Saturday 12 May 2007

Bulls - Crusaders

1 – Guthro Steenkamp
2 – Gary Botha
3 – Rayno Gerber
4 – Danie Rossouw
5 – Victor Matfield (captain)
6 – Pedrie Wannenburg
7 – Wikus van Heerden
8 – Pierre Spies
9 – Fourie du Preez or Heini Adams
10 – Derick Hougaard
11 – Bryan Habana
12 – Wynand Olivier
13 – JP Nel
14 – Akona Ndungane
15 – Johan Roets

1 – Ben Franks
2 – Corey Flynn
3 – Campbell Johnstone
4 – Ross Filipo
5 – Chris Jack
6 – Reuben Thorne
7 – Richie McCaw (captain)
8 – Mose Tuiali'i
9 – Kevin Senio
10 – Daniel Carter
11 – Caleb Ralph
12 – Aaron Mauger
13 – Casey Laulala
14 – Rico Gear
15 – Leon MacDonald

Well the Bulls come into this game brimming with confidence having thumped the Reds last week, putting up 92 points on the pathetic Australian outfit. Like their fellow countrymen of the Sharks, the Bulls have been one of the more consistent teams of this years Super 14. When your team puts that much points over their opponents, no matter how poor they may be, you've still got a fearsome offensive unit on display. Playing this points scoring machine in South Africa is the daunting prospect faced by Richie McCaw and his Crusaders. They have to contend with a Bulls team that like to kick the corners and let their pack (led by the outstanding Matfield) take care of business. To counter this McCaw will have to be on fire, contesting every breakdown, and he's gonna need support from his teammates lest he just get blown out by the Bulls rucking. For his part, Dan Carter has got to contest with Hougaard's kicking game with one of his own whilst still producing some of that DC magic to break open a solid but unspectacular Bulls centre. Bulls gameplan is very simple, kick the corners, suck in the Crusaders pack, especially McCaw, and then spread it wide quickly to their speed merchants on either wing. Those boys have real gas, look for them to cause problems for the New Zealanders all afternoon.

The Crusaders are probably one of the few teams that could go play the Bulls in Sud Afrika and come away with an improbable victory but I'm gonna have to go with the South Africans in this game too, they're in form, full of confidence and at home. The Crusaders have more big game experience but they'll need more than that to overturn this Bulls side

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