Swys: Bulls are the side to watch in 2018
Town - Lions coach Swys
de Bruin will be watching the Bulls under new coach John
Mitchell with keen interest when the 2018 Super Rugby season gets
While the Lions have finished as
runners-up for the last two editions of the tournament, the Bulls have fallen
far from their glory days of 2007-2010 when they won three titles in four
Under Nollis Marais last year,
the men from Pretoria won just four of 15 matches to finish second bottom of
the South African Group ahead of only the lowly Sunwolves.
While De Bruin has his own
worries this year - he steps into the head coach position for the first time
after the departure of Lions legend Johan Ackermann - he is expecting stern
resistance from the three other South African sides in the competition.
"The Stormers always make
the play-offs. They are a solid, good unit," De Bruin said of coach Robbie
"They are sort of
island-based, alone out there in the Cape. They’re a very good franchise and
they’ve got a very good history. They’ve got a fantastic director of rugby in
Gert Smal and they will definitely be a factor."
Turning his attention further
east, De Bruin also expected a serious challenge from the Sharks in Durban.
"The Sharks under (coach)
Robert (Du Preez) will be strong. I know him well and he’s a good
disciplinarian and a good coach. They showed in the Currie Cup what they can
do," said De Bruin.
But it is in Pretoria where De
Bruin will be watching with the most interest.
"The side that everyone is
watching is definitely the Bulls under John Mitchell," he said.
"The brand they played in
Currie Cup was good.
"If you look at his
(Mitchell's) track record, he has always done well in his first year. What
happens after the first year is another story, but he’s got a very
good track record in his first year."
The Lions are in Super Rugby
action on Saturday when they host the Sharks at Ellis Park, while the Bulls
must wait until the following weekend when they host the Hurricanes at Loftus.