The Lions and Stormers will win in this weekend’s Super Rugby. And the Bulls?
My head says the Hurricanes, despite it being their first match, will still have too much class for the Bulls. My heart says the Bulls will score a stunning romantic upset.
So for purposes of romance, I’m picking the Bulls to shock the team most New Zealand rugby commentators have picked to win the 2018 title.
Who knows just how different the Bulls will be in John Mitchell’s first Super Rugby match in charge of the franchise. What I do know is they will be a more daunting prospect than they have been for the last two seasons. I can’t see them conceding 50-plus points at home, as was the case under Nollis Marais.
They’ll resemble the Bulls of old, in terms of attitude and mongrel. Technically they will also be better because of the quality of head coach.
It baffles me how easily the bookies have dismissed the prospects of the Stormers in Sydney against a Waratahs team that was woeful a year ago. What have the hosts done since losing at home to the Kings in 2017 to justify an eight point start against a Stormers team that has one of the best packs in the tournament and more than a half decent back division?
I’m going with the Stormers to win by eight and I am going with the Lions to win by a bit more against the Jaguares.
As for the Bulls, my Sport24 column this week focused on the rugby impact Mitchell will have on the Bulls.
Mitchell has made an impression and just a week ago I got a message from the iconic Bulls and Springbok forward Bakkies Botha to say things are changing at the Bulls (for the better) and to watch the space.
Botha had been vocal in the last two years in his criticism of the decline of the Bulls. He was fed up and angry at the embarrassment the Bulls had become.
In 2018 the big man has a spring in his step about his beloved Bulls and when he tells me to what this space, I certainly am not going to argue with him.
So, when it comes to the Bulls, this weekend and this season, watch this space…