Super14 Semi-Final Preview :Bulls vs Crusaders

The last time these two teams met the Bulls were at home and needed an extra time try by Francois Hougaard to win the match. The Bulls won 40-35.

 

That match was the first glimpse we got of the Crusaders new up-tempo game plan which demolished the Brumbies last week.

 

The Bulls struggled with the tempo of the match and the Crusaders frequently found holes in the Bulls defence and outscored their Loftus hosts by four tries to three. Having played with that game plan last week the Crusaders will be more comfortable and familiar with it.


The last time the Crusaders met Stuart Dickinson (the referee for this match) they were blown off the park and Peter Grant had eight penalty kicks to Dan Carter’s one. Grant landed seven penalties and Carter missed his one. As the Bulls have Morne Steyn they could get kicked off the park under Dickinson just as easily.


The breakdown and how it is controlled by Dickinson will be crucial in this match.


There are a number of question marks over the Bulls for this match. Will they be able to transfer their home advantage from Loftus to Orlando stadium in Soweto? There there is the big one. Was it right for the Bulls to rest their players ? We will only know once the match is underway.


Fourteen of the Bulls starting line up have won the Super 14. In their past six matches the Bulls have won four out of the six. The Crusaders have won three out of their last six but it has to be said that they hit form in their last two matches which is why the only change to the team is on the bench.


On average the Bulls score 24 points to the Crusaders 35 points when the teams meet. On the Highveld the teams are much closer as the Bulls normally score 29 points and the Crusaders 31 points.


Overall the Crusaders have an edge over the Bulls as they have won 11 of the sixteen clashes between the teams. In Semi-final terms the Bulls have an edge as the two have contested three Semi-finals and the Bulls have won two – both at Loftus. Bulls victories over the Crusaders are not that common.

 

The Crusaders will be playing in their red and black strip rather than that unpopular grey strip. In the three matches that the Crusaders have played South African teams this season they have lost all three.

 

The Bookies have given the Crusaders a 6 point start. We are going to go the other way as we think the Bulls will start slowly due to them being rested and the Crusaders’ up tempo game plan will see the Crusaders leading at half time. The Bulls will come back in the second half strongly and catch up.

 

If anyone knows how to win Semi-finals it is the seven time champions Crusaders. We think as the match wears on the travel factor will kick in but the Crusaders will hang on at the death and win by two. Crusaders by two.

 

Bulls Semi-final record against the Crusaders
23 May 2009 Semi Bulls v Crusaders 36-23 Pretoria
12 May 2007 Semi Bulls v Crusaders 27-12 Pretoria
20 May 2006 Semi Bulls v Crusaders 15-35 Christchurch


Last Fifteen Results
07 May 2010 Bulls v Crusaders 40-35 Pretoria – Bulls won
23 May 2009 Semi Bulls v Crusaders 36-23 Pretoria – Bulls won
03 Apr 2009 Bulls v Crusaders 13-16 Christchurch
22 Feb 2008 Bulls v Crusaders 19-54 Pretoria
12 May 2007 Semi Bulls v Crusaders 27-12 Pretoria – Bulls won
17 Mar 2007 Bulls v Crusaders 10-32 Christchurch
20 May 2006 Semi Bulls v Crusaders 15-35 Christchurch
05 May 2006 Bulls v Crusaders 17-35 Pretoria
09 Apr 2005 Bulls v Crusaders 35-

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