Bulls sitting pretty
With less than two weeks to go to their Vodacom Super Rugby opener against the DHL Stormers, the Vodacom Bulls are precisely where they want to be.
After a weekend that saw their Vodacom Cup team come close to 100 points and the Super Rugby team demolish the Cheetahs, the Bulls will head into their final preparations for the tournament brimming with confidence and happy with their performances.
On Monday they reported no injuries from the clash, and had the good news that Zane Kirchner and Arno Botha had returned to training after minor niggles that saw them miss the trip to Polokwane.
The only worry from Polokwane was winger Akona Ndungane’s ankle strain, but the medical prognosis has him out for a week as the strain isn’t too bad and he will be fit for selection for the Stormers game.
In essence, it is everything that Bulls coach Frans Ludeke could have hoped for. On the one hand his first choice players showed form against the Cheetahs and didn’t have any injuries, and on the other his young guns have been knocking on the door hard in pre-season action.
In the midfield in particular, the performance of Francois Venter on Saturday was enlightening, while Jan Serfontein’s promise adds to the selection dilemma. Top this off with Wynand Olivier, who managed a beauty of a break for the final try of the evening in his short stint on the field, and Ludeke will have some interesting choices to make.
“It is a good position to be in, the guys reaped their reward for the hard work that they put in the pre-season,” Ludeke admitted. “But while it is nice, we are working towards the 22nd against the Stormers and only that will matter.”
The Bulls also dominated the lineouts, stealing no less than six balls from the Cheetahs on the night, and were solid in the scrums. Scoring four tries to two in Polokwane as well as their physical dominance up front made for a telling pre-season win on the weekend.
The local Super Rugby opener (the competition starts in Australia this weekend) is set to be a massive one, with the Bulls needing a positive start to head in that game and their second outing against the Force before a monster tour where they will face the Reds, Brumbies, Crusaders and Blues before returning home for the rest of the competition.
But for now at least the Bulls management are pretty happy where they are ahead of a long, tough season.