Ruggaworld

Blues 32, Bulls 17

Who can stop the Bulls?

Len Kaplan – Rugby365

They’ve played six, won six and have accumulated 28 log points from a possible maximum 30.

They have have now won 12 Super 14 games in a row since their 31-32 defeat to the Brumbies in Canberra on April 17 last year, and they have developed an impressive efficiency to match their talent and flair.

They may concede more points than some other champion teams, but they certainly know how to score more points than the oppostion and how to win matches.

Their recent record in the Super 14 and in the Currie Cup has been wonderful.

But the reality of their next game up is that in eight visits to Auckland, they have never succeeded in beating the Blues.

And Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke has had a tough time of it in Australasia, since his team’s win over the Force last weekend was a mere third victory in 19 matches for him in Australia and New Zealand as a Super Rugby coach, with the Lions and now with the Bulls.

Since the advent of the Super 14 in 2006, the Bulls have lost seven out of 10 matches in New Zealand, with one draw and only two wins. Their record in the Super 12 was worse, with a miserable record of three wins in 26 matches in New Zealand.

Can this Bulls team start rewriting the record books for the franchise in Australasia?

Bulls forwards’ coach and technical advisor Johann van Graan says the Blues biggest threat remains their All Black-laden forward pack. He points out that with an all-All Black front row of Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and John Afoa, scrums will be fiercely contested and the Blues line-outs are now also a strength in their game.

And they have also taken to employing the driving maul to great effect.

“The Blues do have some incredible backs, but it is that pack, with all those All Blacks, that lay the platform,” says Van Graan.

He says the Bulls will employ the same game plan as in their first six matches “but we must just ensure our execution is better than it was against the Western Force”.

The Blues are too talented a group of players to be satisfied with ninth place on the log and with having won only three games out of six. They’ve conceded 16 more points than they’ve scored, and need desperately to win this game to revive semi-final aspirations.

They have the pack to match the Bulls for possession and the backs to cause huge problems for the Bulls sometimes brittle defence.

Rene Ranger has been something of a revelation in the first half of the tournament in the manner of his cutting of opposition defences. Can he rip the Bulls defence apart as well?

Their Eden Park crowd would be delirious with delight if the Blues were to be the first team to beat the Bulls in almost a year.

Super 14 results:
2009: Bulls won 59-26 (Pretoria)
2008: Blues won 23-21 (Auckland)
2007: Bulls won 40-19 (Pretoria)
2006: Blues won 30-17 (Auckland)

rugby365.com Prediction: The Blues will give it a full go, with a take-no-prisoners approach. But the Bulls are just too strong in all areas of the game and are unlikely to lose their unbeaten record on Saturday. They should succeed in beating the Blues for the first time ever in Auckland – perhaps by 15 points.

Teams:

Blues: TBC

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 François Hougaard, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Derick Kuün, 20 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 21 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 22 Pedrie Wannenburg.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jonathon White (New Zealand), Matthew Stanish (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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49 Comments

  1. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Pathetic penalising of the Bulls IMO (and I’m the last to make Saffa style ref excuses)!

    ReplyReply
  2. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Got to love the egg on Afoa’s eye ALREADY!

    ReplyReply
  3. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Can hear a lone Bull’s supporter ‘booing’ Brett going for kick :oops:

    6-0 Blues!

    ReplyReply
  4. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Huge tackles by Kirchner and WO… with Blues on attack!

    Kirchner is impressing me every week this season…

    ReplyReply
  5. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Actually huge tackling by all the Bulls so far… impressive stuff!

    ReplyReply
  6. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 6:42 am:

    3-3 muppet…

    Potgieter seriously hurt…

    ReplyReply
  7. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Awesome awesome work by Botha to save a certain try!!!!

    ReplyReply
  8. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:52 am

    More embarrassing boo’s from Bulls Kiwi’s… what’s with these Dutchman?

    ReplyReply
  9. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Not a single Bull ‘sherking’ tackling duties…

    Yellow card coming soon for the Bulls… Joubert has definitely been on the Bull’s side… (take back previous ref calls)…

    ReplyReply
  10. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 3, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Experiencing another
    M-Net sound fookup –
    have to listen to two
    Afrikaans guys sitting
    in studio, no sound FX.

    ReplyReply
  11. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:55 am

    More ‘booing’…

    6-3 Pacific Islanders…

    ReplyReply
  12. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:56 am

    One can definitely see the Habs influence on VD Heever… awesome chasing of kick!

    ReplyReply
  13. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:56 am

    LOL… awesome try by Spies… going to be a highlight…

    ReplyReply
  14. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Gurthro going sparko all over the field… same as Spies…

    8-6 Bulls… Morne misses…

    ReplyReply
  15. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 6:59 am

    VD Heever… is class… like a mix between Habs and Frans Steyn… only more ‘chilled’…

    ReplyReply
  16. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Reckon it had to be the Bulls TH that gave Afoa the black-eye… nice!

    ReplyReply
  17. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Scary how the Blues can make ground on attack from nowhere…

    ReplyReply
  18. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Bulls steal the ball from relentless Blues pick and drive…

    ReplyReply
  19. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 7:02 am

    I’m going to watch this… too frenetic to type…

    ReplyReply
  20. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 3, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Bulls pay price for fooking
    a restart.
    Blues score to lead 16-11 HT.

    ReplyReply
  21. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 3, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Handspeed of Blues something
    to admire.
    Bulls will struggle to win.
    Heading for a Black Easter?

    ReplyReply
  22. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 3, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Team with superior running
    and handling skills will
    always put it over a Saffa
    side.
    Blues 22-17 and Bulls
    hanging on for dear life
    after P3 got a YC.

    ReplyReply
  23. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 3, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Bulls lose LO and Coko scores.
    Blues 29-17.
    Signing off, going back to bed.
    Sore loser.

    ReplyReply
  24. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 3, 2010 at 8:08 am

    32-17.
    I called it when the Cows
    were sruggling v the Force.
    Beaten by a side superior
    in all facets.

    ReplyReply
  25. avatar

    Morné

    April 3, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Only saw the last 30 – great game of rugga this.

    ReplyReply
  26. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Deon ……no bonus point for the Bulls not even a bonus point for loosing……. :soek: before one give other teams :poop: about bonus points make sure it does not come and bite you in the arsh. :pot:

    ReplyReply
  27. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I do not know why I wake up for SA teams…….

    ReplyReply
  28. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Reply to Boertjie @ 7:18 am:

    It really is… wow… these P Islanders can score from anywhere…

    Ranger… Ice… and even Joe is showing his true value…

    Thought Kaino played awesome… as well as the under-rated Blue’s locks…

    ReplyReply
  29. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 8:20 am:

    What you Stormer’s fans feeling the heat?

    ReplyReply
  30. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Reply to Boertjie @ 7:15 am:

    Bummer that said it to me…

    ReplyReply
  31. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 8:50 am: What heat??? called it a week ago that the Stormers would get stuck. At least when the Stormers loose they do it with a bunus point he :finger:

    ReplyReply
  32. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 8:50 am: What heat??? called it a week ago that the Stormers would get stuck. At least when the Stormers loose they do it with a bonus point he :finger:

    ReplyReply
  33. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Just an observation….after seven games the Bulls have 4 bonus points and the Stormers have 4 bonus points…..

    ReplyReply
  34. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 9:07 am: Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 9:07 am: Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 9:12 am:

    Brand would have a field day on your posts!

    ReplyReply
  35. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:23 am:

    TB… go to work!

    ReplyReply
  36. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:23 am: This lost for the Bulls was on the cards a few weeks ago already, does not mean they would not be there when the semi’s will be dish out. A win next week against the Chiefs will put them right back on track again.

    Can not see the Stormers winning the Blues the way they are playing at this stage. They went back to there old ways yesterday and do not know if they gonna pick them self up again, I hope so but have no confidence they will.

    At this stage I can only see the Bulls in a semi…..but that is just me

    ReplyReply
  37. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 9:29 am:

    Mate… Bulls are my first choice ATM… they got out-smarted… noone can defend against that team without simply stealing possession… Bulls were good all the same…

    Blues are deadly with possession…

    ReplyReply
  38. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 9:29 am:

    Funnily enough… if the Stormers don’t start with vetty… I reckon they’ll take the Blues… (my money is on them at good odds)… my ‘sportsbet a/c’ is going great this weekend… albeit I have gone against the odds and bet on the Sharks to take it… if they don’t I undo most my bets…

    ReplyReply
  39. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:33 am: The Bulls have not shown that they can defend this whole year. Fortunate for them the Blues was the only team yet that could convert it(Bad Defense) into points. The same is going to happen against the Saders who has the second best defense in the S14.

    ReplyReply
  40. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:36 am: Ja most supporters can not bet with the brain, only with the heart.

    ReplyReply
  41. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 3, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 9:42 am:

    Lol… I bet for a living… I’m up for the weekend thanks to the Stormer’s punt loss… so I’ve done the ‘roughie’ on the Shorks (even though I can see a revolution happening with the Red’s)… Tah’s are going to slaughter the Chee’Tahs… no bet from me…

    Go Shorks… Go Chee’Tahs…

    ReplyReply
  42. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 3, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:47 am: Wish I had the confidence in betting most of the times I’m right in my predictions but got no Balls :whistling:

    ReplyReply
  43. avatar

    Deon

    April 3, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 8:18 am:

    Don’t know where you got the idea that I give a flying fuck about the bonus points at the Bulls or for the Bulls period.

    In any case if you want to look at bounus points, atleast be objective and acknowledge that the Stormers have TWO LOSING bonus points. The kind one actually try to avoid. The kind that shows a lack of BMT. The kind that paints a false picture. Just look at the total points of the Guppies.

    ReplyReply
  44. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Reply to Deon @ 10:03 am:

    Hoekom so moerig?

    Saffa teams again proved that
    they have very little attacking
    and running skills when faced
    by good defence.
    OZmob and Kiwis are masters in
    handling, hand speed, passing
    in the tackle, keeping ball
    alive, sharp inside passes –
    you name it.

    Our guys can just swing it out
    to the wing.

    Occasionally.

    ReplyReply
  45. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Been reading about the old
    days of Bok rugby.

    Craven: “The biggest sin
    on the rugby field is to
    die with the ball.”

    He coached the 1951 Boks
    to Brittania and France
    and they played accordingly.

    Scotland 44-0 – remember?

    ReplyReply
  46. avatar

    cab

    April 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 7:18 am:
    moenie worry ou Boer, die sharks gaan die situasie red.

    ReplyReply
  47. avatar

    Minora

    April 4, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I knew this was going to happen to the Bulls – they have been leaking points every match and were bound to come unstuck. Lets see how they turn this around.

    ReplyReply
  48. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    April 4, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Reply to Deon @ 10:03 am: Well EVERY team gives a flying fuck….Sardines are back in the running again and that’s the way the competition works. It give the little bit of edge to the S14 were you need to win as much bonus points even when you loose…..

    Like it this way personally, for it makes teams work harder to stay on top

    ReplyReply
  49. avatar

    Boertjie

    April 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 9:56 am:

    Well EVERY team gives a flying fuck…
    =========
    Airlink? SAA? BA? Or perhaps
    Virgin Atlantic?

    ReplyReply

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