You are browsing the archive for Bulls.

Profile photo of Baylion

by Baylion

Super Rugby Jerseys Online

January 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

sharksThe stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break and the initial rush and will be shipped as they become available. The Lions will launch ed their Super Rugby jersey on 22 January while the Cheetahs haven’t indicated when they will launch.

Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys – R599

Bulls 2014 Super Rugby Jerseys – R649

Lions 2014 Super Rugby Jerseys – R649

Stormers 2014 Super Rugby Jerseys – R699

 New online rugby shops:

Bulls Stampede Rugby Shop

Sharks Shiver Rugby Shop

 

Profile photo of Baylion

by Baylion

Super Rugby 2014 SA Conference Preview

January 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

We’re into the final month of Super Rugby pre-season preparations and the team squads are slowly taking shape although no team has announced its final squad yet and the teams still have to play their warm up matches.

When one look at the provisional squad lists and taking what one know about the teams it is possible to do a provisional preview of the season. However, we know that pre-season previews tend to be fairly useless as injuries and form take a hand in during the season but it still is fun.

Sharks:

On paper the Sharks have the best squad, loaded with Springboks and experience and with only a few rookies looking likely to get much game time. The one position where the Sharks might be vulnerable is at lock where, apart from PSDT they don’t have any locks of real quality.

The internal battle for the flyhalf spot between Pat Lambie and Fred Zeilinga will be interesting to watch. Zeilinga was impressive during the Currie Cup while Lambie had a largely forgetable year last year.

Overall they have a solid and experienced forward pack but the depth at the back looks a bit brittle. However, they have enough talent available to finish top of the SA Conference in 2014.

Players to watch: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Frederik Zeilinga, Heimar Williams, SP Marais

Predicted Positions:
SA Conference: 1
Overall: 3

Prop: Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Lourens Adriaanse, Dale Chadwick,
Hooker: Kyle Cooper, Bismarck du Plessis,
Lock: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Peet Marais, Etienne Oosthuizen, Edwin Hewitt, Anton Bressler
Loose forward: Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski, Jacques Botes, Keegan Daniel, Tera Mtembu
Scrumhalf: Charl McLeod, Cobus Reinach, Tyler Fisher,
Flyhalf: Pat Lambie, Frederik Zeilinga
Centre: Frans Steyn, Heimar Williams,
Utility back: Paul Jordaan, Tim Swiel, Jaco van Tonder, Adriaan Esterhuizen,
Wing: Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen,
Fullback: SP Marais

Head coach: Jake White

Cheetahs:

After a good 2013 Super Rugby season but a poor Currie Cup for both partners, the Free State and Griquas, the Cheetahs will be able to field a settled and experienced squad of players. Once again their lock/loosies open play will be crucial to their campaign and to provide their potentially dangerous backs with quality ball.

In 2013 they played a much more balanced game than in the past and it will be interesting to see whether they can do it again this year. The presence of Robert Ebersohn in the midfield will be missed, both for his fetching and for his organisation of the backline defence.

The biggest issue for me as that their second choice players are distinctly inferior to their first choice players in most positions and they will hope that they have another year of limited injuries.

Players to watch: Lood de Jager, Shaun Venter, Johan Goosen, Howard Mnisi

Predicted Positions:
SA Conference: 2
Overall: 6

Prop: Coenie Oosthuizen, Trevor Nyakane, Caylib Oosthuizen, Rossouw de Klerk
Hooker: Adriaan Strauss, Hercú Liebenberg, Ryno Barnes
Lock: Lood de Jager, Waltie Vermeulen, Ligtoring Landman, Francois Uys
Loose Forwards: Heinrich Brüssow, Lappies Labuschagné, Boom Prinsloo, Philip van der Walt, Jean Cook
Scrumhalf: Sarel Pretorius, Shaun Venter, Kevin Luiters
Flyhalf: Johan Goosen, Elgar Watts, Francois Brummer
Centre: Johann Sadie, Francois Venter, Howard Mnisi,
Wing: Raymond Ruhle, Rayno Benjamin, Rocco Jansen, Cornal Hendricks
Fullback: Willie le Roux, Hennie Daniller, Riaan Smit

Head coach: Naka Drotske

Stormers:

The Stormers lost a few experienced players and gained very little. With Eben Etzebeth out for most of the season they look thin at lock and will depend on their two penalty machines, Rynhardt Elstadt and Michael Rhodes, to fill the gap while hoping they won’t get carded too often.

The Stormers’ forward strength is in the quality of their loose forwards.

At the back they are thin on quality scrumhalves and flyhalves, solid in the midfield while the lack of size on the wing could cost them on defence.

Unfortunately the Stormers will once again look to defend their way to the top and that’s not the way to win trophies. While Catrakilis is a quality flyhalf their biggest game breakers are out wide and unless Aplon and Kolbe get enough ball to play with they will merely be defensive liabilities.

I don’t see the Stormers having a better year than last year as overall the squad just looks unimpressive and they will probably fight it out with the Cheetahs for the #2 SA Conference spot.

Players to watch: Ruan Botha, Schalk Burger, Demetri Catrakilis, Cheslin Kolbe

Predicted Positions:
SA Conference: 3
Overall: 8

Prop: Pat Cilliers, Brok Harris, Oli Kebble, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Alistair Vermaak.
Hooker: Tiaan Liebenberg, Scarra Ntubeni
Hooker/flank: Deon Fourie
Lock: Ruan Botha, Manuel Carizza, Tazz Fuzani, Jean Kleyn, De Kock Steenkamp
Lock/flank: Rynhardt Elstadt, Michael Rhodes
Loose forward: Schalk Burger, Nizaam Carr, Siya Kolisi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Duane Vermeulen
Scrumhalf: Nic Groom, Godlen Masimla, Louis Schreuder
Flyhalf: Demetri Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman, Ryno Eksteen, Gary van Aswegen
Centre: Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, Michael van der Spuy, Kobus van Wyk
Centre/Wing: Damian de Allende, Pat Howard
Fullback/Wing: Gio Aplon, Scott van Breda, Cheslin Kolbe
Fullback/Centre: Jaco Taute

Head coach: Allister Coetzee

Bulls:

Having lost a number of experienced players during 2013 the Bulls are a bit thin on experience and it’s only in the front row that they can field a set of experienced players, albeit mainly journeymen. Every other postion will feature rookies or near rookies and while their rookies were quality juniors they will have to make the step up to Super Rugby.

The biggest problem area for the Bulls is at flyhalf where they have no real quality with Louis Fouchè and Handrè Pollard as their first choice flyhalves and Tony Jantjies as a back up. The Bulls has some talented youngsters in the midfield and out wide but it remains to be seen whether their flyhalves can create enough opportunities for these players.

The Bulls have a tough year ahead of them and they will be hard-pressed not to finish bottom of the SA Conference. However, one can expect some of their youngsters to make the step up and this might just save them the embarrassment of finishing below the Lions.

Players to watch: Paul Willemse, Jacques du Plessis, Jan Serfontein, Clayton Blommetjies

Predicted Positions:
SA Conference: 4
Overall: 10

Props: Mornè Mellett, Dean Greyling, Frik Kirsten, Werner Kruger, Marcel van der Merwe
Hookers: Callie Visagie, Bandise Maku, Bongi Mbonambi
Locks: Flip van der Merwe, Paul Willemse, Grant Hattingh, David Bulbring
Loose Forwards: Deon Stegman, Wiaan Liebenberg, Arno Botha, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jacques du Plessis, Pierre Spies, Jono Ross
Scrumhalves: Francois Hougaard, Piet van Zyl, Rudy Paige
Flyhalves: Louis Fouchè, Handrè Pollard
Midfield: Jan Serfontein, Waylon Murray, JJ Engelbrecht, William Small-Smith
Outside backs: Bjorn Basson, Akona Ndungane, Sampie Mastriet, Travis Ismaiel, Jurgen Visser, Jesse Kriel, Clayton Blommetjies
Utility Backs: Ryan Nell, Ulrich Beyers

Head coach: Frans Ludeke

Lions:

Coming out of the rugby wilderness of 2013 with only 12 players having played more than 10 Super Rugby games the Lions are in for a tough campaign, a campaign where their rookies and near-rookies have to step up and they will hope that injuries don’t derail them again as it did in 2012.

The Lions play an exciting brand of rugby but it is a brand where they tend to leak tries at crucial times and a lot will depend on whether they can limit the damage and pull off the wins when they get the opportunity rather than close losses.

The Lions will be in a battle with the Bulls for the bottom SA Conference spot and it will depend on which team’s rookies step up the best. Overall the Bulls rookies have a better pedigree and I expect the Bulls the pip the Lions to the post.

Players to watch: Ruan Dreyer, Franco Mostert, Jaco Kriel, Stokkies Hanekom

Predicted Positions:
SA Conference: 5
Overall: 12

Prop: Ruan Dreyer, Julian Redelinghuys, Bees Roux, Schalk van der Merwe, Jacques van Rooyen
Hooker: Willie Wepener, Robbie Coetzee, Francois van Wyk, Malcolm Marx
Lock: Franco van der Merwe, Franco Mostert, Chris van Zyl, Hugo Kloppers, Ruan Venter, Martin Muller
Loose Forwards: Derick Minnie, Jaco Kriel, Willie Britz, Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg, Lambert Groenewald
Scrumhalf: Michael Bondesio, Ross Cronje, Guy Cronje, Faf de Klerk
Flyhalf: Elton Jantjies, Marnitz Boshoff, Willie du Plessis
Centre: Alwyn Hollenbach, Stokkies Hanekom, Dylan Des Fountain, Robert de Bruyn, Lionel Mapoe
Wing: Anthony Volmink, Deon Helberg, Deon van Rensburg, Chrysander Botha,
Fullback: Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrink

Head coach: Johan Ackermann

Profile photo of Baylion

by Baylion

State of the Nation’s Rugby

March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

It is disturbing that only two of the South African franchises have improved in their performance over the last four weeks and that the two franchises that are the main repositories of Springbok rugby have regressed dramatically.

After last week’s euphoria because of the three nil drubbing of Kiwi sides by Saffer sides we were quickly brought back to earth this week when the Bulls and the Sharks were totally outplayed by their opposition. What is even more disturbing is that it was so easy to see it coming.

Both the Bulls and the Sharks were still unbeaten before the weekend but the signs of a fall were there for all to see. And even more disturbing was the ease with which the Chiefs, Crusaders and the Brumbies scored their tries once they were on attack, even against the Stormers the previous week.

So far only the Cheetahs and the Stormers have improved from week one.

Waratahs vs Cheetahs:

After a poor start against the Sharks and a worse start to their tour down under the Cheetahs upped their defence against the Highlanders and played a more balanced game against the Waratahs to win two in row on tour.

Where the Cheetahs forwards were the main force in their victory over the Clan with the backs merely playing a defensive role, against the Waratahs they brought in their backs a lot more on attack while maintaining their defence.

If the Cheetahs can maintain their new-found defence through the season they have a good chance of improving on their best results of the past.

Kings vs Chiefs:

They defend with heart but the Kings have one objective and that, notwithstanding a fortuitous win over a pathetic Force side, is to lose respectably and they’ve been helped in this by a dire Sharks performance and a Chiefs side that took a break after they had scored their bonus point try.

Unlike against the Cheetahs where the Chiefs knew that the Cheetahs can come back and punish them if they slack off, they knew the Kings are of no consequence and they could rest their players for the last 30 minutes.

No matter how popular it is in the media to write up the Kings “brave” performances all the Kings real hope for is not to lose too badly.

Crusaders vs Bulls:

The Bulls manage to scrape home wins against a stuttering Stormers side, a poor Force team and then away against an inexperienced Blues selection. The only real positive for the Bulls is that Morne Steyn has found his kicking boots again but even that couldn’t save the Bulls from a six tries to nil blitz by a rampant Crusaders, a Crusaders side that struggled to keep the ball in hand in the first half and that left a number of tries unscored.

With Dan Carter having one of his better performance in recent times the Crusaders exposed the soft under belly of the Bulls and the Bulls were fortunate that this game didn’t turn into a real rout.

But the game had its moment of comedy when Deon Stegmann had to be lead across the tryline by Chiliboy because he didn’t notice the gap as wide as a barn door that had opened up before him.

Sharks vs Brumbies:

After beating the Cheetahs and scraping wins against the Stormers and the Kings the Sharks’ dependence on their big ball carriers were exposed by a polished Brumbies side. Without the likes of Willem Alberts to carry the ball across the advantage line the Sharks struggle without front foot ball and the deficiencies of their 9-10-12 combination was there far all to see.

But the worst was to see their lethargic and almost disinterested display on defence and the ease with which the Brumbies broke their line to score their tries. In the move to score their third try the Brumbies #13 struggled to get the ball under control while Burden and Jordaan patiently waited before trying to tackle him. And what’s with the little kick pass by Jordaan to Kanko?

The Sharks have now managed to score three tries in four games (one in their last three) and look more and more like a toothless old dog.

SARU:

Meanwhile SARU’s monkeys in charge are maintaining their attitude of “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.

Last week the media spin doctors explained to us that a non-South African African player isn’t really a foreign player when the Kings fielded Daniel Adongo, Nicolas Vergallo and Hadleigh Parkes while SARU looked on in silence.

This week the Kings went a step further and played Tomàs Leonardi, Daniel Adongo, Nicolas Vergallo and Hadleigh Parkes. I won’t be surprised if SARU continue to allow the Kings to flout the rules with impunity.

Note: According to Rugby 365:

SARU confirmed on Sunday that they have asked for an “explanation” as to why the Kings fielded an additional foreign player from outside the African continent.

“Media are advised that the selection of three overseas players by the Southern Kings in their match 22 against the Chiefs in Port Elizabeth on Friday [March 15] has been noted by SARU,” a brief statement said.

“SARU will be contacting the Kings for a report on the situation.”

Update: The Kings continue to ignore the two foreign player rule by including all four their non-African foreigners in their touring squad:

Andries Strauss, Bandise Maku, Cornell du Preez, Daniel Adongo, David Bulbring, Demetri Catrakilis, Elric van Vuuren, George Whitehead, Grant Kemp, Hadleigh Parkes, Jaco Engels, Jacques Engelbrecht, Johannes Franklin, Kevin Buys, Marcello Sampson, Nicolas Vergallo, Ronnie Cooke, Rynier Bernardo, Schalk Ferreira, Sergeal Petersen, Shaun Venter, Steven Sykes, Tomas Leonardi, Virgile Lacombe, Waylon Murray, Wimpie van there Walt.

Will the softcocks at SARU do something more than wring their hands?

Varsity Cup Shenanigans:

According to media reports Tuks have been rake over the coals for the second year running because they didn’t have enough bona fide students in their team and for the second year running they have come away with only a warning.

Profile photo of Baylion

by Baylion

Saffers Down Under

March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Cheetahs and the Bulls recorded good victories against Kiwi opposition over the weekend and this could translate to good tours down under.

The Cheetahs, often their own worst enemies, put together a massive defensive display to beat the Highlanders and when one look at the tackle stats it becomes clear just how great an effort it was. They attempted a total of 273 tackles, compared to only 80 by the Clan, and although many tackles were missed (41) they still made a massive 220 tackles.

The Cheetahs will go into their remaining games against the Waratahs and the Force with confidence and, unless they shoot themselves in the foot, could come away from tour with three wins and their best result ever.

The Waratahs are in deep trouble. Not only are they plagued by injuries there is also an air of uncertainty to their game, possibly aggravated by the fact that 29 of their players will be off contract by the end of the season, and they are struggling to put a good game together. For the Cheetahs they are ripe for the picking.

And the Force, well, they lost to the Kings – enough said.

The Bulls, on the other hand, face a tougher task with three games of their tour remaining, against the Crusaders, the Reds and the Brumbies.

Coming off an unexpected win over the Blues, unexpected by most people anyway, after playing an unfamiliar brand of rugby, a running came that was totally unexpected by the Kiwis they next face the Crusaders.

Don’t be fooled by the Crusaders oh from two results so far. In their game against the Canes they scored four tries to two and only indiscipline and Beauden Barrett’s boot prevented a win. And the Bulls and the Crusaders are old foes so one can expect a tough and brutal game but the Bulls definitely have a good chance to come away with the spoils.

The Reds haven’t really convinced so far scraping through wins but, apart from their game against the Brumbies, they have been winning and the little genius, Will Genia, will get his first run against the Force this weekend, a week before they face the Bulls, and it has been obvious so far the Quade Cooper and the Reds just aren’t the same without him.

The Bulls’ last match on tour is against the Brumbies and they have looked clinical and polished in their performances so far but they have only played against Aussie opposition and we’ll only know this weekend how good they are when they play the Sharks. It is t the Bulls advantage that they take on the Brumbies a week after they return from their trip to South Africa when they will have the same jetlag problems the Saffer teams have first game up.

The Bulls can come away from the tour with a clean sweep but that’s unlikely although I wouldn’t bet against three from four.

Profile photo of Baylion

by Baylion

Super Rugby Week 3 Preview

February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

Week 3 of Super Rugby sees the Crusaders coming to the party, the Bulls bargaining on a bonus point win, the Stormers hoping to play a lot better, the Cheetahs starting their tour downunder and the Kings get a break and 4 points. Look forward to some scintillating matches when the Cheetahs take on the Chiefs and the Reds play the Canes and a possible bore-fest when the Tahs play the Rebels.

Last week my predictions were way off:

Last week: 3/7
Overall: 5/9
Percentage: 55.56%

Blues v Crusaders – 1 Mar 08:30

The Blues vs Crusaders is going to be an interesting match. Last week the Blues surprised most people by beating the Canes with a young and inexperienced side and this week they face the Crusaders in the Saders’ first match of the season. The Saders’ run-on side has a familiar look except on the wings where centre Adam Whitelock needs to stand in with the loss of Zac Guilford and Sean Maitland. Not an easy call but it’s difficult to bet against the Crusaders in this one.

Crusaders by 6

Fantasy League players to consider:
Blues: Frank Halai, Rene Ranger, Piri Weepu, Ali Williams
Saders: Robbie Fruean, Israel Dagg, Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Corey Flynn

Blues:

15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (captain), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.

Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Bryn Hall, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison..

Crusaders:

15 Tom Taylor, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Tom Marshall

Waratahs v Rebels – 1 Mar 10:20

Another tough call as the Tahs weren’t very good last week and the Rebels, with JOC playing well, could just surprise. NRL convert, Israel Folau, plays in his second rugby union match and a lot is expected of this youngster. In the end the Waratahs should take a match that will be fairly even for the first 60 minutes or so but don’t expect a very exciting match.

Waratahs by 6

Fantasy League players to consider:
Tahs: Israel Folau, Drew Mitchell, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Tatafu Polota-Nau
Rebels: James O’Connor (kicker), Ged Robinson

Waratahs:

15 Israel Folau, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (c), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Mitchell Chapman, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson

Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Ben Volavola

Melbourne Rebels:

15 James O’Connor (captain), 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson

Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Jordy Reid, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Angus Roberts, 22 Tom English

Reds v Hurricanes – 1 Mar 12:20

This could be one of the entertaining matches of the weekend with both sides enjoying an open game. The game features a number of exciting players and try-scorers but the Canes’ poor defence may just cost them the game.

Reds by 9

Fantasy League players to consider:
Reds: Dom Shipperley, Ben Tapuai, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, James Slipper
Cane: Andre Taylor, Conrad Smith, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Ben Franks

Reds:

15 Aiden Toua, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Ed O’Donoghue, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper (captain), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.

Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Luke Morahan

 

Hurricanes:

15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.

Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 James Marshall, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo

Chiefs v Cheetahs – 2 Mar 08:35

This match has the potential to be the Rugby Lite (TM Kitchener) match of the weekend and one can expect a lot of tries as both sides don’t really place a premium on defence once the game opens up. With two of the best young flyhalves in the game on display and some of the best open-play player featured on  both sides the match promises to be a spectacle, however, in the end the Cheetahs’ lack of enough quality forwards will cost them the game.

Chiefs by 12

Fantasy League players to consider:
Chiefs: Gareth Anscombe, Tim Nanai-Williams, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Pauliasi Manu
Cheetahs: Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Raymond Rhule, Johan Goosen, Piet van Zyl, Adriaan Strauss

Chiefs:

15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli  Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam  Messam (c), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu

Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne

Cheetahs:

15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

 

Bulls v Force – 2 Mar 17:05

Last week against the Kings the Force struggled in the scrums, were pathetic in the lineouts and their goal kickers were poor while their backline couldn’t break a wet paper bag. The same  this week and you can expect expect a massacre from a Bulls side that looked fairly polished for the start of the season. Hopefully the Bulls will experiment a bit with some of their youngsters and give Jan Serfontein and Arno Botha a start.

Bulls by 26

Fantasy League players to consider:
Bulls: Lionel Mapoe, Bjorn Basson, Mornè Steyn, Mornè Mellett
Force: Alfie Mafi

Bulls :
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Mornè Mellett.

Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouchè , 22 Jan Serfontein.

 

Force (Last week):

15 Will Tupou, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Hugh McMeniman, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.

Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Toby Lynn, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Chris Alcock, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Junior Rasolea

Sharks v Stormers – 2 Mar 19:10

For the South African conference this is the game of the weekend when the two sides who are expected to battle it out for the top spot battle it out. The Sharks were solid last week although they went to sleep a bit in the second half wereas the Stormers were probably at their worst with set pieces not working, ball turnovers at the breakdowns, poor goal kicking and new combinations struggling. The Stormers might make a few changes but they will want their scrums and lineouts to work and will hope that Elton Jantjies has a more settled game this time around. The Sharks, however, is just a bit ahead of the Stormers in terms of being match ready and should win the battle in the Shark Tank.

Sharks by 6

Fantasy League players to consider:
Sharks: JP Pietersen, Paul Jordaan,Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie,Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Tendai Mtawarira
Stormers: Gio Aplon, Bryan Habana, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker

Sharks:

15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Frans Steyn (c), 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Pat Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane

 

Stormers:

15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (c),  12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Don Armand, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

 

Profile photo of Baylion

by Baylion

Baby Bulls take the first Gauteng Rugby Cup

February 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

In a game that came close to festival rugby the young and talented Bulls team won the inaugural Gauteng Rugby Cup at Orlando Stadium beating the Lions 38-32. The match lived up to the pre-match expectations of an exciting affair with 4 tries scored by both teams and only a couple of penalties separating the two sides in the end. Congratulations to the Bulls.

The match answered some questions but also asked a few more.

The Lions clearly still have a long way to go before they will be a competitive Super Rugby side, ready for the 2014 season, and one of the issues they need to address is their slow starts to games. For the second game in a row they allow their opponents to build up a substantial lead before they got back into the game. Playing catch-up rugby just isn’t the way to go.

A number of Lions players put their hands up and showed their class – Andries Coetzee broke a number of times and showed how dangerous he can be, Anthony Volminck stepped and ran as ellusively as any top wing and flanker Jaco Kriel looks ready to make a name for himself on the SA rugby stage.

The Bulls investment in young talented players over the last few years is starting to pay dividents but it leaves them with some issues. The biggest question about the Bulls side must be: how are they going to utilise the talent of youngsters like Jan Serfontein, Lionel Mapoe and Jurgen Visser with flyhalves like Morne Steyn and Louis Fouche? This young squad is the future of Bulls rugby but the Bulls will have to find a way to use their talent and not to turn them into Steyn, Olivier and Kirchner drones.

While the result may be disappointing for the Lions it probably gave the coaching staff more to work on than the easy wins of the first two games.

Next match:

9 Feb @ 14:15: Lions vs Southern Kings @ Ellis Park

Profile photo of Baylion

by Baylion

Lions skinned the Bears

January 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

Za vashe zdorovie!

A small crowd of about 4500 hard-core Lions supporters braved the wet and cold of a Joburg night to see the Lions beat the Russian Bears by 51-13. Even though the rain probably kept some supporters away the attendance, even with the wet conditions, was disappointing.

While a win was always expected it was more important for the young and inexperienced Lions squad to settle down as a team and for the new combinations to gel.

Shaking off the wet weather and off-season rustiness the Lions had ample opportunity to express themselves and to run the ball while the 11 newscomers to team contributed handsomely to the scoreline with tries by Warwick Tecklenburg, Marnitz Boshoff, Ruan Nel and Lionel Cronje and Marnitz Boshoff converting most of their kicks.

If the Russians expected the “traditional South African rugby” as played by the Boks they were quickly disabused. While they focused on trying to play a forwards based game the Russians had no answer for the running rugby of the Lions, which the Lions rookies took to like ducks to water (sic). The Lions continued their scrummaging prowess of last year and dominated the set pieces.

The detractors are already making noises about the fact that it was “only the Russians” but it was important for the Lions to get their Wooden Spoon Knock Outs Preparation Programme (aka the Lions Challenge) off to a good start before tackling more serious competition. The Lions have a long season ahead to build and develop a team in preparation for the knock out matches at the end of July. One can focus on the negatives (small crowd, only Russia) or one can focus on the positives and look to the future – new & young players blooded, combinations that worked, etc.

While it was probably not quite PC for the Russians to present the Lions with a post-match bear skin gift we thank the Russians for coming to Joburg. Hopefully the matches they played here will help them in their Nations Cup campaign and help them to qualify for the next RWC.

Spasibo and Udachi!

The next few games (26-Jan-13 vs Cheetahs @ Ellis Park, 2-Feb-13 vs Bulls @ Orlando Stadium, 9-Feb-13 vs Kings @ Ellis Park) will probably have better crowds but I hope that the numbers for the other matches will grow. Unfortunately Ellis Park is always going to look empty, even with crowds of 15-20k, which are what I would hope for in future games.

Talking about future games, I see the Lions vs Bulls game on 2 February at Orlando Stadium is being promoted as the Gauteng Sports Challenge.

The programme starts off the a game between Pretoria Police and Pirates. No, it’s not the Bucs following Amakhosi into rugby, as I thought at first, but the Pirates Rugby Club.

This is followed by a dance off between the Felions and the Bulls Babes before the Golden Lions tackle the Bulls, but more about that at a later date.

Next up is the game against the Cheetahs on Saturday, 26 January, at Ellis Park.

Profile photo of Baylion

by Baylion

Super Rugby in perspective

September 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

The current Currie Cup competition is being written off in many quarters as a watered down affair because of the Springboks not being available, especially to the Sharks, Bulls and WP. Consider for a moment how these teams would have performed if they had to play Super Rugby with their current Currie Cup sides.

Apart from the Sharks, who still have a fairly strong side, they probably would have struggled to win any matches.

Consider now that the Lions were without up to 14 of their first and second choice players at any one time.

The players out injured in Round 4 could virtually make up a good starting XV:

Injured team: 15. Hollenbach, 14. Des Fountain, 13. Murray, 12. la Grange, 11. Mapoe, 10. Jantjies, 9. Bondesio, 8. , 7. Rhodes, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Van Heerden, 3. Vd Linde, 2. Maku, 1. Janse Van Rensburg

I know some would say that you cannot compare having players missing through injury to missing them because they are with the Boks but I cannot see why not, players missing are players missing.

So you see, I don’t have much sympathy for these teams that miss players to the Boks, that’s just the nature of the competition, and if we can win the Currie Cup again well, it is still the Currie Cup.

Anyway, just a thought. Use it, don’t use it.