Bulls putting the Currie Cup back where it belongs?

August 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Since Super Rugby employed the conference system and the competition’s time span was extended to the start of August, we saw a significant decline in the importance of the Currie Cup. With international players not participating for the majority of the competition, the Currie Cup was seen as a development competition with Super Rugby the main prize. The competition’s latter stages also differed from the start because of the return of the Springboks after the Rugby Championship.

Some teams, like the Bulls, also employs a different head coach during the Currie Cup.

For a team like WP, the return of the Springboks payed dividends because while the young guys kept them in touch, the returning Boks helped them finish the season as champions. The experience gained in the Currie Cup by the young Province players was evident in this year’s S15 when many of these players performed well when the incumbents got injured. But they contested the semi final at Ellispark and traveled to Durban for the final. So, while they reaped the benefits of their player development they lost out on huge financial windfalls that comes with hosting the semi finals and the final. While they could count on their team qualifying for a home semi final in the following S15, this year it didn’t happen.

It’s a lot harder to earn a home playoff match in the Super 15 than it is to host a Currie Cup playoff, but the gate takings are the same.

The Bulls are in the process of signing quite a number of players from the Kings and I’m sure that their hosting of a S15 semi this year had something to do with that. Even with the lowest attendance for a playoff match in years, the Bulls still made somewhere between 8 and 10 million Rands for hosting this year’s semi. That’s more than what the Stormers paid for the loan players they had from the Lions.

A player like Waylon Murrey won’t be making the Bok team on current form, but he’ll be a decent center at Currie Cup level with both JJ and Serfontein likely to be either injured or playing in the Rugby Championship. Vleis Engelbrecht will also fill the void left by Pierre Spies and Arno Botha’s injuries. Maku has been part of the Bulls for a long time and will be a welcome substitute for Ralapele.

Some might say that these players are keeping young Bulls players out of the team and halting player development. But this is not necessarily true. Of all these players, Maku may have the easier task of challenging for a starting place as he already is a seasoned campaigner at the Bulls and Wepener has not inspired confidence in the position. There’s no way that a fit and inform Venter, Engelbrecht and Serfontein will be replaced by Murrey, but with injuries inevitable, the Bulls will benefit from having him on their books.

Engelbrecht will have a hard time making the side with Spies as captain, but at loose forward it’s much easier to give more players opportunities because you have the freedom of three positions that a player can fill.

I am very excited about the Bulls’ latest acquisitions. This will give them a good and experienced team for the Currie Cup as well as great depth for the coming Super Rugby season. These players will also not hamper the development of their host of junior players because there are enough opportunities for these players anyway.

The game has changed. Previously the Bulls were able to get a decent Vodacom Cup side, promoting these players to a victorious Currie Cup side and finally building a successful Super Rugby side. With the extended absence of the Boks during the Currie Cup season and the growing need for an extended squad to cope with a grueling Super Rugby season, I think the Bulls are right on the money with their purchases at the end of this year’s Super Rugby season. It will also enable them to cope with the exodus of players they have suffered.



19 responses to Bulls putting the Currie Cup back where it belongs?

  1. I see Tuks and Blue Bulls flyhalf/centre Willie du Plessis signed for 2 years with the Lions with immediate effect. He’s the guy that kept the #10 jersey away from Pollard at Tuks and the BB Vodacom Cup

  2. Weird stuff happening at the Bulls and the Lions. Beeld reports that Callie Visagie will stay on loan at the Bulls for the CC, contrary to statements by Johan Ackermann last week that Callie is back with the Lions, and that the Lions may be borrowing Willie Wepener from the Bulls to alleviate their hooker crisis, aggravated by Robbie Coetzee breaking his ribs in practice. All I can think is that Callie signed with the Bulls

  3. First time I hear about this Willie du Plessis. All the focus of late has been about Pollard and he is younger too. I believe Luduke see something special in Pollard

    • The pity about SA rugby at the moment, every 20 year old wants to play senior rugby and gets written into the Bok team when they show a bit of talent and 23+ year old gets written off as too old and is discarded.

      If the rugby public had their way we’d have a Bok team made up of u/21s

      • Jip (me included) tends to get carried away with new young talent.
        Take Pollard we are all expecting him to become a star but in reality he has not done much.
        In the baby boks 2012 jrwc win he did ok but nothing special. I know he was still in school.

        But if you think about it both Hougaard and Du Toit was better at Pollard’s age and look what happened to them.

        • Steyn actually made his Bok debut at 25 and, while he has his critics, so far he is the only Bok flyhalf in the professional to regularly retain his form as well as his place in the team.

          • Jip Steyn was for a long time in the shadow of Hougaard.
            But I believe this made him work harder and harder to succeed.

          • Even Dan Carter, although he was 21 when he made his AB debut spent 2 years at centre before getting the flyhalf berth. Aaron Cruden has spent the last 3 years as Carter’s back up and already his back up, Barrett, is being groomed.

            We follow the Highlander principle and tend to believe that “there can be only one”

  4. CT said on August 7, 2013

    Nice to hear that Willie will be in the Lions’ setup. The Willie/Handre combination reminded me of the Matt/Christian combo.

  5. The Bulls will have a fair crack at it. They are very thin at 9 and 10 for this CC. With Jantjies, Visser and Pollard but none of them really experience at CC level. Pollard although someone for the future has not had the best of seasons for tuks or baby boks but it will be interesting to see how he goes.
    As you said the signings will deff help them as most other teams will only sign players for next seasons SR.

    For me any team can win the CC this season and one of the “big” teams will prob fail again like the Cheetahs last season.

    • “Bulls putting the Currie Cup back where it belongs?”
      I am still not sure how the Bulls will keep the Currie Cup at Newlands but I love that the Bulls fans at least wants it to stay there!!

      • Haha. I actually meant that they will be giving it the status it deserves and not just merely using it as a development tournament.

        But I see what you did there. But I also heard that, through the years, WPRU had some nice patterns engraved on the bottom of the trophy cabinet and some are disgusted by some large piece of metal obstructing these engravings.

        • Uhm, have you seen the Blue Bulls team?

          Blue Bulls (caps in brackets):
          15. Jürgen Visser (22)
          14. Sampie Mastriet (2)
          13. Ulrich Beyers (5)
          12. Francois Venter (22)
          11. Travis Ismaiel*(0)
          10. Tony Jantjies*(0)
          9. Rudy Paige (4)
          8. Jono Ross*(0, capt)
          7. Jacques du Plessis*(0)
          6. Wiaan Liebenberg*(0)
          5. Grant Hattingh (8)
          4. Paul Willemse (1)
          3. Frik Kirsten (25)
          2. Willie Wepener (85)
          1. Morné Mellet (5)

          16. Callie Visagie (18)
          17. Marcell van der Merwe (25)
          18. Wilhelm Steenkamp (85)
          19. Jean Cook (3)
          20. Ruan Snyman (19)
          21. Waylon Murray (71)
          22. Clayton Blommetjies (5).

          • Exactly 9/10 Rudy Paige and Tony Janjties not really awe inspiring.
            Deff not SR quality.
            But I believe that tight 5 might be better than the Bulls SR 1st team deff come scrum time.

  6. ek sien TIK is nou in Pretoria ook beskikbaar – die Bul span sal sukkel om Grens te wen

  7. Hoe sê?

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