Should I go to watch the Bulls play?

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Sep 20, 2021, 21:31

Hi all, 

Leinster are playing the Bulls here in Dublin on Saturday. As I know precisely nothing about the four SA sides that have joined the league this year I thought I'd check with you guys.

So, with no disrespect intended, are the Bulls any good or will this be an easy home win for Leinster? 

Thanks


PS. I appreciate that there's also a good chance that you guys know nothing about Leinster so just to put things in context, Leinster have won the league for the last 4 seasons

Sep 20, 2021, 21:35

I don't think the Bulls will be competitive against Leinster, at least in Ireland. 
Leinster has much more international standard players. 
Bulls will be much more competitive in SA. 

Although they do have Jake White who is one of the most experienced coaches in world rugby. 


Sep 20, 2021, 21:41

OK, thanks for the reply. I might stay home and watch it on TV so. The stadium is open to fans for the first time since March 2020 but the bars in the stadium are closed. Rugby without beer is just all wrong ;) 

Sep 22, 2021, 14:47

I can't see the Bulls minus its springbok contingent giving Leinster much trouble particularly in the Aviva stadium.

Think the SA teams will struggle in the first half of the season but could have a strong second half to the season when they have more home games and more of their first team players available. Can't see more than two SA teams qualifying for Champions Cup though.

Sep 24, 2021, 07:44

"Rugby without beer is just all wrong ;) "

Agreed....rugby was invented to enjoy with beer.

The Bulls is our best side at present, but we haven't had serius competitive rugby in a while, so all our sides are a bit undercooked...


PS: welcome waraf.

Sep 26, 2021, 09:29

Well I ended up going to the game in the end (managed to smuggle in a couple of beers).  It was nice to see a few Boks jersies in the crowd but you guys were correct, the Bulls weren't really in it at all. Defensively they were particularly poor but they've certainly got some pace out wide. I'll reserve judgement until they're back to full strength and they've had some time to settle into the new league but overall it wasn't a great start to the campaign for the SA sides. Better days will come I'm sure. 

Sep 26, 2021, 09:39

Yes, a bit disappointing, but things will get better, we'll only know how good or bad things really are after a few rounds...and the Northern sides must still tour too.

Sep 26, 2021, 10:32

Welcome to the inferior league South Africa :angel:

Sep 26, 2021, 10:40

Yeah good point. Away games in SA will definitely be tough (even still, the northern hemisphere players will be delighted to get a bit of winter sunshine). 

Actually, here's a question for you on that topic: do any of the four SA teams play their home games at high altitude? As far as I know the Stormers play at sea level in Cape Town but I don't know about the others. 

Sep 26, 2021, 11:33

Sharks at sea level too...Bulls and Lions are at altitude...much higher than Bloemfontein where the Cheetahs played.

Sep 26, 2021, 11:59

In the SH line integrity is an afterthought, lots of passive defending. On attack it's more about running, and this suits our more passive players. The set pieces are not as hotly contested and the breakdown is not as ferocious as up north. 

Sep 26, 2021, 14:05


Its looking ominous for the rest where Leinster who were arguably missing more of the first line team than the Bulls dominated them with ever getting out of third gear. Depending what way you look at you could say the Bulls also have the advantage of more game time compared to Leinster who only had one proper pre-season warm up game. Can't say conditions where a factor either. I still think Bulls can challenge for a play off place but their not going to be winning the League this season.

The Sharks look to be down far more of their first team choices than the Bulls but they got schooled by Munster who looked very ring rusty and where also down a number of first team starters as well. I can see the Sharks improving but not enough to challenge for a play off place. Still they should have a good shot at qualifying for the Champions Cup.

Stormers and Lions are going pick up a few wins over the course of the season but will finish in the bottom half of the table.


Sep 26, 2021, 15:24

I wonder if the SA unions will earn more money from this tournament than SuperRugby. If so, perhaps more players can be retained in SA. Otherwise, it will just be an opportunity to showcase the players for acquisition by Northern Hemisphere teams. 

Duane Vermuelen will soon be playing for Ulster against SA teams.
If test-level Bok players are representing other countries, it is just going to make the tournament harder for SA teams. 

Munster already has Delande and Snyman - both 1st choice starters for the Boks. 



Sep 26, 2021, 17:23

"Stormers and Lions are going pick up a few wins over the course of the season but will finish in the bottom half of the table."


Don't be too sure about that...8 teams going to finish ahead of them...which 8?


Sep 26, 2021, 18:03

Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Connacht, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Scarlets, Bulls, Sharks, and Benetton, maybe Ospreys and Cardiff too.


Sep 26, 2021, 18:10

Well, the Stormers beat the Snarks convincingly at home the last time they met...and almost beat Benetton at home in their first match...I call a top 6 atleast...we'll see though.

Sep 26, 2021, 18:38

Table after round 1.


Sep 27, 2021, 11:27

"I wonder if the SA unions will earn more money from this tournament than SuperRugby. If so, perhaps more players can be retained in SA. "

I suppose it depends on how much the fans in SA buy into the URC.  Being in roughly the same timezone might help.  If there are more people attending the games and watching on TV that that will inevitable lead to more money for the unions.  

Although, having watched that "Chasing the Sun" documentary recently, it was abundantly clear that Rassie certainly doesn't rate Irish rugby and it's the Irish teams that tend to dominate the Pro14/URC. Does the average SA rugby fan feel the same?


"Otherwise, it will just be an opportunity to showcase the players for acquisition by Northern Hemisphere teams. "

The European Cup is where the SA players will want to showcase their talents. The big money up here is in France and England so only the SA teams that qualify for the European Cup (aka Champions Cup) will get to play against English and French teams.

"Duane Vermuelen will soon be playing for Ulster against SA teams.
If test-level Bok players are representing other countries, it is just going to make the tournament harder for SA teams. 

Munster already has Delande and Snyman - both 1st choice starters for the Boks. "

The Irish rugby union has a rule in place where each province (i.e Leinster, Munster etc) can only employ 3 foreign players (i.e. players who are not Irish qualified) so the Irish teams at least won't be snapping up too many Boks with big money contracts.  

 
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