Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Why the Bulls can be positive about 2006.
Let’s start here. The Bulls are a close knit family and rely on this and their passion to win a lot of games. Last year they lost not only a teammate, but also a brother, an onfield leader and friend. Ettienne Botha’s death was a huge loss to this team. You could see in the final they were metally drained. They could not take any more pressure.
Another thing that they might’ve lacked last year is hunger. After losing out twice in one year, they will be hungry for success in 2006. This hunger, more than anything else, makes me exited about the year 2006. This hunger will also create a mental shift of note, they will want to go out and wipe everything in front of them. They will want to convert the almost into reality. Last year they made it into the semi’s this year I predict even bigger things.
This year sees us going into an extended tournament called the Super 14. This means squads will need to have backups and basically two competitive teams. Lets look at the depth the Bulls have in key positions.
Allthough the Bull currently struggle with injury problems in this department, just one look at their squad shows their strength in this position. They have the obvious first choice of Bands and Steenekamp. This is an frightening prospect in itself. Then you take a look at the incumbents and you beggin to realize just how Strong they are in this department. Just look at Human, Roux and Engels, and you see a proper set of props already. Most other team will give their left nut to have these guys as their first choice props.
In this department the Bulls are also blessed for choice. Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha will be the obvious first choice, but in Van Schouwenberg and Fondse they have more than capable replacements. You can even include Danie Rossouw at any time and we all know his class at 4.
Now this is where it hots up. Heynecke Meyer seems to have included Danie Rossouw as a loose forward. So you have, Tim Dlulane, Pedrie Wannenbrug, Jacques Cronje, Danie Rossouw and Johan Wasserman (the only one I don’t really rate, aalhtough he has a never say die attitude.) all fighting for 3 spots. I reckon it will be 6. Dlulane and 7. Wannenburg as a first choice. We all know their class, so I’m not going to expand to much on that. What I find interesting is the fight for the no8 position. It seems as if Heynecke Meyer is looking for strong ball carrier like Anton Leonard at no8. In Danie Rossouw he has this. But what do you do to a talented man like Jacques Cronje? This is one of the positions that will be competed for at the highet intensity. With the S14 being as long as it is, I feel that Heynecke Meyer is lucky to have two no8’s of this quality in his squad. Big selection headache me thinks!
Now we get to the midfield. In Dries Scholts, JP Nel and Wynand Olivier, the Bulls have three extremely talented centres. I don’t mention Rudi Coetsee, as I have not seen him play at this level a lot. Anyway, I think out of these, my first choice combination would be Dries Scholts and JP Nel. But what do you do with Wynand Olivier then? Like I said before, luckily this season will be long and all players in the squad should get an opportunity. Seems like it is not only the Stormers that have a selection headache in the midfield.
Maybe not the whole back three, I fear that we don’t have a quality backup for Johan Roets. We all know this guy has a fearless attitude to rugby and he is an exceptional player. He is strong under the high ball (although OO wil have you believe differently!) and a fearless defender. But if he should be injured, we might not have a good backup for him, as for the wings, well there the Bulls have real class. Our first choice wings would be Habana and Ndungane, but in Mamatesa ( a guy I rate higher than Ndungane!), Demas and Nontshinga (another player I like a lot!) we have speedsters that would walk into any SA team, except maybe the Stormers.
That concludes my take on the depth on the squad, but sorry, I’m not done yet, one final point and that is,
Link Between Flyhalf and his inside centre
I see this as one of the most underrated combinations, btu having played both, know the importance of this combination. You’ll remember me saying earlier in this article that I would make Dries Scholts first choice inside centre. My reason for this is easy, I believe Derrick Hougaard will be the first choice flyhalf in the Bulls squad. With him standing as deep as he does, I like the idea of Dries Scholts next to him. He will probably get over tge advantage line more often than not. That is because he has speed (he runs the 100m under 11 sec’s) and size. This will calm Hougaard down and he’ll be left to perform his magic with the boot. My only concern with this is that our wings might never see the ball in this scenario, but you’ll never know. The Bulls had the advantage of training with the backline coach of the 2003 WC winning English team. This will allow the Bulls to have 2 different approaches to any game. Tight or expansive, much like the world cup winning English backline.
That concludes my take on the Bulls chances in the 2006 Super 14. Feel free to tell me if I’ve got it completely wrong or whether you agree. Also add what I might’ve missed.
This makes my "Bulls crash" story very very difficult.
I see you share my view that we're going to se a different role for Pakslae this year.
I also reckon that Cronje is a better Blindsider than Wannenberg so I'd actually rather see
Yip the bulls will be strong- their only percieved weakness is the kopwurms- thingy
On Roets- I never said he is weak under the high ball- I just watchd the same final last year as the rest of us ;-) I still want to see Roets in Green 14- but will settle for Fortuin as well- with Roets at green 15.
Anything to stop you from writing an article like you did of the Cheetahs!
Your loosetrio looks awesome, but that just underlines the quality the Bulls have in their team. Pedrie is an exellent player, and you'd still pick him on the bench. I'm flippen glad I don't have to choose the team, at least it means we will be okay if we get one or two injuries!
pakslae at 8 can be a thriller- Dlulane will have to be there to combat Floors to the floor- to the breakdown- Will be a battle royal between Cronje & Smith- man I cannot wait for 10 Feb- will have to endure the revenge talk till then.
you guys have a lot to look forward to, more so than any other team.
i see you did not highlight the captaincy as a positve...
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