Super Rugby 2013 Team Preview – BullsAuthor: Nick | Filed under: Team Previews
Last year the Bulls produced a credible performance being one of 3 South African teams to make the playoffs. During the off-season the powers that be at Loftus have been spending their money rescuing beleaguered Lions players. Here’s a big surprise: they bought forwards. The one noteworthy back they did acquire was Lionel Mapoe, a terrific buy in the light of JJ Engelbrecht‘s questionable 2012 form.
The major loss to the Bulls is CJ Stander, who we wish was going to the Sharks but unfortunately is Ireland bound. The forwards are established but now have more depth than the Marianas Trench. Only the Hurricanes scored more tries than the Bulls last season but Morne Steyn’s form with the boot will still be crucial. With some sharp delivery from Francois Hougaard and some fresh Mapoe magic the Bulls will once again be in contention.
Players to watch
Bjorn Basson (11m) crossed the line 10 times last season to top the try-scoring table for the second consecutive season, it would take a brave manager to overlook the Bulls flier.
Francois Hougaard (9.5m) scored 4 tries last season but is capable of much more. The Bulls halfback was disrupted by his move to the wing in The Championship and will be desperate to stake a claim for the number 9 Bok Jersey.
Werner Kruger (7m): Both Deon Greyling (7m) and Werner Kruger scored 3 tries in Super Rugby last year while Marcel (7m) Kruger scored 3 tries in the Currie Cup for the Cheetahs and now joins the Bulls. All 3 could bash the ball over the line on their day but if it’s consistency you’re after Werner Kruger is your best bet.
Morne Steyn (11.5m): Kicker, he had a poor 2012 but was still the second highest Super Rugby points-scorer last season.
Having lost their superstars, the Bulls fought hard to finish 2nd in the South African conference and lost in the play-offs to the Crusaders. For most teams that would be acceptable but not for the 3 time champs.
The Loftus franchise have a strong pack as always but their Currie Cup performance leaves doubts about whether they can go all the way. Bulls to reach the playoffs but stop short of a final.
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