Falcons too speedy for Bulls?

2007-08-16 12:45

Brakpan - Maybe the Falcons are not the team that will finally drive the point home, but surely somewhere along the line the Blue Bulls will have to realise you cannot play rugby in this day and age with no or very little pace among the loose forwards.

Last weekend against the Cheetahs the Bulls were still in the game until Kabamba Floors arrived and turned on the pace to the breakdown points and support to ball carriers.

The rest is history.

On Friday evening at the Bosman Stadium that lack of pace among the Blue Bull's loosies could again be a factor. Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg returns after injury, but one can hardly describe him as a speedster.

To further drive the point home, a look at the bonus points in the competition shows only one team have scored fewer points than the Bulls' two, and that's the Falcons.

With the Bulls not having a good run towards the playoffs, bonus points could be the deciding factor on who is going through and who not.

Be that as it may, the second round of the competition starts this weekend and every game and every try will be vital for those teams vying for the fourth qualifying spot.

The Falcons are not one of them and the Bulls should be able to dispose of them quite comfortably.

Coach Rudy Joubert has rung the changes and recalled two of the most experienced players in South Africa, flank Piet Krause and prop Gunder Williamson, for the encounter.

The starting team shows five changes from the one which lost 45-22 to the Sharks last week, but the most noteworthy selections are the return of the two stalwarts.

Krause, who turned 34 earlier this week and has 200-odd first class games (more than 60 of those for the Falcons) to his name, regains the captaincy from centre Hanno Coetzee after being rested last week.

Williamson, who is also, 34, also brings with him a wealth of experience - including almost 200 first class games, of which more than 130 have been for the Falcons.

Krause replaces Callie Wannenburg at flank, while Williamson takes the place of tighthead prop Sangoni Mxoli.

Not that these changes should give the Bulls sleepless nights, but one can never know. The Sharks and Cheetahs have already shown the Blue Bulls can be taken on and beaten up front and when one stretches the game, they are in trouble.

At the back the Bulls have not convinced at all this season and should the Falcons make those first time tackles count, they might just surprise.

Teams:

Falcons:

Riaan Viljoen, Ratu Nawerecagi, Bertus Swanepoel, Hanno Coetzee, Mpho Matsaung; Albert de Villiers Keuris, Charl McLeod, Sean Plaatjies, Schalk van der Merwe, Piet Krause (captain), Nico Luus, Hein Potgieter, Gunder Williamson, David Britz, Gavin Stuart Whittingham.

Replacements: Ryno Joseph Barnes, CJ du Toit, Marius Coetzer, Wium Arlow, Morne Adams, Leonard Olivier, Rouan Cloete.

Bulls:

Johan Roets, John Mametsa, JP Nel, Wayne Julies, Marius Delport, Derick Hougaard, JP Joubert, Pedrie Wannenburg, Gideon Stegmann, Hottie Louw, Francois van Schouwenburg, James Milton, Rayno Gerber, Derick Kuun (captain), Jaco Engels.

Replacements: Bandise Maku, Werner Kruger, Ruan Vermeulen, Gerhard Human, Neil Powell, Morne Steyn, Danwel Demas.

Kick-off: 19:10.

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