desperate for points or gunning for a spot in the CC final, are anything to go by them Meyer should be worried about local derbies period!!!! He'll be lucky to have a full strength squad on any given Saturday.

      Chris - 2012-04-02 13:12

      Took the words right out of my mouth. It would be crazy to write off the Cheetahs and Sharks, they've played the majority of their games away so far... let's wait and see how the Bulls and Stormers fare away from home.

  • Blou-Daan - 2012-04-02 12:41

    Ek het die ding gesien kom. Toe ek in Februarie die nuwe rooster so kyk toe sien ek die Bulle en Stormers speel een week voor die eerste toets. Toe weet ek, hier kom n ding...!!!!

      Lionel - 2012-04-02 12:48

      Hoop net nie daar gaan beseerings wees nie!!!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 13:05

      Wel @Daan. Gelukkig gaan daar bitter min van die huidige Bulls en Stormers spelers in Heyneke se Bok span wees......Hy gaan Du Preez, Bakkies, Jaque F, Danie R, Gurthro ens ens ens, gebruik (soos klaar gese is - en ek like dit NIKS NIKS NIKS om eerlik te wees) - so ons jong spelers kan maar die lewende k#k uit mekaar slaan op die 2de Junie.......Hougie, Etsebeth, Kolisi ens gaan nie vir die Bokke speel.......

  • Francois - 2012-04-02 13:04

    AS EK NA DIE 2 SPANNE KYK IS DIT JAMMER ONS KAN NIE PROEWE SPEEL TEEN MENEER MEYER SE BLOU BOKKE OM TE SIEN HOE GOED IS HULLE RERIG -----------------------------------------15. Lambie 14. JP Peterson 13. J Fourie 12. F Steyn 11 B Basson 10 J Goosen 9 F du Preez (k) 8 W Alberts 7 J Smith 6 H Brussow 5. A. Bekker 4 B. Botha 3 J du Plessis 2. B du Plessis 1. C Oosthuizen Reserwes 16. Brits 17. Mtawarira 18. Burger. 17. Engelbrecht 18. EN 15. Taute 14. Aplon 13 de Jongh 12. de Villiers 11. Mvovo 10. Jantjies 9 Pretorius . 8 Vermeulen 7 Johnson 6. Strauss 5. Mostert. 4 Etzebeth 3. Cilliers 2. Strauss 1. Kitshoff Reserves 16. Liebenberg 17. Sykes 18. Nel 19 Kolisi

      Colin - 2012-04-02 13:17

      alhoewel ek nie saam stem met al jou keuses en kombinasies nie, maak jy een ding baie duidlik met jou 2de span....: ons het vrek baie jong tallent! en dis n goeie ding. Indien Meyer toegelaat word om die span te kies soos hy wil, kan ons oor 2 jaar n YSTER span he wat jonk, en ervare is!!!!

  • Neutedop - 2012-04-02 13:43

    With the lame-ass team the Pommies send here, the Lions can win the first test, the Cheetahs can finish it off the second, and the SA under 21's can play the final test (only one that should be a contest).

  • Facts - 2012-04-02 13:44

    @Saffa. Hierdie keer stem ek heeltemal saam met jou. Ons het so baie jong briljante spelers. Hoekom gebruik Heyneke nie die geleentheid om 'n top Springbokspan vir 2015 te bou nie. Nou neuk hy terug na spelers wat niks by 2015 gaan beteken nie. Selfs met net ons jong spelers nou sal ons enige internasionale span alreeds 'n helse go gee. Ek sien PDV se mentaliteit leef voort.

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 13:51

      @Frans - ek is die ander Saffa - die original. Die ou met wie jy so baklei, is die fake Saffa van Canada wat my profile in die aande fake vir een of ander rede. Al my opinies is die teenoorgestelde van dai ou s'n.....Ek is 'n Stormer....en hy is 'n marshmallow easter egg Bull.....pwetty in pink.

      Lionel - 2012-04-02 14:06

      Saffa,surprised that you have not received any hate mail,death threats

      Japjapjap - 2012-04-02 14:18

      @facts- moet haar ni glo ni!! sy is di real fake saffa!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 14:43

      Oh I am sure they will be forthcoming...................I see Gogo Rene and a few others really lost the plot on Saturday night in the aftermath :) Hehehehehehehehe, I wish I had copied and pasted all their war talk last week....would have been classic to post some of the better ones here today :)

      Lionel - 2012-04-02 15:06

      What amazes me is the fact that last week every so called Bulls fan was on here,this week,now the Bulls lost,only one or two!!!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 15:12

      Yes @Lionel - where are those chaps? Very fickle......

      Lionel - 2012-04-02 16:04

      Not talking about you Raven,your buddies,if we lost, this forum would have been crawling with them....not die hard supporters at all!!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 16:34

      @Maestro - reading the tantrum sheets from Saturday night had me in fits this morning. Nothing like a harsh dose of reality to put a 'massive' win over the Reds into some sort of perspective. Watching the Force wallop the Reds on Saturday, I wondered if certain folk in Tswane weren't starting to feel a little iffy - about 7 minutes into that game.

  • Dewald - 2012-04-02 14:22

    Aseblief, rus tog vir Morne dat ons kan better speel!

  • Saffa - 2012-04-02 14:50

    @Lionel - I wonder who the Bulls "bumblebee" was for the game? Chilli deserved it for sure.....The 'Ant'? The 'Bison' - so many hard to pick winners.

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 15:14

      Yup @Raven - everyone is a winner (it takes the sting out of losing I spose...if everyone in the team gets a little certificate, packet of Niknaks and a bottle of Jannie verjaar koeldrank in the kleedkamers afterwards)

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 16:05

      @Raven - but this doesn't seem fair? You chaps spent the whole of last week heralding the demise of the Stormers at the hands of the BRUTAL Bulls........and it didn't happen, so I'm not sure what type of reaction you chaps were expecting from us? Hehehehehhe.

      Lionel - 2012-04-02 16:18

      Saffa,maybe they expected us to feel sorry or apologise for beating them:):)

      Lionel - 2012-04-02 16:36

      Dream on, Raven:):):)

  • heather.moller1 - 2012-04-02 15:27

    The Stormers could have won with a bigger margin but when they went onto the field they didn't know what to do to the "Pink" Bulls players, must they play rugby or must they make love to the ladies in pink?

  • Clifton - 2012-04-03 10:17

    hope no injuries. at least all the players on form if selected will be match fit in inform for england. what a nice predicament to be in . select the form players than there will be no problems.

  • Keith - 2012-04-03 12:42

    Nightmares like this comes with the territory. Heynecke I know you as a strategist so you'll have enough quality players to alternate for the three tests against England. England will only be strong in their pack nothing to worry about in their backline.

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