Super Rugby Preview – Bulls vs ForceAuthor: Nick | Filed under: Match Previews, Super Rugby
Match Date: Saturday 2nd March
Fort Loftus looked like a fort again last week and the Force looked like a Farce. The penultimate game of Round 3 looks more mismatched than Whoopie Goldberg and Ted Danson (we went all the way back to the 90′s to get that joke). The Bulls will not be taking it likely having lost to the Force the last time they played. We don’t know how the Force are going to take it but we have our suspicions where.
The return of Morne Steyn made it 4 out of 5 excellent performances by South African flyhalves. Steyn had time behind his forwards and used it well with good kicking out of hand and a faultless goal-kicking performance. When Steyn is on song with the boot it often means a quiet game for the backline, which it was. The Bulls forwards did the business, and it was boring for all to see but it was that type of game. Against the weak Force though, the crowd will want to be entertained with some backline spice, as well as the win.
We may not have called all the results last week but we called Deon Stegmann getting injured; although we did miss the margin (we said he would break his arm again). We know how beloved Pierre Spies is in Pretoria so we leave him alone; but please allow us to dump on Stegmann: Really, his injury is a blessing in disguise despite Joel Stransky’s commentary that he has no weaknesses. We agree, no weaknesses… except giving away penalties, getting injured all the time, not hitting rucks (hit 1 ruck last week compared to Pierre Spies’s 8) and rarely gets over the advantage line (made less than a third as many metres as Spies and half that of Dewald Potgieter who only played 32 minutes). The Bulls flanker has been replaced by Arno Botha who did more in one half than Stegmann did the entire game. Basically the Bulls back-row is now looking very good.
One last thing, we have not forgotten about Bjorn Basson who was top try-scorer last season, although we’d be forgiven because he might as well have not have been on the field last week. Fantasy managers might get a reminder this week if he gets a chance to display his chip ‘n dip skills.
We’ve given enough credit to the Kings, we ate our humble pie and washed it down with a glass of shame. Now it’s time to talk about how bad the Force were. Life without Sharpe and Pocock finally looked like what we though it would. Steven Sykes looted their line-outs and the Kings loosies ran amok. Pek Cowan was a standout for the Force and even scored a try but even he will battle against the Bulls scrum. The other player worth mentioning is Matt Hodgson who toiled manfully but still stood in the shadow of a long-gone Pocock.
The backline was a shambles as they tried to run themselves back into the game and when they tried kicking it was errant and Catrikilis just sent them back to square zero. Alfi Mafi is still their biggest fantasy asset gaining 87 m and scoring a try as well; but even he isn’t worth keeping if the backs don’t get given space. After 2 straight losses it really does not look good for the Force; but when did it ever?
For those of you who missed the Force getting nailed by the Kings:
It beggars belief but the Force have won 3 out of the 6 encounters between the sides. The visitors even won at Loftus in 2007 when the Bulls were supposedly unbeatable in Pretoria The average score between the sides is 25-23 to the Bulls so historically there hasn’t been much separating the two sides when they take the field.
The Force like playing the Bulls for some reason but if the can’t beat the Kings surely they will struggle against South Africa’s most successful Super Rugby franchise. BULLS to serve the Force their 3rd defeat of the season, without a smile!
The Bulls have yet to thoroughly dish out a hiding to the Perth outfit but it’s high time, 14 points.
Literally copy and paste the odds for the Cheetahs – Chiefs game and change the names because the odds are the same.
The Bookies have awarded the Force a massive 16.5 point head-start.
The Bulls are shoe-in favourites at home with the Force 8:1 underdogs despite their respectable history at Loftus.
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