At the beginning of the season the Blue Bulls would have thought that the rugby universe may have just conspired against them not to win the Currie Cup in the not too distant future.
And even at this eleventh hour of the Currie Cup, the Bulls will look at the log and the task that awaits them in Bloemfontein this afternoon and still wonder what it is that they have done to deserve their current standing.
It didn’t help their cause for the season that at the end of the Super Rugby season a plethora of their top Springboks turned their back on Loftus Versfeld for more lucrative offers overseas and the Bulls were left with a relatively inexperienced and young outfit to fight for domestic honours.
Fast forward to the last round of league matches in this year’s Currie Cup and the Bulls stand at a crossroads: Either they will beat the Free State Cheetahs this afternoon and advance to the semi-finals or they will lose and be left pondering what might have been of their season had things remained normal.
Even in their hour of need there is still plenty of light at the end of the tunnel and according to supersport.com, the South African Rugby Union confirmed that the Bulls no longer need to win by a bonus point and a 12 points difference to proceed to the semifinals.
For the past week, the road to the semifinals had looked rather impossible for the Bulls with such a monumental ask, but Saru have opened the door that if the Bulls do manage to win with a bonus point and both teams are locked on the same number of points, then the team to go through to the semifinals will be determined by the net points difference between the two teams in matches against each other and not overall points difference.
It is from this that the Bulls will run onto the field today knowing that “all” they need is a bonus-point victory and stopping the Cheetahs from gaining any bonus point from either scoring four tries or coming within seven points of the Bulls in defeat.
Having won their first-round encounter 26-10 at Loftus Versfeld just over a month ago, the Bulls will have the psychological advantage of knowing that they suddenly hold an edge over the Cheetahs if they are able to deliver the goods on the field and achieve the bonus point victory.
As simple as the equation may seem, the Bulls will also have their fingers crossed that Griquas do them a monumental favour by beating the Lions at Ellis Park this afternoon and deny them any bonus points.
If Griquas do indeed achieve their version of “mission impossible” then the Bulls will just need a win in Bloemfontein to attain that vital fourth place on the log and secure their place in the semifinals. - Saturday Star