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Local Derby – Bulls vs Sharks

April 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

Hey fellow bloggers!

This weekend will go a long way with regards to establishing who will finish top of the pile at the end of the Super 14. Having said that, there are still two rounds after this one so should the Bulls or Stormers lose, all will not be lost. There is no way I will miss the Stormers vs Crusaders game (And boy will I be rooting for the men from the Cape of False Hope) but the game of most interest for me is Bulls vs Sharks.

Not only because of the repercussions it might have for the Super 14 log and the slight hopes the Sharks are harbouring to make the semi’s but also in the interest of Springbok rugby.

There are some very interesting match ups:

Du Preez vs Pienaar vs Kockett


Spies vs Alberts


Victor/Bakkies vs Muller/Sykes


Front row vs front row


Loosies vs Loosies


The centre pairings.

All of these match ups will provide plenty entertainment in itself and I think the game will be a thriller. Unless of course if the Bulls come out firing and score 1 or 2 early tries. Then, I’m afraid, the Sharks will be in for a very long afternoon.

Looking at the two centre combinations, I believe the Bulls have the upper hand. In Olivier and Potgieter (who according to me is grossly underrated) the Bulls finally have a pair that can run defenses ragged. Olivier has been devastating close to the line and has made many breaks, although I thought that he has not distributed the ball too well. Potgieter showed in his limited opportunity last weekend that he has the eye for a gap as well as the distribution skills. The jury is still out on how the pair will do on defence and how they will gel offensively. On the sharks side we have Swanepoel and Terreblanche. Terreblanche is a legend, a stalwart in the Shark side. The ability to turn nothing into something, but I fear that his days as a real threat is slowly coming to an end. To be honest I have not seen a lot of Riaan Swanepoel, but hear that he runs hard and straight. I hope that Steyn and Goode (Bad?) can get enough ball to the two centre pairings so that we can see what the two pairs can deliver.

The other match up that really interests me is the Bakkies vs Muller battle. Bakkies has had a looooooong rest and I hope that his match fitness won’t be too big a problem. Even if he only plays for 50 min or so. Muller has long been the “second in line”  lock in the country but I believe there are about 5 other locks better than him at the moment. They are, in no particular order Danie Rossouw, Anton van Zyl, Adriaan Fondse, Flip vd Merwe and the out of this world Andries Bekker. Not even mentioning the tried and tested Bakkies/Victor combination. I think that both Victor and Muller has something to prove with relation to Bekker’s incredible form at the moment. I think with Bakkies back next to Victor and with Muller and Sykes out to prove a point, this will be a battle royal!

I truely hope that the Bulls put the Sharks away and strengthen their bid for a home semi and final. I believe the team whose forwards dominate and the match up between the centres will go a long way in determining who will have the bragging rights at the end of the game.

Just as an added note, I actually don’t think the sharks will make the play offs (even if they win all three their games with bonus points) as historically 41 points is about the minimum to get in, and 15 points will put them on 40…… Just a thought

Have a SUPER weekend!

I’m out!

The Flyhalf Debate – Steyn vs Cooper

April 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

Hello Sport24 world!

Have been reading all the blogs for a long time, but this will be my first go at adding some value (or fuel to the fire) to the discussions on the blogs.

I have been following the “best 10″ debate for a while now and thought it a good idea to ad my 2c. For the purposes of this exercise I be looking at the two flyhalfs (IMHO) that are currently performing the best in the Super 14.

As a Bulls supporter I am obviously a bit biased in saying that for me, the Best 10 at the moment must be Morne Steyn. I do however agree that he toured very poorly and that he seemed a bit out of his comfort zone away from Loftus. It has to be said though that once he returned to Loftus against the Lions, that he lifted his game remarkably.

To be honest the only other contender for me, is Quade Cooper. He has really set the Reds alight along with Will Genia and is surely a very strong contender for the Aussie 10 Jumper. It has to be said though that his defensive efforts in the all too important 10 channel leaves a lot to be desired of.

But enough of my opinion, let’s look at some stats from (This is probably the most fun you can have playing Fantasy Rugby on the net by the way)

    Score Try Setup Try Line Break Turn Over Kick Goal Miss Goal Go Forward Catch Kick Make Tackle Lose Poss
Morne Steyn AVG 1 1 1 0 6 2 2 1 7 1
  Total 5 7 10 1 61 21 21 9 74 10
Quade Cooper AVG 0 1 2 1 5 2 3 2 4 2
  Total 4 11 24 5 48 22 32 15 35 15

Looking at the different areas it is clear that Cooper is the better play-maker (11 Tries setup vs 7 for Steyn) and also that he has made a lot more line breaks (24 vs 10). The try scoring ability is very even at 5 for Morne vs the 4 for Cooper. Creating go forward ball is also where Cooper is better than Steyn (32 vs 21)

In the goal kicking department we all know that Morne is way ahead of Cooper.

Defensively, as I suspected, Steyn has made a hell of a lot of tackles. Where Cooper is often not in his channel to do defending. Cooper is also more prone to lose possession of the ball when making contact.

Overall, any side in the world would give almost anything to have any of of these fine flyhalfs in their side. Out of the categories above Morne wins 6 out of 10 and Cooper 4 out of 10.

None of the other flyhalfs in the Super 14 had stats even close to these two so there was no point adding another contender (or is it pretender?)

Hope you guys find the stats interesting!