• Bulls Super Rugby preview

    The Bulls will have to rebuild in 2014 following the loss of several senior players.

    JOHN MITCHELL SAYS …

    ‘The Bulls are a developing team with some really talented youngsters coming through, but their problem is they’ve lost too many senior players. The best education for a young kid is to train and play next to a seasoned veteran, and the Bulls unfortunately don’t have that. Victor Matfield will bring experience, professionalism, lineout expertise and knowledge of touring, but he is one in only a handful of experienced men. I don’t see them making the play-offs.’

    PLAYERS OUT

    Jean Cook (Cheetahs), Cornell Hess (Griquas), Zane Kirchner, (Leinster, Ireland), Juandré Kruger (Racing Métro, France), Lionel Mapoe (returned to Lions), Wynand Olivier (Montpellier, France), Dewald Potgieter (Júbilo, Japan), Jacques Potgieter (Waratahs), Chiliboy Ralepelle (Toulouse, France), Morné Steyn (Stade Français, France) Ruan Snyman (Racing Métro, France), Wilhelm Steenkamp (Force), Francois Venter (Cheetahs), Jano Vermaak, (Toulouse, France), Willie Wepener (Lions).

    PLAYERS IN

    David Bulbring (Kings), Jacques Engelbrecht (Kings), Derick Hougaard (out of retirement), Bandise Maku (Kings), Victor Matfield (out of retirement), Waylon Murray (Kings), Piet van Zyl (Cheetahs).

    NUMBERS THAT MATTER

    63 – The number of log points the Bulls achieved in Super Rugby in 2013, nine more than the next best SA team, the Cheetahs.

    248 – The number of points Morné Steyn scored as the top point-scorer in 2013.

    10 – The number of players the Bulls lost to overseas-based clubs after the 2013 Super Rugby tournament.

    42 – The number of tries the Bulls scored in 17 Super Rugby matches last season (an average of 2.5 per match).

    89.2 – The Bulls’ lineout winning percentage in 2013, the best in the tournament.

    60 – The number of lineout catches taken by Juandré Kruger in 2013 (the third most in the tournament).

    124 – The number of Super Rugby caps Victor Matfield has (eight for the Cats, 116 for the Bulls).

    1 – The number of home play-off matches the Bulls have lost in Super Rugby out of six. That defeat came against the Brumbies in the 2013 semi-final at Loftus.

    2013 RECORD

    Won: 12; Lost: 5: Win %: 71

    2014 FIXTURES

    15 February: Sharks (a); 21 February: Cheetahs (a); 1 March: Lions (h); 8 March: Blues (h); 14-15 March: BYE; 22 March: Sharks (h); 29 March: Chiefs (h); 5 April: Hurricanes (a); 11 April: Highlanders (a); 19 April: Waratahs (a); 26 April: Force (a); 3 May: Cheetahs (h); 10 May: Stormers (h); 16-18 May: BYE; 24 May: Brumbies (h); 31 May: Lions (a); BREAK FOR JUNE TESTS; 27-28 June: BYE; 5 July: Stormers (a); 11 July: Rebels (h).

    PREVIOUS LOG FINISHES

    1996: 3rd (semi-finalists); 1997: 8th; 1998: 11th; 1999: 12th; 2000: 11th, 2001: 12th; 2002: 12th; 2003: 6th; 2004: 6th; 2005: 3rd (semi-finalists); 2006: 4th (semi-finalists); 2007 2nd (champions); 2008: 10th; 2009: 1st (champions); 2010: 1st (champions); 2011: 7th; 2012: 5th; 2013 2nd (semi-finalists).
    Note: Played as Northern Transvaal in 1996 and 1997

    FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER

    Francois Hougaard
    @Francoishougi
    96,847 followers

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

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    OTHER SA PREVIEWS

    Cheetahs preview

    Lions preview

    Sharks preview

    Stormers preview

    Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

    Article written by

    Simon Borchardt