Why Bulls have Durban edge

2012-07-06 08:16

Cape Town - Rob Houwing, in his South African Super Rugby Round 17 preview, believes the Bulls have the continuity to pip the Sharks in their own den on Friday.



When: Friday, 19:10
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SA)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:

Clear skies, mild, light breeze.

What is it about these teams and end-of-campaign “eliminators”? This game comes in the second-last round so there are still some interesting permutations ahead, regardless of who wins here -- but the result ought to be massively influential to both team’s onward prospects in 2012, nevertheless. Last season at Loftus, when the Sharks edged a thriller, it was in the very final round and dumped the Bulls out of the finals series. Two factors possibly count against a Sharks win: the absence of Willem Alberts in the engine room and Pat Lambie behind it, and the fact that rustiness is a possibility – they had a bye last weekend so couldn’t climb straight back on the Super Rugby bike after the Test window. That said, if the derby factor can’t pump them up, nothing will! 

Key head-to-head:
When these teams met in that decisive match in Pretoria at the end of last year’s ordinary season, FREDDIE MICHALAK’s flair and unpredictability on the day (those last three words always a consideration with the Frenchman!) played a key role in the Sharks nipping into the playoffs at the expense of their opponents. If he delivers to that calibre once more, the Sharks will feel less gloomy about Lambie’s untimely absence from the backline. But Springbok MORNE STEYN is probably feeling a bit better in the Bulls’ flyhalf channel after an improved showing in the mostly ruthless disposal of the Cheetahs at Loftus and, in his slightly different way, will be a big factor if the visiting pack gets a head of steam.

Recent history:
In the first round of the 2012 campaign, the Sharks visited Loftus and were downed 18-13, Steyn greedily bagging all the home team’s points via his trusty right boot. But the Sharks boss overall Super Rugby meetings between the two 10-7, and hold a 5-3 advantage at Mr Price Kings Park. The last meeting there in 2011, mind, was clinched by the visitors 32-23.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
Judge the Bulls’ current form, I feel, on their sweeping into a 40-0 lead against the Cheetahs, not their concession of 24 points late on! I suspect that the non-presence of big Willem Alberts will rob the Sharks of valuable “go forward” in what ought to be another bone-crunching SA derby; they’ve also had some second-row disruption so gifted young Pieter-Steph du Toit faces a taxing start against the Bulls’ Bok pairing of Flip van der Merwe and Juandre Kruger. It’s a tricky pick, this one, but a gut feel says that not even the incumbent Test front row for the Sharks will be quite enough to keep the Bulls out – the visitors by three points, perhaps?



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

Long-range weather forecast:
Chance of rain, gentle breeze.

The Stormers will be well aware that any visit to the Free State Stadium in Super Rugby is a potential banana-peel affair ... the Cheetahs are just that sort of side, and have been for many years. Coach Allister Coetzee insists his charges will not be too distracted by what happens in the log-influencing earlier (both Friday) games between the Chiefs and Crusaders and Sharks and Bulls, but let’s just say the visitors are sure to be especially “up for it” if the pace-setting Chiefs have been taken down a notch at Waikato Stadium. Perhaps it’s foolhardy to suggest Naka Drotske’s charges have “momentum” simply because they scored 24 unanswered points after the horse had nastily bolted on them in Pretoria? 

Key head-to-head:
Considering their sometimes glaring woes in this department against the Lions, the conference-leading Stormers having STEVEN KITSHOFF back at loosehead prop after a very necessary break is a comfort of note at scrum-time. Mind you, we have to remember that the nuggety redhead is also still learning the trade, and there is no guarantee he is going to simply pitch up and dominate the Cheetahs’ back-in-favour No 3 WP NEL, doubtless chuffed to crash over the chalk twice in the rearguard action at Loftus last weekend. He also has a reasonably low centre of gravity so scrummaging monitors ought to enjoy this duel.

Recent history:
The unusual (for these sides) mass punch-up was probably the most “exciting” aspect when the teams met in the Newlands fixture back on May 12 ... for the record, the Stormers edged a true bore-fest 16-14. The visitors will be heartened by what happened in the corresponding Bloemfontein fixture last season: it was also played late in the campaign and the Stormers prevailed 44-34. Why, they even got a four-try bonus point ...

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
Don’t discount the upset! But all things considered, the Stormers – at least fielding a full-strength backline despite their ongoing injury woes at loose forward – ought to be smart enough to get over the line even if rare, possible mid-winter rain at the rock-hard venue acts as some kind of leveller. Stormers by seven.


LIONS v REBELS, Johannesburg

When: Saturday, 17:05
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Arg)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Sunny, cool, gentle breeze.

Now here’s an unlikely candidate for “main feature” of the South African weekend! But yes, the low-lying Lions and Rebels have the honour of last domestic kick-off of the round at Coca-Cola Park. It could be a decent battle, actually, with the 12th-placed Rebels three rungs higher on the overall table than the basement Lions, but the latter’s Highveld home advantage surely a factor. Josh Strauss and company, spirited at Newlands last time out, also have the incentive of victory perhaps lifting them off bottom spot, and the absence of Messrs Beale and O’Connor in the touring party robs the Rebels of much of their limited sting.

Key head-to-head:
The Rebels, just a little irritatingly, had not named their side at the time of writing, so any influential one-on-one comparison could not safely be made. Psst, does it matter a whole heap anyway?

Recent history:
These teams skirted each other last season, the Rebels’ first in the competition, so a maiden clash awaits us.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
Perhaps we saw enough from the now Mitchell-less Lions, who came much closer to a seismic upset against the Stormers last week than some may realise, to suggest that they just about deserve the mantle of favourites here. With little at stake, it may be ding-dong and high-scoring. Hmm, Lions to nail it by five?

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-06 08:19

    Not to sure about the Bulls game Rob,Sharks know this is their make or break game. Good luck to all the teams. Go Stormers

      jason.children - 2012-07-06 08:30

      Morning Boet! That Sharks Bulls game is a tough one to call! But Steyn and Whitehead at centre and the Springbok front row plus home ground advantage meant an edge for the Sharks on my Superbru! The saders chiefs coming on now.............its Rugga time. Stormers 4 life!

      bloudaan.blou - 2012-07-06 08:31

      @Lionel More my maat. Hou daai Bulle dop vanaand, dit gaan nie maklik wees nie maar hulle gaan die game deurtrek op die einde. Ek het ook net n gevoel die Cheetahs gaan ons almal veras more aand :-) En dis net my opinie wat soms baie verkeerd kan wees :-)

      lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-06 08:37

      Morning Jason,would prefer to be at home on the couch watching the games with this weather thats about to hit us.Saders to beat the Chiefs More Daan,daai game vanaand is soos n final,Sharks moet wen om nog lewendig in die toernooi te wees en die Bulle wil n tuis playoff game he.Ek dink die Sharks met 3 punte:):) Stormers /Cheetahs game gaan ook n rille wees,as die Cheetahs soos die tweede helfte laasweek kan speel gaan ons probleme he maar ek dink Stormers by 6 punte:):) Sterkte vir jou span vanaand

      jason.children - 2012-07-06 08:43

      Ja boet! Thank god for my Walka. This weather that is coming is going to be for the ducks!! Cheetahs dont have Coenie in the scrum! And their backline wont be able to compete against the Stormers! Im not too worried. Last week the Bulls took their foot off the peddle and thats why the Cheetahs came back! Stormers by at least 10!

      jono.qmann - 2012-07-06 08:43

      Die bulle maak vroeg verskonings jong! lol ***SFL***

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-06 08:58

      Daan, it won't be a surprize to me if the Cheetahs hammer them hilbillies.

      jono.qmann - 2012-07-06 09:40

      Harry you must be nervouse for tonight! were is your alter ego Charlie and his 2 cents?

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-06 09:45

      Jono, I'm always nervous when we play the Sharks. Charlie is somewhere in the vicinity.

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-06 14:07

      It's gonna be a Thriller.... I'm here Jono. You missed me?

      maarten.slabbert.7 - 2012-07-06 21:02

      Well, so much for that. Well done Sharks. Very well done indeed.

      mario.borchards - 2012-07-06 21:05


  • bloudaan.blou - 2012-07-06 08:23

    Bulls by 10 Cheetahs by 5 Lions by 5

      hvanderlinde - 2012-07-06 08:33

      Jou Superbru gaan maar bra swak lyk na die naweek blou

      jed.vonallemann - 2012-07-06 08:43

      Sharks by 10 Stormers by 5 Lions by 15

      lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-06 08:46

      Nou praat jy vallem:):):)

      sharksfever.sharks - 2012-07-06 08:55

      Sharks by 5 Stormers by 8 Lions by 3

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-06 08:59

      Vallem, any news on Bieber's tour yet?

      johann.mouton.92 - 2012-07-06 11:31

      Nee Daan man, dis mos heeltemal tevroeg vir die brandewyn, op hierdie trant gaan jy mos vanaand se game mis......haha... dit gaan 'n grote wees.. mag die beste span wen. Ek dink nie dicheetas gan more die pyp rook nie...maar snaakse dinge gebeur in rugby..wie weet miskien druk die stormers nog vier driee. GO STORMERS!!!!!!!!!!!

      jacques.l.roux.3 - 2012-07-06 15:58

      HM se twee uitverkorenes gaan 'n snooze fest wees. Bulls se kick,charge en spring, Kick charge en spring (Spies trek jou rok op) vs die Sharks se lost the ball in contact, knock the ball, wheres the ball rugby. Game eindig 3-3 nadat Morne Steyn sy dyspier rek van al die up en unders en Dean KKK perongeluk die ball oordrop na die ref se advantage op die Sharks se knock. Sharks 3 punte converted by the one and only krullebol Lambie.

      anwar.addinall - 2012-07-06 21:00

      Bulls by 10?????? Kyk weer.............hahahahahaha

      Provence - 2012-07-08 09:34

      Liefde van die blouste kaap.

  • hercules.erasmus.1 - 2012-07-06 08:40

    Not to long ago the Bulls also had the edge on a injury stucked Stormers teams. We all know what happened. This game is make or brake for both teams.

  • maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-07-06 08:42

    Sterkte aan al die spanne ! Go Bulle !

  • eddy.deepfield - 2012-07-06 08:51

    Wishful thinking, that's all. Dream on. Sharks will slaughter Bulls and turn them into biltong.

      bloudaan.blou - 2012-07-06 09:01

      @Eddy Sorry my friend, I think the Shaks will be "Fish paste" tonight.

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-07-06 09:21

      Sushi Buffet !

      david.s.duncan.1 - 2012-07-06 16:17

      Hope you're right Eddy, but this is going to be a tight game. Depends on which Sharks side comes out tonight. Go Sharks!!

      anwar.addinall - 2012-07-06 21:01

      Who's the idiot??? hahahaha

      david.s.duncan.1 - 2012-07-06 21:03

      Good call Eddy. Well done Sharks!!!

  • sharksfever.sharks - 2012-07-06 08:58

    Impossible to make a call. You wouldn't put money on this game. But for my sake I hope the Sharks can pull it off. We have a bit of an edge on the Bulls in Super Rugby but they hold the trophies so again its to tough to call. Good luck to both teams. I will be on a plane back to Jnb from els so I can\t even watch the live game. That's a first but now what can one do.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-06 09:03

      We've actually beaten you more often than not in Durban over the last few years. That being said, it's gonna be tough. Good luck.

      hugh.olphart - 2012-07-06 12:29

      Dunno Sharksy, we tend to fail when it matters. We can take the bulls, but im not so sure that Plum Bundy is the man for the job anymore, and the bulls are looking strong. Keeping my money in the pockets for this one.

      wesley.g.mercer - 2012-07-06 15:47

      Not true did you not read the article harold

      henk.jacobs.39 - 2012-07-06 17:32

      Harold is correct wesley. Rob is smoking some "lagtwak". The total games are 17. Bulls win=9, Sharks win=7, Draw=1. 8 games were played in Durbs of which the Bulls won 5 and the Sharks 3. Makes you think...

  • bulla.loftus - 2012-07-06 10:26

    Hierdie game gaan definitief voor gewen word. Die span wat n goeie platvorm daar le sal die dag as wenner seevier. Die sharks se voorry beter hoop dat hulle slotte hard agter hul skrum, hulle het nie vir Etsebeth en Kruger agter hulle die naweek nie... Gaan n baie close game wees. Bulle met 5

      lindy.leroux - 2012-07-06 15:17

      Hulle het ook nie toe vorige SR games daai 2 agter hulle gehad nie, en hulle het uitstekend gedoen, en almal onderskat vir Steph du Toit, die mannetjie kan speel, en wat nie in ag geneem word nie is dat hy ook eintlik n no 7 flank is, so gaan ook n paar meter met die bal wen! Sharks met 6 " J "

  • orrinf8 - 2012-07-06 10:44


      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-06 14:09

      Orrinf.. did you read the article. Bulls vs Sharks... Not the Bergies vs the cheetas...

      henk.jacobs.39 - 2012-07-06 14:50

      You know what will make this very interesting Charlie? Everyone's talking about the Bulls going for a home playoff game. If the Bulls win tonight and the Bergies lose tomorrow it's more like a home semi for the Bulls and the "arme ou" Bergies fighting for a home playoff!

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-06 14:56

      Shhht Henk we don't want to make them stress... It will be funny as though...

      orrinf8 - 2012-07-06 15:24

      fake herald, do YOURSELF a favour, and read the (WHOLE) article, again .. your illiteracy is not my problem .. PULL YOURSELF, TOWARDS YOURSELF ! SSSTTTOOORRRMMMEEERRRSSS, JOU LEKKER DING !!!

      John - 2012-07-06 23:02

      Seems like the "Bergies" are in the playoffs...better luck next year, pink cows!

  • mack.myburgh - 2012-07-06 13:40

    I am a huge Bulls fan ............but the Sharks are ALWAYS dangerous ,even more so in DURBAN ! I'll be happy with a 1 point win ! Its gonna be a cracker !

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-06 14:10

      Mack have to agree with you.. They like to old EP in '80 you never know when they will fire on all cilinders...

      george.lubbe.58 - 2012-07-06 21:05

      happiness is??????

  • jono.qmann - 2012-07-06 20:55


      anwar.addinall - 2012-07-06 21:02


      george.lubbe.58 - 2012-07-06 21:04


      lean.sadie - 2012-07-06 21:06

      They have the edge hey rob? Lol Lol

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-06 21:10

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      John - 2012-07-06 23:05

      Hoekom lag jy harold, jou idioot...omdat jy 'n afterbirth is en die regte baba weg gegooi was?

  • harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-06 21:07

    Congrats Sharks. How long must we wait for the right article?

      george.lubbe.58 - 2012-07-06 21:09

      News24 must be bulls supporters

      anwar.addinall - 2012-07-06 21:09

      Any article will do. Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!

  • Lofty - 2012-07-06 21:08

    Haha en daar verloor die supehelde weer 'n keer hierdie keer in hulle geliefde blou,so ons almal weet nou dis nie oor die pienk truie dat hulle gereeld verloor nie maar as hulle voor seerkry huil hulle vir 80 minute.Mooi Sharks doen wat die Stormers ook 2 keer gedoen het.

  • bossie.delport - 2012-07-06 21:10

    Why bulls have Durban edge: Rob Houwing- gaan kry vir jou nog n pie!

      george.lubbe.58 - 2012-07-06 21:13

      En die Bulle - pipie in die potte - is verskriklik stil. Wonder hoekom?

  • hans.himmler.7 - 2012-07-06 22:44

    Rob, reading this article has the same value as talking to a garden chair.

      jacques.l.roux.3 - 2012-07-07 01:25

      Ja Rob, next time be more diplomatic. Your days of being an arrogant Bulls supporter is gone! Long live 3 Cups HAHAhahahahahahaha!

  • luke.sportify - 2012-07-07 09:40

    Guess you got your first pick horribly wrong... must say I picked the Bulls to on Superbru

  • francois.jooste.71 - 2012-07-07 11:27

    edge, WHAT edge bwhaaa hhaaah haaaahaa 32-10.....

  • Provence - 2012-07-08 09:32

    Ou Bloudan?????? Met liefde uit die blouste Kaap

  • Provence - 2012-07-08 09:33

    @Harold, I won't be surprised if...............met liefde van die blouste Kaap.

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