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    Super Rugby preview: Bulls

    2017-02-20 15:08
    Handre Pollard (Gallo Images)

    Cape Town - A young side with a new vision and a new coach, the Bulls struggled to impress in Super Rugby 2016. 

    They were on the right side of the draw - they avoided all of the New Zealand sides - but the Bulls let leads slip far too often and in the end didn't make the play-offs. 

    A tough New Zealand schedule awaits in 2017 and the Bulls' path to the playoffs will be even tougher, but the good news is that they have worked with coach Nollis Marais for a while now - he moves into his second Super Rugby season - and they have flyhalf Handre Pollard back. 

    The Bulls last year looked to abandon their old 10-man style of rugby for a move towards something more expansive. While it may have been more exciting to watch, it didn't do much for results. 

    Marais will be hoping to find the right balance this year. 

    The Bulls are due. They have finished 9th on the overall log for the last three seasons.  

    KEY PLAYER

    Pollard being fit again is massive for the Bulls. In 2016 they used Tiaan Schoeman and Francois Brummer at flyhalf and, with respect to both of those players, the Bulls will be significantly better off with a No 10 of Pollard's caliber. If they want to continue their revolution towards an attacking outfit, then Pollard is the man to facilitate that change. 

    MAJOR SIGNING

    Lood de Jager. The Springbok lock joins from the Cheetahs in a move that seriously bolsters the Bulls pack. His lineout work is superb and he could form a lethal partnership with RG Snyman. A fit-again Jacques Potgieter will also give the Bulls forwards some much-needed muscle. They have also brought in centre Johnny Kotze (Stormers). 

    MAJOR LOSS

    The Bulls were hit hard in the front row where Marcel van der Merwe and Dean Greyling were lost to France and Werner Kruger to Wales. They have also lost second-rower Grant Hattingh and loose forwards Lappies Labuschagne and Deon Stegmann to Japan. Lock Marvin Orie has joined the Lions. It is hard to say which of those players the Bulls will miss most, but Van der Merwe's experience in the front row would have been welcomed. 

    FIXTURES

    February 25: Stormers (a)
    March 4: Cheetahs (a)
    March 11: BYE
    March 17: Sunwolves (h)
    March 25: Blues (a)
    April 1: Chiefs (a)
    April 8: Sunwolves (a)
    April 15: Jaguares (h)
    April 22: Cheetahs (h)
    April 29: BYE
    May 6: Crusaders (h)
    May 13: Highlanders (h)
    May 20: Lions (a)
    May 27: Hurricanes (h)
    INTERNATIONAL BREAK
    June 30: Sharks (a)
    July 8: Kings (h)
    July 15: Stormers (h)

    SPORT24 PREDICTION

    The Bulls to edge the Stormers and secure a home quarter-final. 

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

    Results

    05 August 2017
    29 July 2017
    22 July 2017
    21 July 2017
    15 July 2017
    14 July 2017
    08 July 2017
    07 July 2017
    01 July 2017
    30 June 2017
    09 June 2017
    03 June 2017
    02 June 2017
    28 May 2017
    27 May 2017
    26 May 2017
    21 May 2017
    20 May 2017
    19 May 2017
    13 May 2017
    12 May 2017
    06 May 2017
    05 May 2017
    30 April 2017
    29 April 2017
    28 April 2017
    22 April 2017
    21 April 2017
    15 April 2017
    14 April 2017
    09 April 2017
    08 April 2017
    07 April 2017
    02 April 2017
    01 April 2017
    31 March 2017
    25 March 2017
    24 March 2017
    18 March 2017
    17 March 2017
    11 March 2017
    10 March 2017
    04 March 2017
    03 March 2017
    02 March 2017
    25 February 2017
    24 February 2017
    23 February 2017
    06 August 2016
    30 July 2016
    23 July 2016
    22 July 2016
    16 July 2016
    15 July 2016
    09 July 2016
    08 July 2016
    02 July 2016
    01 July 2016
    29 May 2016
    28 May 2016
    27 May 2016
    21 May 2016
    20 May 2016
    14 May 2016
    13 May 2016
    07 May 2016
    06 May 2016
    30 April 2016
    29 April 2016
    24 April 2016
    23 April 2016
    22 April 2016
    16 April 2016
    15 April 2016
    09 April 2016
    08 April 2016
    03 April 2016
    02 April 2016
    01 April 2016
    27 March 2016
    26 March 2016
    25 March 2016
    19 March 2016
    18 March 2016
    12 March 2016
    11 March 2016
    05 March 2016
    04 March 2016
    27 February 2016
    26 February 2016

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